Before 2019, Matthew Stafford appeared in every game for the Detroit Lions for eight consecutive seasons. In those seasons, Stafford averaged 4,465 yards and 27.5 TDs. The Lions finished 2nd, 1st, 5th, 10th, 5th, 10th, 10th, and 13th in pass attempts during that span. Stafford was playing some of his best football in 2019 under current OC Darrell Bevell, albeit in a partial season. Through eight games, Stafford was on pace to finish as the fantasy QB2 with 4,998 yards, 38 TDs, and 10 INTs.
In 2020, Stafford will be surrounded by perhaps the best supporting cast of his career with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones starting outside, T.J. Hockenson and Danny Amendola manning the middle of the field, and D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson in the backfield. Stafford’s TD rate of 6.5% from 2019 might return closer to his career average of 4.5%. But, given the disastrous state of the Lions defense, he should still rack up passing yards in negative game scripts. If Stafford can just perform up to his career averages, we’ll be looking at a low-end QB1 in 2020.
The Lions defense, which has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese, will also work in Stafford’s favor. The unit was a disaster in 2019, finishing 31st in YPG allowed and 25th in PPG allowed last season. Replacing star corner Darius Slay with Desmond Trufant and first-rounder Jeff Okudah will not be enough to fully turn things around in 2020, so we can expect plenty of negative game scripts to insulate Stafford’s passing floor.
In dynasty, Matt Stafford reminds me of Robert Woods: a consistent producer who is often overlooked due to age and a perceived low ceiling. He’s being drafted behind older QBs like Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers and sometimes even young, unproven passers such as Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, and Drew Lock. However, there’s a lot to like about Stafford’s long-term outlook.
When constructing a dynasty team, I like to plan three years ahead. Stafford is under contract with the Lions for the next three seasons, through 2022. While there is an out for the team after 2020, I expect Stafford to remain in Detroit following a strong season. Even if he were to be cut for some reason, he would have many suitors on the open market. At just 32 years old, I expect Stafford to play at a high level throughout that three-year window. So, I’m comfortable investing in him whether I’m pushing for a championship in 2020 or starting to rebuild.
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