Quarterback Index: Fajardo making an impression

The CFL.ca Quarterback 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 — Cody Fajardo looks like he’s here to stay.

The 27-year-old has gotten quite comfortable in his role as starting quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, coming off a 430-yard performance and leading the team to its first win in 2019.

Now on his third CFL team, has Fajardo cemented himself as the long-term answer at pivot for the Riders?


There was lots to take in throughout Canada Day Weekend in the CFL.

In Calgary, Bo Levi Mitchell was injured while Nick Arbuckle made a stunning entrance for the Stamps, engineering two late scoring drives to cap off a comeback victory over the Lions.

Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols got the ‘W’ over Trevor Harris in a marquee matchup with the Esks, thanks to a little help from the dynamic Lucky Whitehead.

And while Vernon Adams Jr. had mixed reviews in his first start of the season, James Franklin‘s early-season struggles continued for the Argos.

CFL.ca ranks the pivots heading into Week 4:

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

A slow start for the reigning Most Outstanding Player turned worse in Week 3, when Mitchell suffered an upper-body injury in the fourth quarter vs. BC. Given his career body of work, counting Mitchell out after just two games would be a mistake. The Stamps will no doubt miss him if he’s sidelined.

TREVOR HARRIS EDM
THIS WEEK: 2 | LAST WEEK: 2

With Harris at the helm, the Esks’ offence was so efficient in Week 3 they ran a season-high 77 offensive plays. The problem? Not one of them found the end zone. Despite 345 passing yards, Harris’ quarterback rating has dropped to 113.0 on the season, though his six touchdowns and zero interceptions remain stellar.

MIKE REILLY BC
THIS WEEK: 3 | LAST WEEK: 3

For the first time since the move, Mike Reilly looked like his old self on Saturday vs. the Stamps. The Lions’ pivot had more time in the pocket and is clearly getting comfortable with his top three weapons in Bryan BurnhamDuron Carter and Lemar Durant. Even at 0-3 the rest of the West is on notice.

MATT NICHOLS WPG
THIS WEEK: 4 | LAST WEEK: 4

With a diverse, new-look offence led by breakout star Lucky WhiteheadMatt Nichols looks like a different quarterback for the Bombers in 2019. The 32-year-old has thrown six touchdown passes and just one interception while boasting a QB rating of 113.5 — second-best in the CFL behind only Cody Fajardo.

JEREMIAH MASOLI HAM
THIS WEEK: 5 | LAST WEEK: 5

Masoli shredded the Alouettes’ defence on Friday, averaging 13.5 yards per attempt on the way to 400-plus passing yards, though he also threw three interceptions. The 2018 East Division MOP hasn’t yet reached his ceiling, and if he can cut down the mistakes he’ll have a Most Outstanding Player in his future.

CODY FAJARDO SSK
THIS WEEK: 6 | LAST WEEK: 7

In just two weeks Fajardo has proven he’s far more than just a runner. The first-year Rider is dangerous with his arm and his legs, but has done the majority of his damage through the air, totaling 790 yards and averaging 12.2 yards per attempt in his first two starts. The Stamps could provide a stiff test in Week 4.

DOMINIQUE DAVIS OTT
THIS WEEK: 7 | LAST WEEK: 6

One great game, one not-so-great game for Dominique Davis but only one stat matters in the end: wins and losses. Davis has changed the tone in Ottawa, where there was plenty of off-season uncertainty following the departure of Trevor Harris. A matchup against his former team is on deck.

NICK ARBUCKLE CGY
THIS WEEK: 8 | LAST WEEK: NOT RANKED

Is Arbuckle the next can’t-miss prospect in the CFL? The 25-year-old didn’t miss a throw in his 2019 debut on Saturday, completing all nine attempts for 93 yards and two touchdowns (one on the ground) to manufacture a stunning comeback vs. the Lions. He could see regular playing time as Bo Levi Mitchell deals with his injury.

VERNON ADAMS JR MTL
THIS WEEK: 9 | LAST WEEK: 9

Adams had an eventful first start for the Als last weekend, finding rookie receiver Jake Wieneke for a long touchdown but also missing B.J. Cunningham and DeVier Posey on wide open deep balls. There’s a lot at stake in a rematch with the Ticats as Adams fights for a chance to be the starter moving forward.

JAMES FRANKLIN TOR
THIS WEEK: 10 | LAST WEEK: 8

Franklin just hasn’t gotten comfortable in Jacques Chapdelaine’s offence, finding the end zone once in contrast to three interceptions through two weeks. The underlying numbers aren’t bad — 67 per cent completion rate and 8.1 yards per attempt — but Franklin will have to be better to hang on to his starting job.

MCLEOD BETHEL-THOMPSON TOR
THIS WEEK: 11 | LAST WEEK: NOT RANKED

With Franklin struggling, Bethel-Thompson is quickly becoming an option for Corey Chamblin and the winless Argos out of the gate. The 30-year-old journeyman looked good in stretches for the Boatmen last season and could provide the spark needed to dig out of an early hole. There’s certainly room to climb for the Argos’ backup pivot.

INJURED: ZACH COLLAROS SSK, ANTONIO PIPKIN MTL

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