Despite the Detroit Lions sad finish for the 2012 season with a 4-12 record, Quarterback Matthew Stafford still managed to shine, for the most part, closing 2012 with fairly respectable statistics, finishing in 11th place among his fellow quarterbacks.
| Passing Yards || TD's || INT || QB Rank || PPG |
| 4,967 || 20 || 11 || 11th || 17.22 |
Stafford’s passing abilities are exceptional, as he nearly triumphed the 5,000 yard mark last year, which was second place behind Drew Brees in passing yards. What brought down his overall ranking was his lack of passing touchdowns and above-average interceptions, which separated him last year from the “elite” class of top-five quarterbacks. If you drafted Stafford last year for your fantasy team, you were probably frustrated at times with his performances considering you picked him based on how well he played in 2011, when he was the fifth-ranked quarterback.
We should anticipate some improvement from Stafford in 2013. He recently inked a three-year contract extension that gives him $53 million reasons to increase his level of productivity this year. Now that he could literally buy every $1 home in Detroit, look for Stafford, who has had all of this off-season time to study footage of where he fell short last year, to rebound with more accuracy in 2013.
Besides the monetary incentive, Stafford, who possesses super-human arm strength, as he can effortlessly throw a football all day long, should likely come near or perhaps surpass the 5,000 yard mark, as he proved capable of in 2011. However, because of all his passing efforts, he is bound to encounter interceptions; hopefully less than the 17 he had last year.
What drastically needs to change for Stafford to advance his quarterback ranking in 2013, is his number of passing touchdowns. He only completed 20 touchdowns last year compared to his 41 in 2011, so this is the area where Stafford must make dramatic improvement.
Fortunately for Stafford, he is armed with the number one wide receiver currently in the NFL, Calvin Johnson. Johnson’s fans call him “Megatron” and when Stafford connects with the amazing Megatron, they make one of the most dynamic quarterback to wide receiver combinations existent in the NFL today. Stafford isn’t going to stop throwing anytime soon and Johnson will remain his favorite target. Ultimately, fantasy owners need to see more of those targets result in touchdowns to enhance Stafford’s true fantasy value.
Running Back Reggie Bush, now with the Lions, will be a nice compliment to Stafford as well, when it comes to the short passing game. Bush and other Lions’ receivers and running backs should be able to provide adequate recipient coverage to Stafford when defenses are focused on stopping Johnson.
If Stafford can keep his interceptions under control, and get those footballs into the end zone to score more touchdowns, there should be no reason we could not expect to see him rank in the top seven quarterbacks in fantasy points for 2013. He is worthy of a 6th round draft pick and has the potential to once again become a solid QB1 as the season progresses.
Projected 2013 Statistics: 4930 Passing Yards, 32 Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions