Is Matthew Stafford the Best Fantasy Quarterback in the NFL?


"This is another post from Black&Teal fantasy expert, Adam McGill, from Fantasy Football Mastermindz. He is now an official member of B&T and will be putting up his own posts soon. Be sure to check out his website linked above and look forward to Adam’s articles every week here at Black&Teal!"

The biggest surprise through the first third of this NFL season has been the success of the predominantly mediocre Detroit Lions.  The team from the Motor City has started the year with five consecutive wins, and is now currently tied with Green Bay for first place in the prestigious NFC North division.  The main reason for the team’s newfound success has been the development of third-year quarterback, Matthew Stafford.

Stafford’s 13 touchdowns are third in the league, behind only Tom Brady’s and Aaron Rodgers’ 14, despite him looking like the fat kid with the cannon arm in gym class.  He ranks in the top five in nearly every passing category, silencing all critics for at least the first five games.  The only thing that sets him apart from the aforementioned Super Bowl winning quarterbacks is that Stafford has the best wideout in the league at his disposal on a weekly basis.

The fantasy quarterbacks that have been the most successful in the last couple of years all have had an All-Pro wide receiver to help move the chains.  Stafford has the most physically dominating player at the position in Calvin Johnson, and the duo has already connected for an NFL record 9 touchdowns in the year’s early goings.  It is always reassuring to know that a team has someone other than Nate Burleson to throw the ball to, and “Megatron” is absolutely impossible to cover one-on-one on the outside.  As long as CJ is running routes in D-town, and Stafford can remain healthy, then he will be good for an automatic 20 touchdowns.

The 2009 first overall draft pick has finally been able to limit his interceptions, with only 4 this season, and he learned that he does not always have to force the ball to Calvin Johnson; as the Pro Bowl wide receiver is often triple covered.  This stat is even more impressive considering that the franchise quarterback had thrown 21 picks and had 5 fumbles in the 13 previous games.

Unfortunately, the team has not beaten any real contenders this season; with wins over Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay.  The five teams have a combined 10-14 overall record in 2011, and only Tampa Bay has a record over .500 (3-2).  Additionally, Stafford ended up leading the team to two comeback victories in the first five games, which further proves that the undefeated Lions have not been as good as advertised.

The 23-year old has shown that he is not the injury prone quarterback that everyone once associated with the Lions, but he still has maturing to do.  He has overthrown a number of receivers already, and is not exactly known as the most mobile quarterback inside the pocket.  Stafford may be the front runner for the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year, but he still is not the number one signal caller in the fantasy universe.  Stafford owners will have to settle with a top five rating for now, but that number could always rise (or fall) in the next month or two.  Stafford was a great find this year, but I would rather take my chances with Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers on any given Sunday.

Adam McGill

Editor/Co-Founder, Fantasy Football Mastermindz