The start of the season has been extremely frustrating for the Detroit Lions. Getting blown out in the prime-time home opener was embarrassing, but dropping a winnable West Coast matchup may sting even more. The issues are abundant, and a lot of the blame belongs on the quarterback.
As Matthew Stafford goes, so do the Lions. His Week 1 performance was one to quickly forget, and even a decent stat line in Week 2 masked some key mistakes and overthrows. Still, long-time Lions fans will recognize that the last two weeks of Stafford are not representative of who he truly is. The offensive line, running backs, and wide receivers are all improved over last season, giving no reason to suspect a decline in play.
Therefore, it seems far, far more likely that 2017 Stafford—who finished as QB7 on the season—shows up soon. His performance against the 49ers showed signs of hope, and a weak outing against the Jets might just have been a strange anomaly. Fire up Stafford in Week 3 as the Defenses & Dragons Player of the Week.
FantasyPros Ranking: QB10
FanDuel Pricing: QB13 ($7400)
Rankings have Stafford just at the end of starting quarterbacks, which seems like a consistent spot for him among the fantasy community. He has finished 24th and ninth during the first two weeks of the season, putting him at the 16th-overall quarterback. The expert rankings and DFS prices seem fair when considering his showing so far.
However, this is a quarterback who was a top-seven finisher last season going up against a New England Patriots defense that can be a great for opposing fantasy players. Eight out of 16 weeks last season, the Patriots allowed at least 20 fantasy points. Yes, that would be half of the quarterbacks to face them.
QB12, theoretically the lowest quarterback starter, scored 23.6 fantasy points in Week 1 (Alex Smith) and 21.8 fantasy points in Week 2 (Joe Flacco). Given Stafford’s 2017, New England’s 2017, and Stafford’s results last week, this total should be more than attainable. Furthermore, Blake Bortles put up 40.6 fantasy points against the Patriots last week, showing how vulnerable they truly are.
The Lions will not win this game. Their struggling defense will translate to tons of throws for Stafford, who accumulated 53 attempts last week. On volume alone he is a smart play, but the results should be there as well. QB12 is not a tough bar for him to hurdle, and he is a great bet to land within the top eight at the position.
Prediction: 30-for-45, 310 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception; 28.4 fantasy points