A.J. Ouellette takes the top spot. CFL running back rankings ahead of week 8 as well as the 3 Stars of the Week for week 7.
Stars of the Week:
1st Star: A.J. Ouellette (TOR)
10 carries for 84 yards, 8.4 yards per carry, and 2 receptions for 12 yards.
2nd Star: Brady Oliveira (WPG)
17 carries for 110 yards, 6.5 yards per carry, and 2 receptions for 10 yards.
3rd Star: Devonte Williams (OTT)
10 carries for 57 yards, 5.7 yards per carry, and 2 receptions for 14 yards.
Previous Running Back Rankings
1. A.J. Ouellette, Toronto Argonauts, Previous Ranking #RB2
A.J. Ouellette has put together some very strong games recently and is now the league leader in yards per carry among starting runningbacks. Ouellette rushed 10 times for 84 yards against Hamilton (8.4 average) with his longest rush being for 36 yards and he had 2 carries for greater than 20 yards. He also caught both of his targets for 12 yards.
In a recent interview with Tibo Debaille, defensive tackle for the BC Lions, I asked him who he thought was the toughest running back to stop and he responded with A.J. Oullette.
“I think that’s pretty clear, it’s the guy from Toronto, A.J. Ouellette. He’ll lower his shoulder into you and if you’re not ready you’re going down, which I love. I think I tackled him twice and every time I said ‘man I love the way you run’. You gotta respect it. And he’s a guy that doesn’t say much, he just gets the ball tries to run through somebody gets as much yards as possible, hops back up again, and does it all over again. So you gotta love a guy like that.” Tibo Debaille on his thoughts on the toughest running back to tackle in the CFL.
2. Brady Oliveira, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Previous Ranking #RB3
Brady Oliveira had a big day against Edmonton. The Elks have been the worst team in the league at stopping the run so far this season but still a fantastic game to have for Oliveira before heading into Winnipeg’s bye week. Oliveira had 17 carries for 110 yards (6.5 average). He also caught both of his targets for 10 yards. It’s really hard to win a football game if you can’t stop the run especially when trailing and Oliveira delivered a big game for Winnipeg. It seems the more you give Oliveira the rock the more he gets going and had another game in which he had a really strong 4th quarter performance.
Oliveira was held to 1.8 yards per carry in week 6 against Ottawa on 9 carries so seeing Oliveira bounce back for over 100 rushing yards the following week is great to see for Bombers fans.
3. Dedrick Mills, Calgary Stampeders, Previous Ranking #RB1
Dedrick Mills had 6 carries for 21 yards (3.5 average) in the loss to Ottawa. He also caught both of his targets for 9 yards. It’s a bit of an oddity that Calgary only gave Mills 6 touches in the game. Jake Maier had a pretty productive game but quarterbacks can be more prone to mistakes if there’s no run support. It was the first time this season Mills had less than 10 carries in a game that he started in.
4. Taquan Mizzell, BC Lions, Previous Ranking #RB6
Missed week 7’s game against Saskatchewan due to an injury. Mizzell has had an excellent rookie CFL season thus far and will be a great boost to the Lions’ offense when he returns.
5. James Butler, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Previous Ranking #RB5
In week 7’s loss to Toronto, Butler wasn’t able to get much of a run game going. He had 8 carries for 14 yards with the longest being an 8 yard carry. He did catch 6 of his 8 receptions for 58 yards.
Hamilton needs more consistent production out of its running game especially when they have a quarterback who just started their first CFL game in week 7. In week 6 Butler had 14 carries for 127 yards (9.1 average) and a touchdown against Edmonton. Butler was a big free agent acquisition for Hamilton this past offseason. Last season he averaged 5 yards per carry. So far he has had under 4 yards per carry in 4 of the 6 games played and has been under 3 yards per carry twice.
6. Kevin Brown, Edmonton Elks, Previous Ranking #RB7
Kevin Brown had 11 carries for 51 yards (4.6 average). His longest was a 17-yarder and he had 2 carries over 10 yards. He had an alright average against Winnipeg but Winnipeg did a good job keeping him from having much production most of the time. 7 of Brown’s 11 carries were for 3 yards or less. He had 1 rush for 1 yard, 4 rushes for 2 yards, and 2 rushes for 3 yards. Edmonton desperately needs some consistent run support as they are in last place in points scored.
7. Jamal Morrow, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Previous Ranking #RB4
The BC Lions were all over Jamal Morrow in week 7. Morrow rushed 12 times for 11 yards (0.9 average). Morrow is a good running back who ran into a defense that played extremely well. Morrow did catch all 4 of his targets for 29 yards. Morrow does still have a 4.5 yards per carry despite the touch loss to BC.
8. William Stanback, Montreal Alouettes, Previous Ranking #RB8
On the bye week in week 7. Stanback hasn’t been able to get going anywhere near his rate compared to the 2021 season in which he was a CFL all-star. He missed a lot of the 2022 season due to injury. The lower level in production is largely to do with the fact that he is not being given many carries by the play-calling stratagem so far in Montreal.
9. Devonte Williams, Ottawa Redblacks, Previous Ranking #RB9
Williams had 10 carries for 57 yards (5.7 average) and caught both of his targets for 14 yards. Williams has played in 3 games so far. His first game was in June against Montreal in which he averaged 3.3 yards per carry on 11 rushes. He missed some time after that game to injury before returning in week 6 against Winnipeg and had a 4.5 yards per carry on 8 rushes. His most recent game has been his most productive one so far.
10. Andrew Harris, Toronto Argonauts, Previous Ranking #RB10
Andrew Harris had 5 rushes for 9 yards (1.8 average) in the win against Hamilton. It was the only time this season he had less than 3 yards per carry. On the season so far he has 21 carries in 5 games for 95 yards (4.5 average). Andrew Harris has been the only 2nd running back to be consistently getting touches so far this season.
11. Shaun Shivers, BC Lions, Previous Ranking #RB11
In week 7 Shivers had 10 carries for 21 yards (2.1 average). He also caught 3 of his 6 targets for -8 yards. In his CFL debut in week 5 Shivers had 14 carries for 63 yards (4.5 average) and 73 receiving yards on 2 catches. Shivers started the last 2 games while Taquan Mizzell missed them due to a knee injury.
Injured players and practice roster players are not included in this ranking but are listed below with their previous ranking.
(IR) Ka’Deem Carey, Calgary Stampeders, Previous Ranking #RB1
Had only 7 carries for 43 yards (6.1 average) before suffering an injury in week 1.
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