MOP Watch: William Stanback runs up rankings with unstoppable performance

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Injury could slow him, food poisoning could delay his return, and still it doesn’t appear that anything can actually stop William Stanback. But where does the Montreal Alouettes’ top back stand in the race for Most Outstanding Player?

Every week of the 2021 season, the 3DownNation trio of Justin Dunk, John Hodge and J.C. Abbott will vote for their top ten MOP candidates. Those rankings are aggregated and averaged to create a list of the top nine players in the mix for the trophy.

Each player will have their “last week” ranking listed beside their name, indicating the position that they held on the list the previous week.

With 203 yards on the ground as his team claimed first in the East, Stanback was the biggest riser in Week 12. Don’t quite hand him the crown yet however, as there is one player he just can’t seem to run over.

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

1. Zach Collaros, QB, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (last week: 1)

You didn’t really think the MOP favourite would change after Collaros and the Bombers drilled B.C. by a score of 45-0, did you? Though he may have a game in hand, Collaros leads all passers by more than 500 yards and four touchdowns, while also being the only CFL quarterback with an efficiency rating in triple digits (111.7).

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

2. William Stanback, RB, Montreal Alouettes (last week: 5)

Stand back! That’s what the Toronto Argonauts decided to do last week, as William Stanback ran all over them after him two week absence. The powerful back now leads the CFL in rushing by 199 yards, averaging 110 yards per game and 6.7 yards per carry.

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

3. Willie Jefferson, DE, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (last week: 2)

Willie Jefferson is nothing if not an opportunist and the reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player padded his resume with an easy pick six against B.C. He took the long way to the endzone, but there remains a short path for him to take home a major award at the end of the year.

Photo courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

4. Kenny Lawler, REC, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (last week: 4)

Lawler only had two catches for 19 yards in Winnipeg’s blowout of the Lions, but he hauled in a touchdown with each of them. One of 2021’s break-out stars, he sits second in the CFL for receiving yards, but leads the way with eight gains of over 30 yards.

Photo courtesy: Dominick Gravel

5. Jake Wieneke, REC, Montreal Alouettes (last week: 3)

The CFL’s touchdown leader rocketed up our rankings last week, but ‘Touchdown Jake’ delivered a dud of a Week 12. Wieneke was targeted just twice against the Argos and dropped both, including one in the endzone.

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

6. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (last week: not ranked)

Willie Jefferson’s other half had fallen out of favour with our voters the past few weeks, but a two sack outing against B.C. means he is all alone atop the league once again with nine total. Given that number has come in just 11 games, it is hard to argue he hasn’t been deserving of the MOP conversation.

Photo courtesy: David Moll/Calgary Stampeders

7. Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Calgary Stampeders (last week: not ranked)

Carey has flitted back into the MOP race, as the the former NFL fourth round pick is now second in the CFL with 681 yards rushing. Carey had 62 yards on the ground and a touchdown in a home loss to the Riders, but has clearly become the centerpiece of the Stamps offence.

Photo courtesy: CFL

8. Cody Fajardo, QB, Saskatchewan Roughriders (last week: not ranked)

Fajardo finally has more touchdowns thrown than interceptions and his first career win over the Stampeders gets the Riders’ star pivot back in the MOP hunt. Fajardo was 21-of 26 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and a pick in the win and is back in control of second in CFL passing yards.

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/B.C. Lions

9. Lucky Whitehead, REC, B.C. Lions (last week: 6)

It seems like his broken hand will soon see Lucky Whitehead shuffle off the MOP watchlist, but that hardly seems fair. Based on how the Lions have looked in his absence, he is certainly the league’s most valuable player, if not the most outstanding.

Also receiving votes: Simoni Lawrence (HAM), James Wilder Jr. (EDM — LW: 8), Eugene Lewis (MTL), Andrew Harris (WPG — LW: 7)

Dropping out of the rankings: Shawn Oakman (TOR — LW: 9)

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.