TORONTO — With October football now in full swing, each week CFL.ca looks at the top candidates for MOP this season and considers whether they’re trending upwards or downwards.
Last week, you voted on your choice for MOP as of Week 15 and came up with the following results:
Jon Cornish — 36% John Chick — 30% Zach Collaros — 8% Bo Levi Mitchell — 7% Solomon Elimimian — 6% Adarius Bowman — 3% Mike Reilly — 3% Ricky Ray — 3% Nic Grigsby — 2% Brandon Whitaker — 1% Chad Owens — 1% Emmanuel Arceneaux — 1%
Week 16 Outlook:
In week 16, standout performances by Ricky Ray, Mike Reilly, and Zach Collaros should see their stock rise, while another big day by Odell Willis moves the Eskimo pass rusher into close contention. Meanwhile, injuries to Brandon Whitaker and Emmanuel Arceneaux move them out of the picture for now, along with Nic Grigsby after the rookie running back was demoted in favour of Paris Cotton.
Here are our top 10 candidates, with a stock assessment of each one.
Jon Cornish, RB – Calgary Stampeders
STOCK NEUTRAL — Idle in Week 16 as the Stampeders enjoyed their bye week, Cornish has only played seven of his team’s 14 games, but is well on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark and also win the CFL rushing title. The Stampeders are a different team when he’s in the lineup, and he’s once again a prime candidate for MOP.
STOCK DOWN — Bo Levi Mitchell was arguably the favourite for MOP before his injury, but not playing has allowed Ricky Ray and Mike Reilly to move ahead. With the West seemingly in Calgary’s hands, it would take a lot from Mitchell down the stretch to move back into serious contention — although the first-time full-time starter has impressed.
STOCK UP — Bowman’s stock was in free-fall of late, as he failed to find the same consistent dominance he captured in the first few months of the season. A 10-catch, 94-yard day against the Bombers seems to have him back on track though, as he looks to return to his role as the go-to guy on a powerful Edmonton offence.
STOCK UP — Reilly’s stock is once again on the rise, as the dual-threat quarterback continues to provide headaches for defensive coordinators across the league. If he’s not putting on an airshow, he’s getting in done on the ground — as evident by a two-touchdown performance rushing the ball in a big win over Winnipeg.
STOCK NEUTRAL — Elimimian added seven more tackles, but it was just another day at the office for the veteran linebacker. He remains the favourite for Defensive Player of the Year, as his defence hasn’t allowed a touchdown in three full games while he’s on pace to break the all-time single-season tackles record.
STOCK DOWN — The pace has slowed big-time of late for Chick, as the gap between him and Odell Willis closes. But the fact that his 14 sacks still lead the league should say all you need to know about his ability as a pass-rusher. No team has more sacks than the Riders, and he’s a big reason why.
STOCK UP — The Ticats fell to the Argos in a huge divisional battle over the weekend, but it wasn’t because of anything Collaros did. The young pivot went toe-to-toe with Ricky Ray all day, putting forth yet another strong performance in a Ticats road loss. He’s still got his team in a position to win the East, which is a big deal.
STOCK UP — Owens was contained by the Ticat secondary through most of the Argos’ win last Friday night, but his 69-yard fourth-quarter touchdown was as big as it gets, as it lifted the BOatmen to victory when the game was on the line. Despite missing half of his season, Owens has moved up to fourth in the league in yards.
STOCK UP — Ray already led the league in touchdown passes, but his 431 passing yards and three touchdown passes against Hamilton in a magical fourth-quarter touchdown add an exclamation mark to what’s becoming a special season for the veteran. Ray is a top MOP candidate, and holds the key to the Argos’ 2014 chances.
STOCK UP — Odell Willis continues his recent torrid pace, forcing two more fumbles and picking up two more sacks against the Bombers this weekend. He now has 13 sacks on the season, good for second in the CFL, to go with two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and many more forced fumbles.