TORONTO — With three of the CFL’s most storied rivalries set to unfold, many of the league’s prominent stars will take to the field on Mark’s Labour Day Weekend.
There’s no shortage of drama on tap for Sunday and Monday’s games, from young, unproven quarterbacks to incredible playmakers.
With that, CFL.ca breaks down the top 10 players to watch this weekend, as voted on by contributors from across the country:
10. Dylan Wynn, DL, HAM
The Ticats’ defensive tackle joins a long list of stars that have played on both sides of the Toronto-Hamilton rivalry, from Mike O’Shea and Orlondo Steinauer to Chad Owens and Joe Montford. Wynn helped the Argos win a Grey Cup in 2017 but is having a career year for the Ticats, currently tied for second in the CFL with eight sacks — tops among interior linemen.
9. Johnny Augustine, RB, WPG
Nic Demski and John Santiago will also help carry the load during Andrew Harris‘ two-game suspension, but the opening at running back could be career-defining for Welland, Ont. native Johnny Augustine. Augustine went undrafted despite being a top performer at the 2017 CFL Combine, but has since made his mark as a primary backup in Winnipeg.
8. Reggie Begelton, WR, CGY
Currently in his third CFL season, Reggie Begelton has delivered on high expectations as one of the league’s top breakout stars in 2019. The 25-year-old is on track for 1,400 receiving yards and is coming off a four-touchdown game vs. the Alouettes. In Bo Levi Mitchell’s absence, Begelton has become the top weapon in the Stampeders’ receiving corps.
7. McLeod Bethel-Thompson, QB, TOR
After many had written him off, McLeod Bethel-Thompson is quickly changing the narrative as the Argos’ starting quarterback. In his last three games, the career journeyman has completed 75.4 per cent of his passes, averaged 335.7 yards per game and thrown seven touchdowns without a pick. A rare Labour Day win for the Argos would no doubt open some eyes.
6. DaVaris Daniels, WR, EDM
Eskimos teammate Ricky Collins is the CFL’s receiving yards leader entering Week 12, but DaVaris Daniels is the one to watch on Labour Day against his former team. In his last two contests Daniels has totaled 15 catches for 362 yards for a stunning 24.1 yards per reception, emerging as the No. 1 target for Trevor Harris. A matchup with Tre Roberson only puts gas on the fire.
5. Cody Fajardo, QB, SSK
One of the league’s most pleasant surprises this season, Cody Fajardo has provided a much-needed answer behind centre for the Riders. With 9.0 yards per attempt and a QB rating of 104.9, the 27-year-old has proven he’s just as effective passing the ball as he is running. Yet on Labour Day, against one of the CFL’s top defences, Fajardo will face his biggest test yet.
4. Brandon Banks, WR, HAM
Though he’s cooled off of late (just five catches in the last two games), Brandon Banks is considered by many to be the CFL’s most electrifying player. The diminutive speedster averaged seven catches per game in the first two months of the season and should make a significant impact on Labour Day — if not on offence then at least as a returner.
3. Chris Streveler, QB, WPG
The injury to Matt Nichols casts a shadow of doubt on the CFL’s co-leaders in Winnipeg. Sophomore Chris Streveler has emerged as one of the league’s most intriguing prospects, but there are questions about his arm after completing just seven passes in a win over Edmonton. For better or worse, the eccentric sophomore will provide must-see TV on Sunday vs. the Riders.
2. Trevor Harris, QB, EDM
More than 1,000 yards clear of the next closest passer, Trevor Harris has been the best quarterback in the CFL in 2019. Yet there’s one thing he still hasn’t figured out in his eight-year career: how to beat Calgary. The Eskimos’ pivot carries an 0-7-2 lifetime record against the Stamps, but will try to change that on Labour Day in a critical West Division showdown.
1. Willie Jefferson, DL, WPG
In a league known for its offence, no player on the other side of the ball has made an impact like Willie Jefferson. The high profile free agent signing has lived up to his billing in Winnipeg, recording eight sacks, an interception and five forced fumbles in his first 10 games. With the Bombers thin on offence, Jefferson’s presence will be counted on vs. the Riders.