CFL: Rockstar QB Index – Travis Lulay’s return shakes up West

The Rockstar QB Index is a weekly power ranking of quarterbacks across the CFL. The ranking reflects recent performance, historical value, statistical indicators, team success and overall on-field evaluation.

TORONTO — Travis Lulay needed very little time to shake up the West Division playoff race.

The veteran quarterback returned from his three-week absence in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, helping the Lions become the first team in nearly a year to win a game at McMahon Stadium.

If you hadn’t already, it’s time to start taking the BC Lions seriously when talking about contenders in the West. Wally Buono’s team has won five of the last six games, including wins over three of the best teams in Ottawa, Hamilton and Calgary.

Lulay’s leadership and experience will only help the Lions as they fight for a playoff spot in the coming three games.

The Rockstar QB Index is back after Week 18 with a new leader, with Mike Reilly overtaking Bo Levi Mitchell for the top spot.

Elsewhere, Zach Collaros has dropped a spot after being pulled during a shut out loss to Winnipeg, while James Franklin was solid in his return for the Argos.

CFL.ca ranks the pivots heading into Week 19.

MIKE REILLY EDM
THIS WEEK: 1 | LAST WEEK: 2

Sometimes being the best creates an impossibly high standard. That’s what Mike Reilly was dealing with after back-to-back tough outings, but the reigning MOP painted a masterpiece in Week 18, overcoming illness to complete 31 of 38 passes (82%) for 369 yards and a touchdown. It was the perfect response in what was virtually a must-win game.

BO LEVI MITCHELL CGY
THIS WEEK: 2 | LAST WEEK: 1

The last two weeks have not been pretty for Bo Levi Mitchell. The CFL’s all-time wins percentage leader has averaged a dismal 5.8 yards per attempt and completed 51 per cent of his passes vs. Montreal and BC, throwing four interceptions in the process. The revolving door at receiver may finally be catching up.

JEREMIAH MASOLI HAM
THIS WEEK: 3 | LAST WEEK: 3

With four more touchdowns and 338 passing yards in a win over the Argos, Jeremiah Masoli has firmly planted himself in the Most Outstanding Player conversation. Sixteen of Masoli’s 25 touchdowns have come since Labour Day (with just five interceptions over that span), while the 30-year-old also leads the CFL in QB rating (101.8) and yards per attempt (9.4).

TREVOR HARRIS OTT
THIS WEEK: 4 | LAST WEEK: 4

Trevor Harris was hot and cold in a loss to the Eskimos on Saturday, breaking 200 passing yards in the first half before being shut out in the second. Consistency continues to elude the REDBLACKS’ passer, who’s taken a step back in his second full season as a CFL starting quarterback, throwing 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with an 8-7 record.

MATT NICHOLS WPG
THIS WEEK: 5 | LAST WEEK: 5

Over the Bombers’ four-game winning streak, Matt Nichols has completed 72 per cent of his passes, averaged 8.6 yards per attempt and thrown five touchdowns to just one interception. He’s the living embodiment of what it means to be a ‘game manger’, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. He does it well, and as a result, his team is winning football games.

TRAVIS LULAY BC
THIS WEEK: 6 | LAST WEEK: IR

The numbers were pedestrian (193 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT on 14-of-26 passing), but Travis Lulay did what was needed in a 26-21 victory over the Calgary Stampeders. Winning at McMahon is a strong statement for the playoff-hungry Lions, who are in good hands with Lulay’s veteran presence leading the huddle.

ZACH COLLAROS SSK
THIS WEEK: 7 | LAST WEEK: 6

Zach Collaros had arguably the worst performance of his career on Saturday, completing just eight of 19 passes for 69 yards and two interceptions in a shutout loss to the Bombers. There’s still time to turn things around, but Collaros’ body of work this season suggests the Riders’ quarterback search will continue into the off-season.

JAMES FRANKLIN TOR
THIS WEEK: 8 | LAST WEEK: NOT RANKED

James Franklin was solid but unspectacular against the league’s top pass defence, throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Ticats. The 27-year-old wasn’t shy in his first start since Week 7, challenging the defence vertically and also doing some damage with his legs. Franklin has three more games to try and lock down a starting job in 2019.

JOHNNY MANZIEL MTL
THIS WEEK: 9 | LAST WEEK: 8

Johnny Manziel had the bye week to reflect on his first five CFL starts. The former Heisman Trophy winner has shown growth throughout his inaugural CFL season, averaging 8.6 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and two interceptions over his last three starts. A home-and-home against the Argos’ league-worst secondary could see Manziel put up some numbers.

OUT: JONATHON JENNINGS (BC), MCLEOD BETHEL-THOMPSON (TOR)

INJURED: RICKY RAY (TOR)

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