The 2021 offseason is shaping up to be an interesting one for the quarterback position. Nearly half the teams in the league could potentially be in the market for a new signal-caller, and there are a ton of options. Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and Jalen Hurts could potentially be traded, Dak Prescott is a free agent, and the 2021 draft class is loaded with quarterback talent, beyond just Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields.
According to Tom Pelissero, you can now add Matthew Stafford to that mix, as well. Stafford is looking for a fresh start, and the team is reportedly willing to accommodate him by facilitating a trade.
Matthew Stafford’s Career
Matthew Stafford was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the 1st overall pick in the 2009 draft. His first two seasons in the league were marred by injury, but, in 2011, Stafford exploded for 5,038 yards and 41 TDs, finishing as the QB5. From 2012 to 2018, Stafford didn’t miss a game. He surpassed 4,000 passing yards in six of seven seasons while averaging 25 TD passes per year. For fantasy purposes, Matthew Stafford was quite serviceable during that span with fantasy finishes of 10th, 7th, 15th, 9th, 7th, 7th, and 20th.
In 2019, Stafford was playing some of the best football of his career before his season was cut short by a back injury. He finished the year with just 2,499 yards, 19 TDs, and 5 INTs, but he was 4th in fantasy PPG. Stafford continued to struggle with injuries in 2020–though he didn’t miss any games–as well as the absence of star receiver Kenny Golladay, who appeared in just five games. Still, he was able to finish as the QB15 on the back of 4,084 passing yards and 26 TDs.
What Does This Mean for the Lions?
Matthew Stafford is a good quarterback, so his departure is bad news for players like D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson, at least in the short term. If the Lions can acquire someone like Watson or Prescott, or move up from the seventh overall pick to land one of the top rookie QBs, this could quickly turn into a positive for all fantasy assets involved. On the other hand, the Lions could just as easily stay put at seven and draft a second-tier prospect like Zack Wilson or Trey Lance. For now, the uncertainty will drive down the value of all Lions. If you believe in Swift or Hockenson, take advantage and buy-low.
As for Kenny Golladay, I’d expect him to sign elsewhere with a new head coach, general manager, and quarterback coming in. The 27-year-old WR will most likely look to join a more established roster rather than return to Detroit for a full rebuild.
What Does This Mean for Matthew Stafford?
This recent news is not bad for Matthew Stafford. His supporting cast in Detroit was average at best, and, looking at potential landing spots, it’s hard to picture him walking into a worse situation elsewhere.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and San Francisco 49ers are logical landing spots that would represent an immediate value boost for Stafford. Other teams that might pursue Stafford–such as the Washington Football Team, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, and New England Patriots–would offer, at worst, a lateral move in terms of offensive coaching and personnel.
If you roster Matthew Stafford in dynasty, this is not a time to panic. In fact, I would be looking to buy him where possible. We don’t know where he’ll be starting by the time Week 1 rolls around, but we do know that he will be starting. Despite the uncertainty of his situation, he possesses a level of job security that doesn’t exist for many QBs across the league.
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