Heading into the 2012 fantasy football season, there are a firm consensus with regards to the top five quarterbacks in our make pretend game. At the top of the list of course was Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, who was followed closely by New Orleans' Drew Brees. Spots three and four were where New England's Tom Brady and newcomer to the list, Detroit's Matthew Stafford resided. The latter no doubt earned his place in close proximity to those annual stalwarts when the former first overall pick of the 2009 draft threw for an insane 5,038 yards with 41 touchdowns and 16 picks. Making matters even more sweet for Stafford and his fantasy football owners was the fact he was able to stay healthy for the entire season for the first time in his career. So with all that goodwill in the bank, there was little hesitation in making him a second round pick this past summer, with expectations of a repeat of 2011 firmly anticipated.
Fast forward to the end of Monday night's desultory loss to the Chicago Bears by a score of 13-7 where the Lions scored their only points with 30 second left in the game which was already decided. That garbage time touchdown left Stafford with only 5 touchdowns and 6 interceptions and 1,754 yards for the 2-4 Lions. Stafford's stats have been downright ugly and shocking just the same since he has the same offensive coordinator, head coach, and surrounding cast with regards to his receivers, backs, and tight ends. If the season ended today, Stafford would be one to the biggest busts of fantasy football but luckily for his owners he still has a lot of time left to change for the better.
So what exactly is going on with Stafford as to why he is playing so poorly? Stafford looks nothing like the stud he was all of last season, with the interceptions being the chief concern. So far there has been no word on any sort of injury so we have to look past that notion. Also like I said earlier the same cast of characters are back on offense, including the best receiver in football by a mile in Calvin Johnson. The running game has actually been better as well with Mikel Leshoure contributing. Either way it has not been good and there is nothing on the surface to explain it. Really what we could be looking at is the fact that opposing defensive coordinators are double covering Johnson on almost every snap which has forced Stafford to look outside of his comfort zone. Sure Brandon Pettigrew, Titus Young, and Nate Burleson (until he was lost for the season with a busted leg) are decent weapons but none can hold a candle to Johnson. We really are left with trusting that Stafford can figure it out and make the adjustments which he hasn't done to this point. Really when it comes down to it, this falls under the heading of that Stafford is just too good a player to continue on this path. If you are hurting at QB, it wouldn't be the worst idea in the world to throw a trade offer to the panicky Stafford owner in your league. He still had a vast array of talent to throw to so the numbers should turn shortly. Go get him.