October 12, 2017

CFL Insights: Catching some Z’s

Walter Tychnowicz/CFL.ca

TORONTO — Brandon Zylstra has been the CFL’s best receiver the last calendar year, at least statistically speaking — and it’s not even particularly close.

In 18 games since joining the Eskimos’ lineup, the 24-year-old has recorded 1,843 yards — a whopping average of 102.4 yards per game — while this year ranking second in the league with 1,335 receiving yards.

The super sophomore is coming off the best game of his career, becoming the third player this season to go over 200 yards on a rainy Thanksgiving Day in Montreal:

With the 200-yard effort, Zylstra became one of six active players to achieve the accomplishment, joining Nick Moore, Greg Ellingson, S.J. Green, Bryan Burnham and Andy Fantuz.

Next, Zylstra looks to become the 21st player to go over 200 yards in a game multiple times in a career. Ten players have done it three or more times, including current Edmonton teammate Adarius Bowman (3) and all-time leader Brian Kelly, a former Eskimo who had six 200-plus yard games in his career.

Zylstra likely has more big performances in his future, but his trademark has been his consistency. In 12 games this season, he’s gone over 100 yards eight times. Meanwhile, Zylstra’s 102.4-yard average is among the best ever over an 18-game stretch.

If you isolate Zylstra’s 2017 season, in which he’s averaged 111.3 yards per game, his single-season production currently ranks sixth all-time:

Hal Patterson MTL 1956 147.2 1,914 13
Terry Greer TOR 1983 125.2 2,003 16
Brian Kelly EDM 1983 113.3 1,812 16
Allen Pitts CGY 1994 113.1 2,036 18
Al Pfeifer TOR 1955 111.8 1,342 12
Brandon Zylstra EDM 2017 111.3 1,335 12
Derrell Mitchell TOR 1998 111.1 2,000 18


Is 102.4 yards per game sustainable in a career? Maybe not, but either way, Zylstra should be one to watch for the long-time coming.