Nearing the halfway point of the regular season, Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros has jumped to the top of the CFL MOP odds, but it's a close race between Collaros and a few other big-name QBs.
Entering Week 7 of the CFL regular season, we’re starting to get a solid sense of where players and teams rank in the league. Winnipeg’s Zach Collaros has put himself in the conversation as an early favourite to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award, but there’s a bevy of other offensive players on his heels. Is the MOP award bound to be a quarterback, or can a dark horse candidate win it like receiver Brandon Banks did, in 2019?
Zach Collaros +300
Collaros has taken up right where he left off in 2019 when he won all four of his starts and led the Bombers to their first Grey Cup in 29 years. Now in his first full season with the team, Collaros has led Winnipeg to a league-best 5-1 record and leads the CFL in passing touchdowns (9) and pass attempts (175), while sitting second in passing yards (1,479) and completions (121).
The 33-year-old has looked cool, calm and collected, helping complete this Winnipeg offence. Collaros throws one of the best deep balls in the league and has been able to spread the ball around to all of his receivers, all over the field. He’s only thrown three interceptions and he looks like he’s getting better every week, stringing together eight TD drives in the last two weeks alone.
Collaros is clearly a better passer than runner, but he can still burn teams on the ground when he needs to, rushing for 61 yards on nine carries this season. If Winnipeg can continue their success and make a second straight Grey Cup appearance, it’s tough to see Collaros not being the CFL’s most outstanding player.
Cody Fajardo +350
Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajado entered the season at the top of a lot of different MOP lists and he still has a great shot to take home the award if he can lead Saskatchewan to some wins in the second half of the season. The last two weeks have really made the difference in this race between Fajardo and Collaros. The Roughriders were downed heavily in two straight games against Winnipeg, with Fajardo managing just 380 passing yards, one touchdown pass and four interceptions over the two games.
Those losses to the Bombers are the only stain on Saskatchewan’s season though, and Fajardo’s stats against Winnipeg reflect more of how the team played, rather than him personally. The 29-year-old’s season stats still keep him firmly in the MOP race. Fajardo is third in the CFL in both passing attempts (151) and completions (109), and he also sits fourth in passing yards (1,153).
The biggest argument for Fajardo is his lack of weapons. The Roughriders don’t have any receivers in the top 10 for touchdowns and only one receiver in the top 10 in receiving yards (Kyran Moore is 10th with 301 yards). Fajardo is likely going to need to get the Riders to the Grey Cup to surpass Collaros, but it’s a very real possibility with him at the helm.
Michael Reilly +350
The BC Lions quarterback jumped into a tie for second in MOP odds after another strong outing against Ottawa last week. Reilly completed his first 11 passes of the game, finishing 22-for-26, throwing for 319 yards and four touchdowns. The performance earned him CFL Top Performer of the Week honours and moved BC into a tie with Saskatchewan for second in the West Division.
Reilly has passed for over 300 yards three times this season and he sits third in total passing yards (1,293) and fourth in passing touchdowns (6), passing attempts (139) and completions (103). He’s also been incredibly consistent and thrown just a single interception all season.
The veteran QB’s consistency is his biggest asset, but he’ll need to do something to separate himself from the pack.
Trevor Harris +350
Honestly, I expect Trevor Harris to be out of this race by next week, although it has nothing to do with his production. Harris leads the CFL in completions (126) and passing yards (1,481), and he’s second in passing attempts (170) and passing touchdowns (6).
Harris was dealt a tough break in Week 6, however, when he exited the game early with a neck injury. Although he practiced early in Week 7, Edmonton officially added Harris to the team’s six-game injured list on Thursday. Harris is obviously bound to fall out of the MOP race entirely if he’s not on the field.
Dark Horse Candidates
Vernon Adams Jr. (Montreal Alouettes QB) +800
Bryan Burnham (BC Lions WR) +1200
William Stanback (Montreal Alouettes RB) +1200