CFL Week 18: PFF Team of the Week & Player Awards

2T0GF03 Vancouver, Canada. 06th Oct, 2023. Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Brady Oliveira celebrates his rushing touchdown against the B.C. Lions during overtime CFL football action, in Vancouver, on Friday, October 6, 2023. Credit: The Canadian Press/Alamy Live News

• Brady Oliveira for Most Outstanding Player? Oliveira touched the ball 19 times in Week 18, racking up 152 yards. He forced three missed tackles and led all running backs in PFF grade for the week.

• Montreal's Mustafa Johnson is nearly unblockable: Johnson recorded a sack, a hit, three hurries and two other pass-rush wins on just 23 pass-rush snaps in Week 18.

• Stavros Katsantonis leads Hamilton's defense to a big week: Katsantonis allowed just two catches and one first down while also making a ridiculous one-handed interception on a deep target.

Estimate reading time: 5 minutes


We’re coming up on the end of the 2023 CFL season, so we’re getting down to the last few weeks for players to make a big impact and earn their spot on the PFF Team of the Week.

Last week produced some big performances, which are highlighted below. Wide receiver Tyson Philpot and interior defender Sione Teuhema made the team for the first time, while RB Brady Oliveira joined the six-time club. 

OFFENSE

QB: Chad Kelly, Toronto
RB: Brady Oliveira, Winnipeg
Outside WR: Kenny Lawler, Winnipeg
Slot WR: Omar Bayless, Hamilton
Slot WR: Tyler Snead, Montreal
Slot WR: Jevon Cottoy, BC
Outside WR: Tyson Philpot, Montreal
LT: Jordan Murray, Hamilton
LG: Hunter Steward, Ottawa
C: Peter Godber, Saskatchewan
RG: Kristian Matte, Montreal
RT: Brett Boyko, Edmonton

DEFENSE

DI: Mustafa Johnson, Montreal
DI: Tibo Debaillie, BC
Edge: Willie Jefferson, Winnipeg
Edge: Sione Teuhema, BC
LB: Wynton McManis, Toronto
LB: Simoni Lawrence, Hamilton
Cover LB: Adarius Pickett, Toronto
CB: Nick Marshall, Saskatchewan
CB: Richard Leonard, Hamilton
HB: Reggie Stubblefield, Montreal
HB: Mason Pierce, Toronto
S: Stavros Katsantonis, Hamilton

SPECIAL TEAMS

 K: Sean Whyte, BC
P: Jake Julien, Edmonton
Returner: Devonte Williams, Ottawa

QUARTERBACK OF THE WEEK: QB CHAD KELLY, TORONTO

While it was a fantastic week for B.C.’s Vernon Adams Jr., he was just narrowly beaten out by the incredibly efficient Kelly.

The Toronto quarterback dropped back just 19 times but managed an impressive 90.4 overall grade, completing 11-of-16 passes for 165 yards despite recording a 14.7-yard average target depth. He would have had two more completions and close to 40 more yards had it not been for two drops, too.

A league-high 75% of Kelly’s pass attempts traveled beyond the first-down marker, taking his season-long number in that metric to 51.8%, second in the league. Kelly is still the highest-graded player in the CFL at 90.9 overall and may be on his way to this season’s Most Outstanding Player award.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB BRADY OLIVEIRA, WINNIPEG

 There has been much debate about who the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ most outstanding player is. Is it quarterback Zach Collaros, or is it running back Brady Oliveira?

While it has gone back and forth throughout the year, Oliveira gained the upper hand last week.

The Winnipeg running back finished Week 18 as the highest-graded offensive player on his team at 75.1 overall. He was an effective runner, finding the right hole when he got the ball, and he frequently put Winnipeg in favorable positions.

He was even better as a receiver, catching eight passes on eight targets for five first downs. All in all, he touched the ball 19 times and gained 152 yards. He forced three missed tackles and led all running backs in PFF grade for the week.

Oliveira’s 88.2 overall grade for the season barely trails A.J. Ouellette's (88.7) for the highest at the position this year.

OFFENSIVE LINE OF THE WEEK: MONTREAL ALOUETTES

It was an excellent week for the Alouettes' offensive line, which managed to keep quarterback Cody Fajardo almost completely clean from pressure.

The group didn’t allow a sack and surrendered just one hit and six other hurries, putting up a 90.3 pass-blocking efficiency to rank second among the league's offensive lines.

They also found success in the running game, as the Als gained almost a third of their rushing yards before first contact.

It’s been quite the season for the Montreal offensive line. All five starters’ grades rank in the top five at their respective positions, with Nick Callender leading the way as the CFL's highest-graded left tackle.

PASS-RUSHER OF THE WEEK: DI MUSTAFA JOHNSON, MONTREAL

The Montreal interior defender recorded a sack, a hit, three hurries and two other pass-rush wins on just 23 pass-rush attempts in Week 18. The resulting 26.1% pass-rush win rate was one of the highest marks of the week and a big reason he finished with a league-leading 90.4 pass-rush grade.

Johnson's 88.2 pass-rush grade for the year ranks second at the position. His 62 total pressures and 14.7% win rate both rank first — and by a large margin.

RUN DEFENDER OF THE WEEK: DI CASEY SAYLES, HAMILTON

While the Saskatchewan running game was successful overall against Hamilton, it was through no fault of Sayles, as nobody disrupted the run offense more last week.

He finished with six tackles against the run, including four defensive stops. He graded positively on over 35% of his snaps while grading negatively less than 6% of the time.

Sayles' 83.1 run-defense grade ranked first among front-seven defenders last week, while his 76.0 run-defense grade over the season ranks third at his position.

COVERAGE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: S STAVROS KATSANTONIS, HAMILTON

While the Saskatchewan running game got going, the opposite was true for their passing game, and that can be directly linked to the play of roaming free safety Katsantonis.

The Tiger-Cats defender was the biggest reason the defense allowed just 6.2 yards per pass attempt and didn’t surrender a single big-time throw.

Katsantonis allowed two catches and one first down while also making a ridiculous one-handed interception on a deep target. He is having a fantastic season, with his 84.2 coverage grade ranking third among safeties.

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