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TORONTO — Fantasy users abandoned Mike Reilly after a slow start with his new team, but is the BC Lions’ quarterback returning to relevance following a breakout performance in Week 9?
Reilly had his best game of the season in a losing effort vs. Hamilton, averaging 10.9 yards per attempt while completing 75 per cent of his passes. His 23.9 points marked his third-highest total of 2019, but more importantly the Lions’ offence was in sync, totaling 420 yards of offence, 30 first downs and 37 minutes of possession.
“This is the definition of post-hype, where we were pumped about the Lions all off-season, talking about Mike Reilly, talking about those weapons,” said Jeff Krever. “It’s one game, but I’m excited. I think putting Justin Renfrow at tackle, that O-line was better. The offence looked the best it has all season. I’m ready to start rolling the dice on these guys again. There’s some value to be had.”
With a price tag of $10,155 in TSN CFL Fantasy presented by LeoVegas, Reilly’s salary won’t break the bank for those looking to make a play on the Lions’ quarterback. But was the team’s recent breakthrough a sign of things to come, or a one-off performance?
As a whole, the Lions’ offence still ranks second last in the CFL with 305.6 yards per game, and has also allowed the most sacks in the league with 29.
“One game where they put up 34 points, it just seems a little premature for me to say we’re ready to put the BC Lions back in our lineup,” said Pat Steinberg. “Mike Reilly did not look the same after that ankle injury, I’m curious how he’s going to be after that play late in the game.
“The other worrisome part is that it’s just one game. They put up 34 points on merit, but one game for a team that has struggled offensively all year long, has struggled to protect the quarterback all year — I’m not quite ready to go down that road, especially with a really tough matchup against the team with the best record in the CFL in Week 10.”
One thing both Pat and Jeff can agree on is that a matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers could present some opportunities, especially if Reilly is forced to go vertical. The Bombers’ defence is among the best in the CFL, allowing just 317 yards per game while holding opposing quarterbacks to a league-low 73.5 efficiency rating.
Yet Reilly threw for 200 yards in the first half alone in his first matchup with Winnipeg, finishing the game with 324 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on 39 attempts.
“I’m anticipating a really good matchup with the Bombers in a battle that forces you to go vertical because that Bombers secondary can be attacked — and you have to, because you can’t run against them,” said Krever. “I also think desperation can bring the best out of you. It’s going to bring the best out of Mike Reilly here because they’ve got nothing to lose. They need to start winning football games to keep their season alive and Mike Reilly‘s too good a quarterback to keep down and out for this long.”
“I do agree that their matchup against Winnipeg is going to force that group to be a whole lot more vertical because Winnipeg does not allow very much on the ground,” said Steinberg. “You just don’t run on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and that’s been their calling card all year long. I could see a vintage performance from Reilly, at least in terms of passing attempts. If he were to be in the 40-attempt range when it’s all said and done it wouldn’t surprise me.”
Steinberg, Krever and Hannah Nordman debated on the Lions, the pending return of Bo Levi Mitchell, and much, much more in the CFL Fantasy Podcast presented by LeoVegas.