It is a truth universally acknowledged that the owner of a fantasy football team is in want of a running back. Further it is said that only two things in life are certain, those two being death and taxes. Well in 2017 we can add to those universal truths that the owner of any CFL fantasy team will have wanted Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris on their team for most of the season.
Harris is by any objective measure having a terrific season. Twelve games into the eighteen week season Harris has rushed for 739 yards and has 75 catches totaling 637 yards. The latter made all the more impressive when you look at his stats more closely and see that an eye popping 515 of those yards have come after the catch.
So how likely is it? Well Harris has 6 games left to get 261 yards rushing and 363 yards receiving. They do seem eminently plausible goals based on his production so far. Let’s look a little closer though. So far Harris is averaging 61.5 yards per game on the ground and 53 yards per game through the air. To achieve his goal he will need to average 43.5 yards per game rushing and 60.5 yards per game receiving. It could be possible. A sticking point may be that most of his catches are short – it could be up to him to make the yards, but then he does have excellent yards after the catch numbers.
Harris himself isn’t shy about going for it. He was quoted on bluebombers.com in August as saying, “I told coach Bourgs (running backs coach Kevin Bourgoin) in the off-season that (1,000, 1,000) was one of my goals this year”https://www.bluebombers.com/2017/08/20/harris-aiming-1000-1000-season/
The Bombers at 9-3 are the highest scoring team in the league with 409 points – around 34 per game on the board, and Andrew Harris has been a huge part of that. There is a school of thought that says feeding him the ball so far has been so successful that you would not want to stop now.
History suggests that Harris is unlikely to reach his target. The closest anyone has been to a 1000/1000 season in the CFL is Robert Drummond. He ran for 1,134 yards and had 840 yards receiving for the 1997 Toronto Argonauts juggernaut that went 15-3 and went on the lift the Grey Cup. One other obstacle stands in his way – the number one ranked Calgary D. Winnipeg play their last game of the season against the Stamps, if he is close to the goals there is no team he would want to face less having had his worst game of the year against them.
Ultimately Harris will do what is best for the team, either rushing, receiving, blocking or even acting as a decoy. Plus we must not forget he will have to stay healthy, which in this sport can never be taken for granted. For neutrals everywhere it would be great to see Harris break new ground. There has been much discussion of late over who could be this year’s MOP as there are more potential candidates than usual. If Harris were to make the 1,000/1,000 it would be very difficult indeed to look past him.
As ever, we do not know what will happen. That is what they play the games for as they say, but also as ever it will be fun being along for the ride to find out.
Picture from www.cfl.ca