Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Breakdown: The bye weeks are now beyond us. The regular season of fantasy football is almost two thirds done in many leagues. With these things in mind we realize that, minus the opportunity that may arise due to injury, the players with something to bring to the table this fantasy season are pretty much well known to all. Therefore our perspective must change a bit, leading us to look beyond just this season but to next season as well. Whether for keeper league purposes, trade purposes, or whatever other purposes may be pertinent, we’ll be taking a weekly look at players and situations that fantasy owners should be aware of in order to be on top of their game moving forward.
Matthew Stafford (DET) – I hadn’t intended on covering Stafford in this updated format for another week or two, but the combination of the annual Lion’s nationally televised game on Thanksgiving Day and his record setting performance this past Sunday made me think it was the best time to feature him.
There are a few indications that we’ve seen already that point towards a possible fantasy star in the making. First, he’s got the star wide receiver already in place, a big part of making any quarterback better. Second, while he’s made his share of rookie mistakes he’s also learned from them and not been overcome by them. Third, while he’s missed a couple of games due to injuries, he’s also proven that he’s tough and that it takes a lot to get him out of a game. This is an area that will bear watching over time, but there is no reason to believe that he’s close to earning the fragile moniker. One look at either of the two plays that have caused him to miss time tell you that these are plays that would knock out anyone, and that they are not ‘phantom’ plays. The guy is gritty, tough and a natural leader, all things that go in his favor for a long successful career.
His other plus is that he’s playing for Detroit. This is good for a couple of reasons. First, he’s going to have to throw a lot in the short term simply because the Lions secondary stinks and will keep opponents in games. However, as this improves and the team gets better – or so they hope – they will still be a very pass oriented team. They play in a dome, so always have at least half of their games indoors, always good for passers. After being spoiled by Flacco and Ryan’s unusually successful rookie years last season, fantasy owners have to check themselves when expecting better than normal performances from top rookies year in and year out. Stafford is right where he should be and should grow with the team and its budding young offensive stars like Johnson, Smith and Pettigrew. He is a great guy to grab now in dynasty leagues, as he’ll be moving into the top tier quarterbacks in another season or two.