Sources broke the news Saturday evening that the Los Angeles Rams were packaging their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks, starting QB Jared Goff, and an additional third-round pick to acquire Lions QB Matthew Stafford. The consequences of this blockbuster deal will have lasting effects on both franchises for the foreseeable future. Let’s unfold all the layers to these outcomes and discuss the fantasy implications.
Value of the Trade
Superficially, it certainly seems like the Rams overpaid for what they feel is the final piece to a Superbowl win. Los Angeles had already traded away serious draft capital in recent years. They were willing to include what was believed to be their franchise guy in 2016 number one overall pick Jared Goff in the deal. While many analysts recognize that Head Coach Sean McVay is the true architect of the Rams’ offensive success, no one believed Goff was THAT bad.
It is important to note, though, that the Rams are also paying for Detroit to absorb Goff’s contract. Additionally, the division-rival San Francisco 49ers were the betting favorites to land Stafford this offseason, so the Rams may have been more comfortable overpaying to prevent Stafford from going there.
Detroit gets exactly what they desire as a franchise embracing a fresh rebuild. Acquiring two first-round picks, in addition to a still 26-year-old QB that they can evaluate for two more seasons (Goff’s contract has an out in 2023), as well as a third-round pick, is a massive return. Additionally, the Lions could choose to have Goff present to mentor a new rookie QB if they choose to go that route in the NFL Draft this April. Moreover, Detroit now possesses two first-round picks in both 2022 and 2023 to infuse top-tier talent into its roster.
Rams Outlook and Fantasy Situation
The Rams are essentially mortgaging their future for a couple more shots to win a Superbowl. As my esteemed colleague @fantasyfreezer had pointed out last week, if you can look past recent injuries, Stafford has always produced top-tier QB play and production. Three seasons from now Los Angeles will be struggling with both salary cap issues and a lack of draft capital, coupled with an old roster. But, the move energizes their fanbase and can potentially strengthen the morale of the team, boosting them to the Superbowl next season.
Stafford now enjoys the compliments of an elite defense, an established running game highlighted by Cam Akers, and a talented set of receivers in Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and company on the outside. However, I’m not convinced his fantasy value increases all that much. Stafford will no longer be playing from behind in every game and will now be running an offense that leans on its run game. Furthermore, in recent history, the Rams have often chosen to go run-heavy in the red zone, though that could have been due to Goff’s limitations.
All of the Rams’ skill position players get a boost to their value, as there is no denying Stafford is a significant upgrade from Goff. Los Angeles could benefit from the addition of one of the many speedy receivers available in free agency this offseason, as they would then be able to fully-utilize Stafford’s arm strength.
Lions Outlook and Fantasy Situation
Detroit looks to have made a great trade that plays perfectly into their team situation, as it appears they have given new GM Brad Holmes and new Head Coach Dan Campbell both the time and tools they will need to craft their version of a contender. I hate this deal for Goff’s dynasty value, as he may have a season or less to prove his worth.
The perception of a deal like this alone has hurt his value. Goff could find himself out of a starting job if he does not play well in 2021, which will now be more difficult with a less talented roster. However, it is important to note that new GM Brad Holmes spent the last 18 with the Rams organization, and was a strong player in bringing Goff to LA in 2016.
Theoretically, you would think downgrading at the QB position would be bad for the fantasy assets linked to the change. However, under the present circumstances, Detroit will be a team that should continue playing from behind most games in 2021. Jared Goff also likes to throw short and utilize his TEs and RBs in the passing game. I feel the fantasy values of D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson both hold stable.
Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones will most likely depart in free agency. Detroit will undoubtedly draft some new receivers to join 2020 fifth-round pick Quintez Cephus. These young WRs will have their growing pains, so you can expect healthy target shares for both Swift and Hockenson.
What Happens Next on the Carousel?
The first dominoes in the 2021 offseason QB carousel have fallen. We will greatly anticipate more deals soon, potentially involving the likes of Deshaun Watson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Carson Wentz, or someone not even on the radar of recent trade rumors. Although this deal might have just increased the asking prices for any teams involved!
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