Week Seventeen Analysis: While the Bears are playing for playoff hope and the Lions were eliminated before election day, Matthew Stafford and more specifically Calvin Johnson have something to play for. Johnson set the NFL receiving yards record last week, and he and Stafford could pad his margin this week. Finally, Stafford is only 307 yards shy of his second 5,000-yard season. In the first meeting with the Bears, Stafford tallied 263 yards and one touchdown, but that was against a healthy defense. This one will be missing Brian Urlacher and has given up over 290 yards in two of the last four games, thanks in part to Tim Jennings' injury. Jennings is back, and which muddies the waters for Stafford.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Last week in Arizona was the worst performance in Matthew Stafford's life. He completed less than half of his throws, yet managed to complete three passes to the Arizona defense. The only other game in his career where Stafford had thrown no touchdowns and three picks was the first game of his career. Needless to say, I'm not much more excited about his prospects on Saturday night against the Falcons. Because it's a Saturday game and Atlanta needs a win to secure home field advantage, they will be going all out. That's not good for Stafford, since in the last five weeks the Falcons have allowed only two touchdown passes and have intercepted seven balls. And it's not like they were playing patsies over that time, the Falcons faced Eli, Brees, Cam and Freeman in the last four games.
Week Sixteen Drop: Stafford is coming off an embarrassing 246 yards and three picks in Arizona last week, which was by far his worst output of the year. But more relevantly, it's championship week, and he's facing the Falcons on Saturday night, in front of a national audience, as Atlanta tries to secure home field advantage. The Falcons just decimated Eli Manning and the Giants last week. And they've yielded only two touchdown passes in the last five weeks, despite playing solid quarterbacks like Manning, Drew Brees and Josh Freeman in those three weeks. If your championship game is this week, you'll want to look elsewhere.
Week Fifteen Analysis: In slick and hostile conditions last week in Lambeau, Matthew Stafford fared pretty well, although a lack of downfield choices besides Calvin Johnson is becoming more apparent by the minute. That didn't stop Stafford for throwing more than 45 passes for the third straight week. Johnson racked up 118 of Stafford's 264 yards, so it's pretty transparent that their fantasy value is tightly tethered together. It might not surprise you that almost 39 percent of Stafford's passing yards have gone to Megatron. The duo will have their work cut out for them when they face the Cardinals this week. Even with last week's blowout loss, Arizona has allowed only three quarterbacks to top 235 yards this season and have only allowed four passing scores in the last four weeks.
Week Fourteen Analysis: In case you hadn't noticed, it's Matthew Stafford that leads the NFL in passing yards. He's averaging about 312 yards per game, which puts him on pace for slightly below another 5,000 yard season. You know what you're going to get with Stafford: weird mechanics, an imperfect side-armed delivery and a ton of passes. Stafford has thrown 39 or more passes in 12 of his last 14 games, which included his last trip to Green Bay. You remember that game don't you? In Stafford's last trip to Lambeau, he threw for 520 yards and five touchdowns. These Packers have given up a touchdown pass in each of their last six games and allowed five of those last six quarterbacks to throw for 249 or more yards.
Week Thirteen Analysis: In the last five weeks, no player has had more passing attempts than Matthew Stafford as he's been trying to will the Lions back into playoff contention. The results of his increased efforts are a 329-yard, three touchdown performance against the Vikings and a 441-yard and two touchdown game on Thanksgiving versus the Texans. A matchup with Indy looks good on paper as the Colts have allowed multiple touchdown passes to all three of the other NFC North quarterbacks this season and have allowed a passing touchdown in every game this year. You hardly need to fear a Stafford turnover either as the Colts have only picked off five balls this season, the lowest mark in the NFL.
Week Twelve Analysis: Matthew Stafford has now thrown for at least 260 yards in eight straight contests, but has been held to one or zero touchdown passes in eight of ten games. The yardage has never been a question in Detroit, as the Lions quarterbacks have combined to throw the third-most completed passes of 20 or more yards. The question is, can they score against a good Texans defense? If Chad Henne can do it, anyone can. The Texans secondary has a bit of Jekyll and Hyde to them. Aside from two letdowns against Henne and Aaron Rodgers, Houston's pass defense has been elite, allowing less than one touchdown pass per game. If this game plays to form, Stafford will find yards more easily than touchdowns.
Week Eleven Analysis: Prior to the bye, the banged-up Green Bay secondary gave up 300 yards to Blaine Gabbert (his career high), and John Skelton (his season high). And, Stafford, obviously much better than both those guys, has been a reliable fantasy producer for a month. He just posted 330 and 3 last week, and has topped 310 yards in four of the last six. It doesn't hurt that Calvin Johnson has posted more career yards and touchdowns against Green Bay than any other team.
Week Ten Analysis: When Matthew Stafford faced the Vikings in Week Four, he didn't manage a single touchdown pass. But, since then, the Vikings secondary has regressed, thanks in large measure to the loss of cornerback Chris Cook. Since his injury, Josh Freeman and Russell Wilson, two middle-tier quarterbacks, have both thrown three touchdowns passes. So, multiple touchdowns for Stafford seem likely, even if he was held scoreless last week as the Lions trounced the Jaguars. Stafford has topped 260 yards in six straight games, a span that featured much tougher secondaries like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Seattle. So his yardage numbers should be high as well.
Week Nine Analysis: Last Sunday, Matthew Stafford entered week eight with five touchdown passes. He scored four times in that game, nearly equaling his full season totals. And oddly, one of the four was a rushing touchdown, which means he's scored on the ground in three of the past four games, something I've got to believe is an aberration. It looks like the turnaround is legit. Stafford has topped 300 passing yards in three of the past four games. The Jacksonville pass defense is just okay, but they've allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in five straight games, and I expect that trend to continue here.
Week Six Analysis: In five games, the Eagles secondary has shined in four of them. Eli Manning aside, they're allowing just 194 yards and zero point seven five touchdown passes per game, and that includes games against rock solid starters Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger. That's great. And Matthew Stafford has been a borderline disaster with just three passing touchdowns in four games. Heck, he has three passing touchdowns in eight different games last year. Calvin Johnson will matchup with Nnamdi Asomugha, a fair amount, but definitely not every play, as Johnson plays both sides of the field, and the slot. It's another tricky matchup for Stafford, who has lost the benefit of the doubt.
Week Four Analysis: We're not sure if Matthew Stafford is going to be available this week, or if he'll be resting his hamstring injury. But, if he starts the game (and hopefully finishes it), it'll be a nice opportunity for his fantasy owners. In his two meetings with Minnesota last year, Stafford threw for over 600 yards and multiple scores in both games. He didn't finish last week's game, which is too bad, because his stats could have used Shaun Hill's production. Instead, he's thrown just one touchdown in each of his three games this year. He only had three one-touchdown games all of last year. The Vikings have faced three middle-to-low end quarterbacks this year, and held them all to modest production. A healthy Stafford is on a whole different level.
Week Three Analysis: Tennessee has faced some tough quarterbacking so far, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. So it comes as no surprise that they haven't looked great. The rebuilt Titans secondary allowed multiple touchdowns to both, with all five touchdowns going to tight ends. Matthew Stafford is in ballpark of Brady and Rivers, and he's got a couple good tight ends, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. And Calvin Johnson. So, it looks like a lock for a very good, and maybe even great, game from Stafford.
Week Two Analysis: Check out the last four quarterbacks the 49ers have faced since the end of last year's regular season: Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and now, Matthew Stafford. Yipes! When I looked to see their next opponent, after this week, I have expected to see Tom Brady on the docket instead of Christian Ponder. How have the Niners fared against these top-flight quarterbacks? Not well. They've allowed an average of 360 (!) yards, and 2.7 touchdowns. As great as the Niners defense is, their secondary is their weak point, for sure. Stafford is next up, coming off a very inconsistent game last week. But, I'm willing to give him an opening day pass in light of the many weapons he's got, and the fact that, in the end, he still threw for 355 yards last week.
Week One Analysis: The Rams secondary received a sizable facelift in the offseason. Both starting cornerbacks are new. They drafted Janoris Jenkins, and they signed Cortland Finnegan from Tennessee in a big free agent deal. It's unclear if they'll be ready to gel as quickly as week 1. Tony Romo threw through the Rams secondary in week three of the preseason, a good omen for Matthew Stafford this week. The safety position didn't get the same attention. Quintin Mikell returns, and he's good. But the free safety position is dicey with the wobbly Craig Dahl returning from last year. By virtue of playing in the NFC West, the Rams aren't accustomed to seeing quality quarterbacking, and when they did, they almost always gave up multiple touchdowns last year. I expect the same for Stafford this week.
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