MVP Campaign: Each CFL Team's Most Valuable Player Thus Far

Guest Blogger | Updated Aug 25, 2011

Written By Guest Blogger: Jordan Toppings

We’re almost at the halfway point in the 2011 CFL season, and what a strange season it has been! After a stellar season last year in CFL pick’em pools, it seems the NoYards team can’t pick the right teams to win this season if our lives depended on it. But after 8 games, we all definitely see a clear picture of what it takes for each team to pull off a victory, and what needs to change from this point forward.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the Eskimos or Riders who absolutely need a healthy receiving corps in order to move forward, or whether a team’s success completely depends on the health of key defenders like the Blue Bombers, or whether your offense can actually operate if one component doesn’t step up as required like the situation we’ve seen in Toronto for the past few weeks. We’ve seen these teams thrive with them, and we’ve seen them falter without them…these are the mid-way point MVPs for each team…starting out west:

BC LIONS – Linebacker SOLOMON ELIMIMIAN In our eyes, the reigning CFL Rookie of the Year is a lock for the West’s nominee for Defensive player of the year. Leading the league in tackles with 54, to go along with two sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble, the 2nd year star is in prime form to improve on his impressive rookie season, and at this rate, may stir up some attention from NFL clubs. BC’s losing efforts this season en route to a 2-6 record have been kept close contests due in large part to Elimimian’s stellar play.

CALGARY STAMPEDERS – Wide Receiver NIK LEWIS Calgary has quietly risen to the top of the West standings, winning three straight games, and goes into a tough matchup with Montreal this weekend. Statistically, the always high-powered offense hasn’t shown the fire power we normally see, but the one solid piece of the puzzle that has produced consistently night after night is wide receiver Nik Lewis. With 514 receiving yards and two touchdowns, Lewis looks in good shape to register his 8th consecutive 1000 yard season.

EDMONTON ESKIMOS – Slotback FRED STAMPS As simply as we can put it, we’ve all seen the effort put together by the Eskimos without Fred Stamps in the lineup. Coming off a three game losing streak going into the bye week, the most recent being a 36-1 thrashing at the hands of the Lions, Stamps will most likely be out of the lineup for an estimated three more weeks. Prior to the injury, Stamps had recorded 33 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns, but since the injury, the Eskimos have been outscored 91-21. A big question mark going forward for the Eskimos will be the health of Jason Barnes, who is also battling injury, and also was a leading candidate for our pick for Edmonton’s MVP as well.

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS – Slotback WESTON DRESSLER The best way to describe the Riders’ season thus far would be “rough” (no pun intended). It’s hard to find positives on a team that has made two straight Grey Cup appearances, followed up by a 1-7 start to 2011. Darian Durant clearly likes to throw to his favorite receivers, and without Rob Bagg and Andy Fantuz, Weston Dressler has been the go-to guy in Sasky. Dressler has been the model of consistency over the last 3.5 seasons, despite an injury in 2009, and has averaged over 1000 receiving yards for his first 3 seasons in the CFL, becoming a fan favorite and the poster boy for a pretty tasty potato chip.

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS – Defensive End/Linebacker ODELL WILLIS The Bombers have a number of talented (and mean) defensive players that make up the Town Council of “Swaggerville”, but none more dominant than defensive end/linebacker Odell Willis. Very possibly the Eastern nominee for defensive player of the year at season’s end, Willis terrorizes quarterbacks and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. On a team where the defense has carried the entire team to the impressive 6-1 start, removing a talent like Odell Willis from the lineup really complicates the structure of Swaggerville, and therefore the health of Willis is top priority. The defense led by Willis has allowed only 18.5 points per game, good enough for first in the league.

TORONTO ARGONAUTS – Wide Receiver ANDRE DURIE This is a bit of a tricky one, because Toronto operates in a manner that doesn’t really single out one player as the “Most Valuable” to his team, so we’ve picked and up-and-comer that has really proved he can compete with the best, and that’s wide receiver Andre Durie. Durie leads the Argos with 364 receiving yards, and has led the team in receiving in both victories notched this year, Week #1 vs Calgary and Week #8 vs Saskatchewan. Look for Durie to remain a go-to guy for Cleo Lemon for the remainder of the season.

HAMILTON TIGER CATS – Running Back AVON COBOURNE Many wondered how Cobourne would perform after being the star in Montreal for the past three years, but Cobourne has adjusted nicely to Marcel Bellefueille’s system, and is a contender to compete for the CFL rushing title with 459 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. Cobourne should have a great second half to the season as Hamilton is finally finding its rhythm after a shaky start, and we should be seeing Cobourne notch his second career 1000 yard season.

MONTREAL ALOUETTES – Quarterback ANTHONY CALVILLO It is very possible that the Roughriders’ only win this season came when QB Anthony Calvillo was forced out of the lineup in the 2nd quarter. Adrian McPherson is a solid backup, but Calvillo is Calvillo. Calvillo is the greatest quarterback to every play in the CFL, and the hell of it is he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. We can’t dumb it down any further by just saying that without Calvillo, the Alouettes aren’t the Alouettes. Get yo popcorn ready!!…cause Calvillo is on the hunt for another league MVP campaign.

If you like what you see, please check out our previous articles: An Era Lives On: A Tribute to the 1990s CFL American Expansion Labour Dispute: The Tradition of the Labour Day Classic CFL a New Route to Making the Show?