Sunday, August 8, 2010

8/8 Sleeper of the Day: Matthew Stafford


What's this? A recommendation for a Detroit quarterback? No joke!

OK, so Stafford didn't exactly take the fantasy world by storm in Year 1, and nobody's confusing the kid with Bobby Layne yet. But there's a lot to like here in 2010.

For starters, let's begin with what's NOT here: No Daunte Culpepper to take away valuable snaps or practice reps from the developing Stafford, and no shoulder and knee injuries that hampered him throughout his rookie season. Stafford was forced to miss six games last year, and while his stats in the remaining 10 weren't all that pretty (13 TDs, 20 INTs), he'll have the benefit of being the team's unquestioned starter from the opening of camp and a having year under his belt.

Now, for the really exciting part. Not only does Stafford have Calvin Johnson, who's on the cusp of becoming the game's best receiver, as his main target, but the Lions have upgraded the rest of their offensive weapons. In the offseason they added WR Nate Burleson and TE Tony Scheffler and drafted explosive RB Jahvid Best and are starting to look like a professional football team. True, it could all be for naught if Detroit's offensive line does the same swiss cheese impression as last year and stunts Stafford's development. But that unit should improve, and so should Stafford. He's not ready to make the jump to No. 1 fantasy starter just yet, but I contend he'll make for a serviceable and underrated backup this year.

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