What if I told you that there was a quarterback who had been a QB1 in four of the past five fantasy football seasons? … But is now going outside of the top 15 signal-callers in drafts? Would you be interested in that player? Of course you would. That player, in case you didn’t already know, is Matthew Stafford. After finishing as the QB9 last season, Stafford is going as the QB16 in 12-team, 2QB drafts and even later in 10-team drafts. Here’s why he is your easy 2QB value for 2016…
Jim Bob Cooter
Southern farmer contestant on “The Bachelorette” or intelligent NFL offensive coordinator? Last year’s results would speak to the latter. First, take a look at how his playcalling broke down.
We can see that JBC trended extremely pass-heavy, which is an obvious plus for Stafford. To give you an idea of how pass happy the Lions were, league-average pass percentage (pass attempts + sacks) was 59 percent in 2015, so the 62.3 percent mark Detroit had down the stretch is elite. Now let’s look at Stafford’s personal performance under Cooter, courtesy of the RotoViz Game Splits App.
Stafford’s performance came way up, despite a similar number of attempts and yards. So what was the key to his improved play? Put simply, he threw more touchdowns and fewer interceptions. Prior to Cooter taking over the offense, Stafford had a 1.33 touchdown to interception ratio. That number jumped to over 5 under Cooter, which is about what Tom Brady did last season.
Is this outstanding level of efficiency stable? Perhaps not, but it does show Stafford has potential for the best season of his career in 2016.
Volume > Calvin
One of the biggest arguments against Matthew Stafford this year, and the primary reason I suspect his ADP has fallen, is the loss of Calvin Johnson. However, Johnson’s yards per target has quietly regressed over the last four seasons. Take a look at how his 2015 season compares to new Lions wideout Marvin Jones.
Jones and Johnson were very comparable in terms of yards per target, and the newcomer is five years younger than the departed elite wide receiver. I don’t expect a ton of drop-off in what Jones can provide this offense. What will be important, however, is Detroit’s sustained volume of pass attempts.
When Stafford has attempted at least 35 passes in games, he has been one of fantasy’s elite quarterback options. Considering Stafford’s average of about 37 attempts per game under Cooter and the Lions’ high pass-to-run ratio, I think his volume is safe for 2016. That matters to me a lot more than the loss of Calvin Johnson.
Stafford has been a fairly consistent fantasy quarterback over the last five seasons, especially when he has been given the opportunity to attempt a lot of passes. The installment of Jim Bob Cooter seems to not only have stabilized Stafford’s volume, but also made him more efficient. That should help him to overcome the loss of Megatron and make him a QB1 in 2016. Now that his price has gone down tremendously, Matthew Stafford is a great value pick for 2QB and Superflex drafters.