The second and final part of my CFL 2019 predictions articles dives into the CFL awards, individual statistics leaders, who will emerge or fall off in 2019, some safe and bold predictions, and futures odds for the 107th Grey Cup. You can read part one here.
CFL 2019 Predictions
Most Oustanding Rookie: Nikola Kalinic, FB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Runner-up: Jevon Cottoy, WR, B.C. Lions
Kalinic is an intriguing National talent on a loaded Ti-Cats offence. With few other rookie starters cemented across the East, Kalinic is the safe yet exciting pick. For the West, I’m inserting whoever emerges as the Lions’ fifth starting receiver, and it appears Jevon Cottoy, a local, is that player.
Most Outstanding Special Teams Player: Kyran Moore, KR/PR, Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Runner-up: Lirim Hajrullahu, K/P, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Moore was a thrilling returner during the back half of the 2018 season. Although he should split return reps with Marcus Thigpen and Christion Jones, I think Moore is set to have an under the radar high-production season. Hajrullahu should have a lot of kicking attempts, whether it’s field goals or point after converts. The fact that he’s an adequate punter should mean he’ll have the numbers to get the nod out of the East.
Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman: Ryker Matthews, LT, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Runner-up: Derek Dennis, LT, Calgary Stampeders.
Hamilton is stacked on the offensive line and Ryker Matthews should shine after returning to this unit, likely lining up at left tackle. Dennis has been one of the best linemen for years, and with back-to-back MOOL Stanley Bryant Jr. hitting his mid-30s and Winnipeg’s offensive line falling off a bit, I’m going to go with Dennis over Bryant Jr.
Most Outstanding Canadian: Henoc Muamba, MLB, Montreal Alouettes.
Runner-up: Andrew Harris, RB, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
If Montreal’s going to improve in 2019, Henoc Muamba is going to be their leader on defence. Muamba finished second in the league in tackles last season, but his superior (Alex Singleton) has departed to the NFL. The West Division MOC essentially translates to Andrew Harris. Barring injury, nothing’s going to change.
Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Henoc Muamba, MLB, Montreal Alouettes.
Runner-up: Adam Bighill, MLB, Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Muamba’s massive year will lead to the National linebacker double dipping at the CFL awards. The West nominee could be either Bighill or Jefferson, or possibly Marcus Sayles on Winnipeg. Defensive backs T.J. Lee and Nick Marshall should get consideration, but awards are given to those with elite basic statistics, not defensive backs who are ghosts on the box score. Bighill will have those numbers.
Most Outstanding Player: Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Runner-up: Mike Reilly, QB, B.C. Lions.
Hamilton’s phenomenal 2019 season will be at the hands of the superstar quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli. With this offence around him, Masoli should have field days with opponents. In the West, Mike Reilly is going to have an asinine amount of passing yards, resulting in a MOP nod. Hamilton and B.C. finishing first in their divisions would help too.
CFL Individual Statistics Leaders:
Most Passing Yards: Mike Reilly, QB, B.C. Lions.
Reilly throws a ton, and without a proven run game, the offence will run through 13 in orange and black
Most Passing Touchdowns: Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
If Masoli doesn’t lead in yards, he’ll lead in touchdowns. Hamilton scores the most touchdowns in 2019, meaning Masoli throws a lot of majors.
Most Rushing Yards: William Stanback, RB, Montreal Alouettes.
Let’s get bold. Stanback is a beast with speed and should take some pressure off Antonio Pipkin. Stanback barely edges out some West backs.
Most Rushing Touchdowns: Andrew Harris, RB, Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Picking a quarterback would’ve been lame, so I’m taking the most consistent running back who has a knack for the end zone.
Most Receiving Yards: Brandon Banks, WR, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
If Speedy B plays 18 games, this is a no brainer. He’s the best in the game and has dynamite chemistry with Jeremiah Masoli.
Most Receiving Touchdowns: Duron Carter, WR, B.C. Lions.
Carter can grab any ball thrown his way in the end zone, and has the game-breaking ability to score on any catch. Mike Reilly helps too.
Most Sacks: Micah Johnson, DT, Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Charleston Hughes or Micah Johnson, take your pick. I selected Johnson, who’s wildly better than the next best defensive tackle in the CFL.
Most Tackles: Henoc Muamba, MLB, Montreal Alouettes.
Muamba’s taking over this title with the departures of Alex Singleton and J.C. Sherritt.
Most Interceptions: Cariel Brooks, HB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Delvin Breaux is Hamilton’s finest defender, but Brooks is quietly good and should see a lot more targets than Breaux.
Two Breakout Players From Each Team
Reggie Begelton, WR, Calgary Stampeders.
Folarin Orimolade, DE, Calgary Stampeders.
Alden Darby, CB, Toronto Argonauts.
Tobi Antigha, DE, Toronto Argonauts.
Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga, WLB, Edmonton Eskimos.
Arjen Colquhoun, CB, Edmonton Eskimos.
Evan Johnson, LG, Ottawa Redblacks.
Anthony Cioffi, SLB, Ottawa Redblacks.
William Stanback, RB, Montreal Alouettes.
Antonio Pipkin, QB, Montreal Alouettes.
Marcus Sayles, HB, Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Drew Wolitarsky, WR, Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Nick Marshall, CB, Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Kyran Moore, SB, Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Cariel Brooks, HB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Bralon Addison, SB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Sergio Castillo, K, B.C. Lions.
Jordan Herdman-Reed, MLB, B.C. Lions.
One Drop-Off Player From Each Team
Derek Wiggan, DT, Calgary Stampeders.
Abdul Kanneh, HB, Toronto Argonauts.
Kevin Elliott, WR, Edmonton Eskimos.
Jonathan Jennings, QB, Ottawa Redblacks.
Jeremiah Johnson, RB, Montreal Alouettes.
Craig Roh, DE, Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Solomon Elimimian, MLB, Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Cameron Marshall, RB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Brandon Rutley, RB, B.C. Lions.
Five Safe Bets
- The Ottawa Redblacks miss the playoffs.
- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats win the East Division
- Brandon Banks leads the CFL in receiving yards.
- Duron Carter returns to his elite level with a 1,000-yard season.
- Bo Levi Mitchell, Jeremiah Masoli and Mike Reilly each throw 30-plus touchdowns.
Five Bold Predictions
- James Franklin doesn’t start the majority of Toronto Argonauts games.
- The Montreal Alouettes reach the East Final.
- Saskatchewan finishes first (best) in points against.
- Drew Wolitarsky has over 1,000 receiving yards.
- The Redblacks lead the CFL in turnovers forced.
As of June 9, the Grey Cup winner prices on Bodog are:
B.C. Lions +300
Calgary Stampeders +325
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +550
Saskatchewan Roughriders +650
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +650
Ottawa Redblacks +900
Edmonton Eskimos +1000
Toronto Argonauts +1200
Montreal Alouettes +1800
I have tickets on B.C. and Hamilton at +800 and +900 odds respectively, and I’m content with the two. Today, at +300 I wouldn’t recommend buying in on B.C., but I would suggest Hamilton at their decreased price of +550 since they’ll likely need one win to reach the Grey Cup.
Edmonton has exceptional value at +1000, and they would be my current suggestion along with Hamilton factoring in their current odds and the likelihood of either winning it all.
The Last Word
This concludes my lengthy, and probably incorrect, CFL 2019 predictions. Comment below on this post or tweet me at @nik_kowalski with your thoughts and your own predictions.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images