If you said Super Bowl winning Mahomes, you were way off as he
averaged a mere 24.2 FPts/G, the lowest of the four options. Those
of you who picked Watson were also wrong as he produced 25.3 points.
And one final wrong answer is Prescott who averaged 25.7 points.
The correct answer is Stafford who averaged 25.9 FPts/G!
Yet the most recent Fantasyfootballcalculator mock drafts show
Stafford as the 13th quarterback off the board with an ADP of
109, a tenth-round selection.
Apparently, “out of sight, out of mind.”
Although his Lions owned a sub .500 record (3-4-1) before a back
injury knocked Stafford out for the season, he produced 2,499
yards and 19 touchdowns in eight games. If you extrapolate Stafford’s
work for a 16-game season, he would have finished with 4,998 passing
yards, 38 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. He was sixth in
quarterback rating (106.0), fourth in TD% (6.5) and fourth in
net yards per attempt (7.64).
You may be saying to yourself … yes but it was just one
fluke season after three consecutive seasons of averaging less
than 22 FPts/G. Or that he hasn’t been the same since Calvin
Johnson retired which was not coincidently the last year Stafford
cracked the 22 PPG mark.
Perhaps that’s why he’s undervalued for 2020.
But I believe that with all the weapons now surrounding Stafford,
this could be the “new normal.” Let’s look at
the tools Detroit management has brought in.
Last season they selected tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first
round. He caught 22 of his 32 balls from Stafford in the first
eight games. The Lions signed steady possession-type receiver
Danny Amendola away from Miami. He caught 31-of-44 targets for
376 yards and one score while playing with Stafford.
This April, Matt Patricia and company added running back D’Andre
Swift. Besides being a great one-cut runner and the Sports
Info Solutions’ highest-ranked rookie running back (6.8), they
rated his catching skill equal to that of Clyde
Edwards-Helaire (6) and a better pass blocker (5).
Meanwhile, Kenny Golladay has blown up, more than doubling his
touchdown total in 2019 (11) while producing a career-high 1,190
yards, his second consecutive season over a 1,000 yards. Add veteran
Marvin Jones who continues to produce when healthy, putting up
779 yards and nine touchdowns in just 13 games. That’s a
lot of talent for Stafford.
The chart below shows the receiving corps’ numbers could
have been a lot better had Stafford played the entire season instead
of David Blough (0-5) and Jeff Driskel (0-3).
The quintet of Golladay, Jones, Amendola, Hockenson and Swift
is as talented as the 2011 group of Johnson, Burleson, Titus Young,
Brandon Pettigrew and Jahvid Best when Stafford produced a career-best
If you are worried about the back injury, please note that from
2011-2018, Stafford made every start. He’s a gamer. In April,
Lions GM Bob Quinn noted that Stafford had been medically cleared
and a “full go.” If Quinn had been worried, he likely
would have drafted a quarterback or signed a higher-quality backup
than Chase “I’m-more-of-a-coach-than-a-player”
Daniels or winless Blough.’’
Meanwhile, new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell showed he
wasn’t afraid to throw the ball. In the first eight games
of last year Stafford threw 291 passes and running backs rushed
187 times. That’s a 60.9% passing rate.
The only factor working against Stafford is the NFC North division.
The six division games are the toughest on the Lions schedule
for opposing passers. If he can figure out Chicago (No. 4) and
Green Bay (No. 6) and repeat last season against No.10 Minnesota
(he put up 34.2 fantasy points against the Vikings in his only
2019 meeting), in the remaining 10 games the defenses allowed
an average of 23.13 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last
While I’m not saying Stafford will outscore Mahomes in
2020, I think a viable draft day strategy could be to not use
a high pick on Mahomes (ADP 15.3) or Lamar Jackson (21.9). Instead,
choose a star like Aaron Jones, Chris Godwin or Travis Kelce in
the second round and still get quality play from your quarterback
by selecting Stafford with a 10th-round selection.