This week we’ll be taking a look at Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has done well personally in his nine seasons with the Lions, including making some serious bank through monster contracts. Last season, Stafford finished as the ninth-best quarterback in standard scoring. His average draft position, as of right now, is 10.05.
My philosophy when it comes to taking quarterbacks in the draft is simple: do not take a quarterback until all the other skill positions are satisfied. In other words, wait until the later rounds of the draft to take your quarterback. Of course, this means no Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Drew Brees. Don’t get me wrong, these quarterbacks are elite and are some of the best of all time. However, they are not the only quarterbacks that will do well in a given week. There are plenty of quarterbacks to be taken later in the draft, or even picked up off waivers and streamed, that can do just as well for more of a value.
The point is that you can get an elite wide receiver or running back (who are each more valuable than quarterbacks) that will score you more points than most elite quarterbacks. In addition, unless you play in a two-quarterback league, you only need to start one quarterback, whereas you need to start four or five running backs or wide receivers each week.
I’ll hop off my soapbox. This week, as we examine Matthew Stafford, we will be looking to answer one question: is Matthew Stafford a good late-round quarterback?
The Case FOR
In each of his last seven seasons, Matthew Stafford has thrown for more than 4,000 yards. In 2011, Stafford threw for 5,038 yards, bested only by Tom Brady (5,325) and Drew Brees (5,476). Last season, Stafford only threw 10 interceptions, fewer than Dak Prescott (13), Joe Flacco (13), Kirk Cousins (13), Ben Roethlisberger (14), Marcus Mariota (15), and Cam Newton (16). Since 2013, Matthew Stafford has thrown less and less interceptions per season.
The Case AGAINST
While Matthew Stafford throws for loads and loads of yards each season, he struggles when it comes to throwing touchdowns, at least compared to today’s elite quarterbacks. In addition, Stafford doesn’t run the ball. It’s not a bad thing because he’s an above-average passer, but higher-round quarterbacks like Russell Wilson or Cam Newton offer hundreds of rushing yards and several rushing touchdowns, all traditionally worth more than passing yards and passing touchdowns. Stafford has 949 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns over nine seasons.
Matthew Stafford is the poster child for late-round quarterbacks. He’s consistent, as proved by his seven straights seasons with over 4,000 yards. He has gotten better with not turning the ball over. While he has not, and likely will not, return to the astronomical numbers he had in 2015, Stafford is worth more than a tenth-round pick. He may not throw as many touchdowns as higher-round quarterbacks, but you get those points back by using those higher-round picks on wide receivers and running backs whose touchdowns and yards are worth more.
All in all, the quarterback position is the most fluid one in fantasy football and Matthew Stafford is a great pick if you want consistency with certain matchups but also the ability to stream other quarterbacks.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.