• Alexander Knopow (@FantasyFiends)

Player Profile: Matthew Stafford

The Detroit Lions organization hasn’t had the prettiest history compared to other teams in the NFL. Luckily for us, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the production of the players we draft in our fantasy leagues. When you think of the Lions, you think of outstanding quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Stafford has repeatedly been consistent throughout his career. Last year, in the eight games he played, before unfortunately injuring his back, Stafford put up five games over 20 fantasy points and threw at least one touchdown in all eight. In fantasy football, a consistent floor makes for a safe draft pick.

Stafford’s consistency is underrated. Last year, he was on pace for career bests in yards per attempt (8.6), touchdown percentage (6.5), and passer rating (106.0). In fact, he was leading the entire league in passing yards per game (312.4) before landing on injured reserve. That would have put him at 4,998.4 yards. For us dynasty competitors, this is a blessing in disguise. With the injury, he can be picked up at a bargain with an average draft position (ADP) of QB15 at pick 119.

From 2011-2017, Stafford ranked in the top 10 five times. Each of those years, Stafford threw well over 4,000 yards, including a 5,000 yard season in 2011. Despite having a down year in 2018, Stafford still managed to be ranked QB20, which would still be sufficient in a superflex league (superflex allows for a quarterback in a flex spot).

Stafford’s weapons are not something to look past. With the emergence of young wide receiver Kenny Golladay, WR DET, and established veteran Marvin Jones Jr., WR DET, Stafford can once again find himself having great fantasy success in a pass-happy offense. On top of a stud receiving corps, the second-year tight end, T.J. Hockenson proved last year, before getting injured with an ankle injury, he belongs in the NFL with 367 yards on 32 receptions, in 12 games. Alongside all of those dangerous weapons, the Lions drafted D’Andre Swift, RB DET, out of Georgia. Last year, at Georgia, Swift put up 216 yards receiving on 24 receptions, while adding 1,218 yards rushing.

Last year, Stafford helped Golladay achieve a breakout year. Even though Stafford didn’t finish the season, Golladay put up an incredible 1,190 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, despite poor play from backup quarterbacks in the back-half of the season. Now, with a healthy Stafford, the fourth-year wide receiver is out to prove to be one of the league’s best. If you’re in a league with unorthodox scoring, make sure to check for extra bonuses for wide receiver receptions and receiving first downs. Golladay caught 65 balls, 52 of which were first downs. Golladay has become a bit more expensive lately, and rightfully so. You can get Golladay towards the mid-end of the third round in superflex and back-end second round, top of the third in 1 quarterback leagues.

Stafford’s other big-name receiver is Marvin Jones Jr. had a great year with 779 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns on 62 receptions, despite the backup quarterbacks. With this kind of capability from his receivers, you can expect Stafford to contend for comeback player of the year. Look to grab Stafford in the middle of the draft, around the 8th-10th rounds in superflex, or in a one quarterback league, you can usually wait a little longer. Expect the Lions to bounce back with Stafford at the helm. My fearless forecast is Stafford goes off with 4,582 yards passing and 34 touchdowns.

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