Matthew Stafford (QB)

07/11/2013 8:49 pm by in Player Spotlights, Quarterbacks

detroit lions

An NFL record 727 pass attempts, yet only 17 passing touchdowns. Seriously? Is this what we can expect again in 2013? As news broke this week of Matthew Stafford signing 3-year, $53 million contract extension, fantasy enthusiasts are wondering if the underachieving will begin now that the big contract is in place. I mean, this is what happens in the NFL–we are wondering the same thing with Victor Cruz now as well.

But I don’t think we really have another Philip Rivers on our hands here–you know, the guy that lead many to a fantasy football championship three years ago, then disappeared the last two. Stafford is a different breed. Luckily, (knock on wood) he has gotten over the early injuries that plagued him in his first few years. Now that he is playing all 16 games, it’s become a pass-heavy offense in Detroit. Of course it helps when you’ve also got the league’s best receiver in Calvin “Megatron” Johnson to throw to.

In 2011, we saw Stafford toss the pigskin 663 times, pass for over 5,000 yards, and throw for 41 touchdowns. This is what we came to expect last season, but that was clearly not the outcome. Despite throwing for that NFL record 727 pass attempts, he managed only 20 touchdowns, while falling just shy of another 5,000 yard season. The attempts are great, the yards are great, but owners need twice the TD’s, and this should be the year we get the “Old Matt” back.

This offseason the Lions signed RB Reggie Bush to add more of a spark to their running game, while WR Nate Burleson will be returning from a broken leg. Bush is said to be used as a receiver this year, supposedly getting 80+ catches. If this is true, we all know what he should be able to do with even more touches. The defense has improved some through free agency and the draft, but the Lions continue to give up points year in and year out, which is good when you are wanting your fantasy QB to have more opportunities to throw the ball.

In 2011, Matthew Stafford finished the season 4th among fantasy QB’s. Last year he found himself out of the top 10. This year will be more like 2011–maybe not at #4 again, but should land back in the top 5 to 7 range. Whether or not everyone argues the man’s throwing mechanics, or the Lions find themselves far below .500 again, he will be slinging it over 40 times per contest, which should result in far better numbers. Look for Stafford to get back to the 30.0 fantasy points per game as well. Detroit has the league’s 2nd toughest schedule this year. For your fantasy QB this is not a bad thing. Cam Newton has the league’s toughest, while Drew Brees has the 3rd hardest–don’t think there’s much worry of these other two underperforming. And in dynasty leagues, with an aging Manning, Brady, Brees, etc., Stafford is a good, young quarterback to build your team around.

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