Is Matthew Stafford's Fantasy value permanently grounded? With Calvin Johnson opting for retirement, Stafford is left throwing to Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and tight end Eric Ebron. Not the same as throwing to Megatron, who accounted for more than a third of his 165 career touchdowns. Johnson also helped Stafford notch nine games with 20-plus Fantasy points last season, a number many believe Stafford won't reach as the Lions re-tool their receiving corps. The Lions have a pretty good schedule, but with so many other quarterbacks offering so much potential, Fantasy owners won't want to risk much on Stafford. He might get drafted as a backup Fantasy quarterback in a standard league, but in a two-quarterback format he'll be a pretty good mid-round option.
Stafford got some help in the 2016 NFL Draft, with Detroit selecting three offensive linemen in the first five rounds, ESPN.com reports. Addressing an obvious weakness from 2015, the Lions drafted OT Taylor Decker in the first round, center Graham Glasgow in the third and guard/tackle Joe Dahl in the fifth. Stafford won't have Calvin Johnson around to bail him out, yet it's still quite possible the Detroit offense will be improved from 2015. Stafford played much better last season after Jim Bob Cooter replaced Joe Lombardi as the offensive coordinator, making it an easy decision to stick with Cooter for 2016. Furthermore, the Lions signed WR Marvin Jones to a five-year, $40 million contract, and there's hope that 23-year-old TE Eric Ebron will take a big step forward in his third NFL season.
Stafford ended the season having completed 398 of 592 passes for 4,262 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Stafford's 67.2 completion percentage shattered his previous career high by nearly four percentage points and he narrowly missed setting a new career high in passer rating, an impressive feat given how the season started. During the first eight weeks of the season, Stafford had completed a respectable 64.5 percent of his passes and 260 yards per game, but with a rough 13-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio. After the Lions' Week 9 bye, Stafford improved slightly with a 70 percent completion percentage and 272 yards per game, but his touchdown-interception ration really shined, jumping to 19-2. The primary difference between the two halves was who was calling plays, as Joe Lombardi was fired shortly before the bye and replaced by quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter. An offseason to further adjust the offense should be great for Stafford, but Detroit has a lot of questions this offseason, ranging from whether head coach Jim Caldwell will be back to the possible retirement of Calvin Johnson.
Stafford connected on 28 of 39 of his attempts for 298 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's win over Chicago. He added 10 yards on the ground. Less than two months ago, the Lions were heading into their bye with a 1-7 record and the future of Stafford was in doubt. The Lions finished the season's second half with a 6-2 record and a three-game winning streak and Stafford looks like he's back on track. During the season's final eight games, Stafford completed just shy of 70 percent of his passes and boasted a 19-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He averaged 272 yards per game during the span. Given Calvin Johnson's enormous contract, change may be coming one way or the other in Detroit, but if head coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter are able permitted to stay, Stafford may be in line for a big 2016.
Stafford completed 29 of 37 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's win over the 49ers. He added 11 yards on the ground on five carries. Before the beginning of the season, the talk in Detroit was that fans were about to see the next step in Stafford's development as a more composed, efficient passer. It took the firing of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, but Lions fans and fantasy owners are beginning to see what was being hyped. Since the bye week, Stafford has tossed 16 touchdown passes and just two picks in seven games. Stafford will close the season against the Chicago Bears, a team that is ninth worst in oppsing quarterback rating this season.
Stafford completed 22-of-25 passes for 254 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Monday night's win over the Saints. Stafford was nothing short of brilliant Monday night, throwing for as many touchdowns as incompletions. In fact, Stafford totaled three touchdown passes by halftime, taking advantage of a dreadful Saints defense while continuing his strong close to this season. To that point, Stafford has thrown for 12 touchdowns and just one interception over the Lions' last four games, putting him in excellent form ahead of Sunday's home game against the 49ers.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/25||@Green Bay Packers||15||19.78|
|6||10/16||Los Angeles Rams||10||18.56|
|13||12/04||@New Orleans Saints||33||29.31|
|15||12/18||@New York Giants||31||24.56|
|17||01/01||Green Bay Packers||15||19.78|
|3 Year Avg||61.9||4390||28||15||107||2||352|