In fact, in the 11 years he has been in the league, Stafford has always been the Lions’ starter. Of course, not counting times when he was injured.
So he has had 11 years to make his mark in Detroit. Matthew Stafford has yet to win a playoff game with that opportunity.
Due to that, many believe he is overrated. That being said though, this has created a weird paradox. While many believe he is overrated, others now view him as underrated.
Because Matthew Stafford has not had that team success, many believe he is overlooked when talking about great quarterbacks. The lack of team success makes people forget it is a team sport and they don’t give the quarterback the proper credit he deserves for his individual numbers.
This plays an odd role in fantasy football. Matthew Stafford has the skills to be one of the best fantasy football quarterbacks in the entire league, but he tends to be on the board a little bit later because of how he is viewed.
With that in mind, what about 2020? Let’s take a look at Stafford’s past and present and try to figure out his fantasy football outlook for the upcoming season.
2019 Fantasy Stats
Matthew Stafford tends to be a great statistical quarterback. He has played in eight seasons where he has appeared in all 16 games. Of those eight, seven of them have seen Stafford throw for over 4,250 yards. That includes a 5,000 yard season.
However, 2018 was a major down-year for Matthew Stafford. It was the first time he did not manage 4,250 passing yards in a 16-game season. He threw for just 3,777 yards and 21 touchdowns (one off his low for a season where Stafford appeared in 16 games) and 11 interceptions.
Due to all of this, the expectations were much lower than usually for the Detroit quarterback coming in to 2019.
So what did he do? He went out and absolutely dominated. There’s just one issue though, he only dominated for the first half of the season – that’s when the year stopped for him.
A back injury forced Matthew Stafford to miss the second half of the season. Still, the numbers were strong.
In eight games, the quarterback managed 2,999 yards and 19 touchdowns – compared to five interceptions.
That put him on pace for 4,998 yards and 38 touchdowns (only 10 interceptions) if he had played in all 16 games. That would have been one of the best seasons by a quarterback in 2019.
It would have put him at number two on the passing yards list for the season, and he would have led the league in passing touchdowns. Truly, he was on pace for an incredible season.
Instead, Stafford’s year ended early. And the Lions (who were 3-4-1 with him) went 0-8 without him, finishing the year 3-12-1.
Now the expectations are low again. Although he was set to put up massive numbers, the injury was a serious step backwards.
Matthew Stafford is on a bad team and a few years removed from a dominant season that actually saw him play all 16 games.
It seems important to remind everyone just how good things were going for Matthew Stafford at the start of the season though.
Those eight games the quarterback played in were amazing. He threw for over 200 yards in each game – over 250 yards in six of them. Meanwhile, he had a touchdown in all but one of them.
Matthew Stafford had six multi-touchdown games. Five of those saw him throw at least three touchdown passes. Those type of numbers win you games.
The consistency was there. He rarely left you out to dry – and dominated the scoreboard more often than not. For those eight games, Stafford was one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league.
So what about 2020?
2020 Fantasy Projections
As I’ve already mentioned, Matthew Stafford does not have that high of expectations following him around anymore.
That should work perfectly for fantasy football owners, as it should mean he is available in the draft a little longer than he should be.
Stafford has nice talent around him too.
Kenny Golladay is a star at wide receiver. He’s one of the scariest deep threats in the league and could put up humongous numbers with Stafford healthy again.
Marvin Jones Jr. is another star receiver that can do it all on the field. And Danny Amendola is still a fantastic possession option.
Of course, T.J. Hockenson has now had a year to develop at tight end and could quickly become one of the biggest threats at his position.
And the running back spot gets a major boost from rookie D’Andre Swift. This could be the year that the Detroit offense is actually complete. And that spells big numbers for Matthew Stafford.
So how big are we talking?
I mean, even if he can just replicate what he was set to do last season before the injury, that would be incredible.
We’re actually going to go right around there too.
Matthew Stafford will manage 5,000 yards. Seriously, the Lions will probably run it a bit, but this is still a pass-first offense.
And that Golladay-Stafford connection should be absolutely lethal.
We’ll go with 5,100 yards and 34 touchdowns. Just a mammoth of a season. Stafford’s going to keep the interceptions relatively low as well, right around 10.
And most importantly, he’s going to be consistent. Very rarely will the quarterback go a game with under 250 yards. And even more rare will be Stafford not throwing a touchdown in a game. He will be a must-start every week.
The scariest part? You should be able to get him pretty late. Stafford could easily be your QB1 despite going much much later in the draft than a lot of other players at his position.
Rank At Position
Speaking of his position, where does Matthew Stafford rank among quarterbacks when it comes to fantasy football?
The thing with fantasy football is, team success does not matter. So there is no reason to talk about how the Lions don’t win much (especially not in the playoffs) with Matthew Stafford. How the team does has no barring on how good Stafford is as a fantasy quarterback.
And he’s going to be pretty damn good.
Stafford is not going to give you much in the running category. And his passing numbers will be great, but so will a few other quarterbacks – even if they don’t run much either.
With that in mind, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson all definitely need to be ahead of him.
You could make arguments for Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff and Matt Ryan as well.
For now though, not all of them go ahead of Matthew Stafford.
We’ll add Prescott and Rodgers. Then we’ll shuffle Stafford in there at number six. It may seem really high, but the passing numbers could easily be the best or second-best in the league. So unless you can really add a bit on the ground, it’s going to be hard to beat Stafford in fantasy.