by Brad Holda
With so many things to write about, it’s hard to find something that an accomplished writer has yet to take on. However, as friends have read articles I have wrote in the last couple weeks or so, my friend John asked me the proverbial “elephant in the room” question that has been looming in Detroit for the past year or so: Does Matthew Stafford possess the skill set to be our quarterback, or is he, for that matter, deserving of being dubbed the Lion’s franchise quarterback? As I see, and many others alike, he has been tagged the franchise quarterback in a manner seemingly titular, as his on field performance does not necessarily denote he is deserving of the adulation that a franchise quarterback is regarded with and/or receives.
As per Stafford NFL statistics go, he has formidably sealed a spot for himself in the village of mediocrity, where quarterbacks go to atrophy and be dealt demotions. This will be a telling year for the future of Matthew Stafford as every excuse afforded him has come to an end. With all the offensive weapons a quarterback could dream of, and a beefed up offensive line with some seriously athletic weapons at running back, he needs to be a game manager with the ability to pass in the pocket with poise and accuracy. As for this season, the draft picks and the strategy has all been formed around having him pass less and opening up the run game. He has potentially one more season, to prove he is worthy of being the Lions’ “franchise quarterback.”
As a Lion’s fan and being their beat writer, I have to stick with my formal training, being objective at every turn, as being biased would offer readers unsubstantiated claims that would give them misinformation. That dishonesty makes for bad draft picks when it comes to your favorite time of year; Fantasy football time, and just plain old watching football. I would have to say, I am not sure one way or the other how this year will pan out. From watching previous seasons, it seems that Stafford is hit or miss. He has had expanses of greatness that have given me and others great hope, but he has also choked big time, noting the performance he had against Green Bay last year to win the division for an example.
Looking at Stafford from a fantasy football point of view, I suspect he is well deserving of a number 2 quarterback spot on your fantasy team. In an offense that passes upwards of 30 times a game, Stafford is likely to net you at least 20 points in a game against weak defenses, even in standard scoring leagues. Going back to last year, evaluating his performances, at least half of his games he netted 18 points plus as a starting quarterback. With a healthy Calvin Johnson, and a sneaky good Golden Tate, you can always expect a minimum of 1-2 touchdowns, with 250 plus yards passing. I will probably play in around 8 leagues this year and will start Stafford in about 2, as his upside and potential are greater than his quintessential mediocre statistics year in and year out have proven. To reiterate my thesis statement, this is Stafford’s year to shine or go down in flames.