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Matthew Stafford burns you for the last time


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/21/2014) When Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford disappointed with just 153 passing yards and one touchdown Week 15 against Minnesota, I was willing to make excuses for him. "The Vikings pass defense really isn't so bad," I said while penciling in Stafford for another 390 yards and two touchdowns Week 16 at Chicago. That's what he did against the Bears in Week 13, after all, and they entered Week 16 ranked 31st against the pass.

So of course, Stafford throws for 243 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

The performance could have been so, so, so much better. He threw one of those interceptions in the end zone and another just short of the end zone. But the fact is he completed those passes to Bears and not Lions, and so it was an awful performance despite a favorable matchup.

Stafford has been one of the most up-and-down quarterbacks in Fantasy this season, but the one thing he appeared to have going for him was that he played to the matchups. Remove predictability from the equation, and he's as frustratingly inconsistent as Cam Newton.

How can you trust him Week 17 at Green Bay? He threw two interceptions with no touchdown passes in his previous meeting with the Packers this year, so if you have a Mark Sanchez or even Newton type on the waiver wire, you might want to go that route instead.


Lions QB Stafford merely mediocre in defeat of Bears


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was held without a touchdown pass for the fourth time this season Sunday at Chicago, but the result was still another victory for his playoff-bound team.

Stafford finished 22 of 39 for 243 yards and his first two-interception performance since Oct. 19. The first pick was off a disastrous decision in the red zone and the second killed a promising opportunity as well.

He will try to play better in the regular season finale next Sunday at Green Bay.


Lions passing game goes missing again


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/15/2014) Though the Vikings hadn't been so great against the pass recently, allowing an average of 246.8 passing yards to the last four quarterbacks they faced, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford made sure their No. 6 ranking against the pass this year held up Week 15 in Detroit, failing to reach even the 185 yards he had against them back in Week 6. He finished with a season-low 153 yards on 17-of-28 passing, throwing for just one touchdown.

This after back-to-back games with 300-plus passing yards in which he threw for a combined five touchdowns. Not even the great Calvin Johnson, who was absent for the previous meeting with the Vikings, could redeem Stafford in this one. He had 53 yards after averaging 152.0 yards the previous two weeks.

Of course, the Lions faced the Bears and Buccaneers in those two weeks, or the league's 24th- and 30th-ranked pass defenses heading into Week 15. The Vikings are certainly better than them. Still, for as few yards as they had allowed through the air, the touchdown-to-interception ratio against them was nothing foreboding. It didn't seem like an unfavorable matchup.

But with Stafford, if the numbers say it's an unfavorable matchup, it's an unfavorable matchup. He's been the most predictable quarterback in Fantasy this season; we just keep making it harder than it needs to be. The good news is that in Week 16 he'll be facing those same Bears that he torched in Week 13, so you'll want to keep him active if you're still alive in Fantasy.


Lions' Matthew Stafford tosses one score Week 15


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/14/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford tossed one touchdown Week 15 against the Vikings.

Stafford completed 17 of 28 passes for 153 yards and a score during the contest. For the most part, Stafford had no issues with the Minnesota pass rush. He did not take any sacks or turn the ball over during the game. The Vikings defense did give him some problems, particularly with the big-play. Stafford averaged just 5.5 yards per completion, with his longest catch going for 23 yards. He had one rushing attempt, picking up 2 yards.

Stafford will look for more Week 16 against the Bears.


Matthew Stafford looks like a changed quarterback


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/7/2014) For the second straight week, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford took advantage of a favorable matchup, following up 390-yard performance Week 13 against Chicago with a three-touchdown performance Week 14 against Tampa Bay. It was his first game with three passing touchdowns all season and just his fourth with more than 300 passing yards. He finished with 311.

Some will credit the return of star wide receiver Calvin Johnson from an ankle injury for Stafford's turnaround, and certainly, that's played a part. He was responsible for 158 of Stafford's yards in Week 14 and 146 in Week 13. But he returned in Week 10. Stafford was only productive in one of his first three games back.

At least just as responsible for the turnaround is the matchups. Stafford faced the Cardinals and Patriots in Weeks 11 and 12, two teams with some star power in their secondaries, and they were two of his worst games of the season. The Bears and Buccaneers have allowed bunches of touchdowns through the air this season, and Stafford, with help from Johnson, has added to those numbers.

Of course, whether Johnson or the matchups are more responsible is mostly irrelevant. Johnson isn't going anywhere, and Stafford has two more favorable matchups against the Vikings and Bears the next two weeks. He's finally the quarterback you drafted him to be, so keep him active.


Another good one in store for Matthew Stafford?


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/4/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford seemed to hit the lowest of lows Week 12 at New England, his second straight game without a touchdown pass. At the time, he had yet to throw for three touchdowns in a game and had thrown for more than 300 yards just twice.

Well, he still has yet to throw for three touchdowns in a game, but after throwing for a season-high 390 yards Week 13 against Chicago, his prospects are suddenly looking up.

It wasn't the most unpredictable turnaround. The Patriots have a tough secondary while the Bears rank 30th against the pass. Stafford's Week 14 matchup against Tampa Bay comes closer to the latter than the former. Not only do the Buccaneers rank 21st against the pass, allowing 245.3 yards per game, but they've given up 22 touchdowns through the air, tied for seventh-most in the league.

Granted, at 2-10, they may not pose much of a challenge for the Lions, but after getting back in sync last week, Stafford and Calvin Johnson should be able to do some real damage against them before the Lions resort to running out the clock.

If you look back through Stafford's game log, he's been especially susceptible to matchups this season, so you can trust him for this one.


Last straw for Matthew Stafford?


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11/23/2014) Here's the thing: If you've been starting Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in Fantasy all this time, your season is probably just about over anyway. He's contributed multiple scores in only five of 11 games this season, and he just had his second straight with no scores at all Week 12 at New England. At a position where the minimum expectation is two scores in a standard 12-team league -- and some of the best are liable to have three or four -- that's a backbreaker.

Of course, Stafford himself has been one of the best of the best before. In 2011, he threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns. But that was three years ago. Any hope of a coaching change helping him recapture that form is long gone now.

To some degree, you could have seen his last two games coming given the matchups. The Patriots and Cardinals have two of the more opportunistic pass defenses in football. But interceptions weren't as much the problem for Stafford in those games as a lack of touchdown passes. Zero over a two-game stretch is unacceptable for a presumed top-12 quarterback, regardless of the competition.

But all that being said ... he's going against a Bears defense in Week 13 that has been absolutely dreadful against the pass, he has two of probably the NFL's best 25 wide receivers in Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, and he had his best three-game stretch of the season prior to these last two games. If you've stuck it out this long with him, might as well go down with the ship, right?


Lions' Matthew Stafford held to lowest completion percentage of career


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11/23/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford endured another lackluster performance on Sunday, completing a career-low 39.1 percent of his pass attempts in a 34-9 defeat to New England in Week 12.

Stafford was held out of the end zone for the second straight game and was picked off once by Logan Ryan late in the game. Stafford was unable to convert a 4th-and-10 play early in the fourth quarter, sliding feet-first for a gain of 9 yards to force a turnover on downs. Stafford compiled 264 yards through the air while completing 18 of 46 pass attempts. He was sacked twice, picked off once and finished with a 49.5 passer rating.

He'll look to bounce back on short rest against the Bears on Thanksgiving.


Matthew Stafford is fastest to 20,000 yards


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11/16/2014) With a 30-yard completion to Golden Tate in the second quarter Sunday, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford surpassed 20,000 passing yards for his career. He did it in his 71st game, faster than any other quarterback.

Dan Marino did it in 74 games, Kurt Warner in 76 and Peyton Manning in 78.


Lions' Stafford tosses game-winner in final seconds vs. Miami


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11/9/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford led his team to another come-from-behind drive to lead his team past the Dolphins in Week 10, 20-16, on Sunday.

Stafford didn't waste any time hooking up with his top receiver, connecting with Calvin Johnson for a 5-yard pass to a convert a third down on the opening drive, which led to a field goal. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Stafford hooked up with Calvin Johnson on a playaction for a 49-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He nearly found Johnson in the end zone again, but his pass was picked off by Brent Grimes late in the second quarter. 

He got back on track and led his team to an 11-play, 74-yard drive which was capped off by a game-winning touchdown pass to Theo Riddick. Down three points, Stafford scrambled out of the pocket and fired a sidearmed swing pass to Riddick at the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown with 29 seconds remaining in the game.

Stafford compiled 280 yards through the air while completing 25 of 40 pass attempts. He added two touchdowns and one interception, registering a 89.6 passer rating. He was sacked three times and finished with minus-1 yards on the ground. 

Stafford has 2,496 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. The Lions will travel to Phoenix to face the Cardinals in Week 11.


Megatron's return could overcome tough matchup for Stafford


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11/5/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford gets his best weapon back and a good test for his abilities in Week 10, with Calvin Johnson returning from an ankle injury in time for Sunday's game against the Dolphins.

Stafford has struggled at times this season, even when Johnson was healthy, but that was also just a three-game sample size. He had 33 Fantasy points in dismantling the Giants, and then fell on his face in a 3-point effort against the Packers. Still, the longer track record indicates Stafford can easily put up big numbers when he has Johnson available.

However, that will be tested against the Dolphins, who have been stingy against opposing passing attacks. The Dolphins have allowed just two quarterbacks to record 20-plus Fantasy points this season, and rank as the second-best defense at slowing down quarterbacks, allowing just 14.3 Fantasy points per game.

Stafford is still a high-upside option, especially with the development of Golden Tate's game. Even though the matchup makes him somewhat risky, he should be worth rolling the dice on in Week 10. 


Matthew Stafford shows signs of promise in comeback


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10/26/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn't been enjoying life without Calvin Johnson so far this season, and up until halftime Sunday, that trend looked like it was going to continue.

Stafford had just 2 Fantasy points at halftime in Week 8, as the Lions were being run off the field. However, he finally found his way in the second half, by leaning heavily on Golden Tate, his best receiver left. Stafford and Tate hooked up four times for 128 yards after the break, including a 59-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Stafford has usually found success in the past by leaning on Johnson heavily, so it is natural he might have trouble figuring out how to operate without him. Tate is no Johnson, but he has proven to be a pretty dependable No. 1 receiving option anyways, and someone Stafford needs to rely on moving forward, even when Johnson comes back. 

Sunday's game was a promising one for Stafford, since it is his first 20-plus Fantasy point effort since Week 4. With Johnson hopefully getting close to returning, this might be the perfect time to buy low on Stafford, who could be in line for a big second half after the team's Week 9 bye. 


Matthew Stafford leads Lions back from 21-point deficit in London


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/26/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford led his team back from a 21-point halftime deficit in a last-second Week 8 victory over the Falcons in London.

Stafford surpassed Bobby Layne's record for most touchdown passes in a career with a 59-yard touchdown strike to Golden Tate in the third quarter. He found Theo Riddick for a short 5-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. The Lions got the ball back with 1:38 remaining and Stafford led his team to an 11-play, 63-yard drive which led to a game-winning 48-yard field goal by Matt Prater as time expired.

Stafford compiled 325 yards through the air while completing 24 of 47 passes, registering a 78.8 passer rating. He added two touchdowns and one interception. Stafford cracked the 300-yard mark for the first time since the opening week.

The Lions are on a bye Week 9 before returning Week 10 at home against the Dolphins.


Matthew Stafford becoming a pain in the buns


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/14/2014) You drafted Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford expecting huge numbers, right?

Well, guess what? He's only the No. 12 quarterback in standard CBSSports.com leagues. Russell Wilson is one of the 11 ahead of him, and he has had his bye already.

The lack of touchdowns is most concerning for Stafford. He has had pretty good yardage so far, with Week 6 being the exception, but in four of his six games he has thrown for fewer than two scores. That's a surefire way to lose in Fantasy with all the pass-happy offenses in the league today.

Certainly, the loss of Calvin Johnson hasn't helped, but Stafford wasn't exactly lighting it up with his star wide receiver. And the latest reports have Johnson potentially sitting out until Week 10, so waiting around for him isn't the answer. The good news is the Lions face two of the league's worst pass defenses, New Orleans and Atlanta, over the next two weeks, so you can at least justify starting Stafford if you have to.

But the consistency just isn't going to be there for him. I'd be looking to add Joe Flacco or swing a deal for Cam Newton or Tony Romo if I owned Stafford.


Lions' Matthew Stafford tosses one Week 6


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/12/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford managed to toss one touchdown Week 6 against the Vikings.

Stafford finished 19 of 33, for 185 yards and a score. Stafford did not turn the ball over during the contest. Without Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, Stafford was limited to dump-offs. He averaged just 5.6 yards per completion. Theo Riddick seemed to be Stafford's favorite target early. Riddick had a 41 yard reception on the team's first drive, and capped it off with a 9 yard receiving score from Stafford. He was constantly under pressure during the start, and was sacked four times. Stafford also picked up 1 rushing yard on one attempt.

Stafford will take on the Saints Week 7.


Lions QB Matthew Stafford holding onto the football a little too long


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/9/2014) After being sacked 22 times in 2013, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked 17 times through the first five games in 2014. Stafford and coach Jim Caldwell have said the offensive line needs to do a better job protecting the quarterback, but it seems Stafford deserves some of the blame as well, according to MLive.com.

Stafford is holding onto the football longer this season than last. Stafford is waiting at least 2.6 seconds to throw the ball on 47.1 percent of his dropbacks, which is up 9.1 percent from last year, according to ProFootballFocus. He's taken 16 of his 17 sacks when he's held the football at least 2.6 seconds.

"You get sacked as many times as I got sacked, you can find ways to get the ball out quicker," Stafford said. "Find open guys and just make sure I'm taking as few hits as I possibly can. And that's something I'll continue to work on."

Caldwell said Stafford has been slow on some of his reads, but also added some plays are slow-developing by design in coordinator Joe Lombardi's scheme.

"There may be a few more of play-action passes that require holding the ball a little bit longer, to make certain that we get the proper depth of the route for the timing," Caldwell said. "Some of those things are there and in place. But it's a variety of things, I think, so we're crossing the entire gamut in that regard."


Matthew Stafford a risk worth taking vs. Vikings


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10/8/2014) The expected absence of Calvin Johnson makes Matthew Stafford a somewhat risky play in Week 6, but he is facing a pretty good matchup as the Lions get set to take on the Vikings.

Stafford has been predictably unreliable with Johnson limited over the last two games, scoring 29 points In Week 4 and then following that up with a 12-point showing in Week 5. The main difference in the two games was the opponent, as the Bills feature a tougher defense than the Jets, his last two opponents. The good news is, the Vikings aren't a particularly tough passing defense, having allowed 71 combined Fantasy points over the last three games.

Stafford is going to be tough to rely on as long as he is playing without the game's best receiver, but Golden Tate is still around as a pretty solid first option if he needs to be. Stafford certainly is not a must-start quarterback, as he has shown recently, but he is good enough o play against this matchup. 


Matthew Stafford risky without Calvin Johnson


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10/5/2014) With Calvin Johnson a nonfactor for the Lions, Matthew Stafford struggled to move the ball through the air in Week 5.

Stafford finished Sunday's game against the Bills with just 12 Fantasy points, the second time in four games he has fallen below 15 Fantasy points. And, though it might be easy to chalk it up to Stafford not having Johnson to throw to, Stafford looked perfectly fine last week, when he racked up 23 Fantasy points while Johnson was used as a decoy.

Stafford's value is not tied entirely to Johnson's availability -- he's still capable of being plenty productive without him. However, Johnson's limitations or potential absence certainly makes Stafford a higher-variance player, which makes him harder to rely on every week.

Keep an eye on Johnson's status, for Week 6, but tentatively pencil him into your starting lineup against a Vikings defense that has surrendered 71 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the last three games. 


Lions QB Matthew Stafford dealing with normal bumps and bruises


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford received treatment on his throwing arm and was seen limping after Sunday's game against the Jets. However, coach Jim Caldwell said Monday those injuries were nothing out of the ordinary, according to The Detroit News.

"He's OK," Caldwell said of the quarterback. "The game is a physical game, a lot of contact and, as you well know, collisions out there. So guys are going to sometimes come out of those games pretty sore from time to time. I doubt that there's anybody in this building that has played 65 plays like he played that doesn't come out of there with some issues."


Calvin Johnson not at 100 percent, limited to two grabs in Week 4


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/28/2014) Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson played intermittently in Week 4 against the Jets due to a sprained ankle.

Johnson, who nearly missed the entire week of practice because of the injury, was on and off the field, limited to snap count. He caught a short 6-yard pass in the second quarter for his first grab of the day. He caught another 6-yard pass on the opening drive of the third quarter for his last catch of the day. He was limited to two catches for 12 yards in a 24-17 victory.

After the game Matthew Stafford told ESPN Radio that the team took it easy on Johnson since he was not at 100 percent. It was the least amount of receiving yards he's recorded in a win. 

Johnson will try to get back on track in Week 5 at home against Buffalo.


Matthew Stafford scores three times in Week 4


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/28/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford scored three times and nearly cracked the 300-yard mark in a win over the Jets in Week 4.

Stafford hooked up with Jeremy Ross for a 59-yard touchdown and also found rookie tight end Eric Ebron for a 16-yard strike -- all in the second quarter. He scored a rushing touchdown with 1-yard out in the fourth quarter.

Stafford compiled 293 yards through the air while completing 24 of 34 passes. He added two touchdowns and no interceptions, registering a 116.4 passer rating. He was sacked four times and finished with 8 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

The Lions will host the Bills in Week 5.


Good test for Matthew Stafford in Week 4


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9/25/2014) So ... who's excited about starting Matthew Stafford this week?

Can't get all the way there, can you? He's been Fantasy Football's greatest enigma since his 5,000-yard, 40-touchdown season in 2011. Even this year, he started off with a bang before a couple of lackluster performances back-to-back.

Of course, those were against the Panthers and the Packers, who have fared well against the pass this season, regardless of the opponent, which is what makes his matchup Week 4 at the Jets so interesting.

These ain't your daddy's Jets. Darrelle Revis is long gone, and their secondary no longer dominates the way it used to. In terms of yardage, they rank ninth against the pass, but they've allowed seven touchdowns through the air without recording a single interception. They've also surrendered the fourth-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. The Packers' Aaron Rodgers had his one good game against them in Week 2, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns.

Yardage hasn't been the problem for Stafford this season. Touchdowns have. If he can't manage a couple in this game, then maybe you shouldn't be just lukewarm on starting him, but shy away from it altogether.


Matthew Stafford held without a score Week 3


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/21/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was held without a score Week 3 against the Packers.

Stafford completed 22 of 34 passes for 246 yards. He was held without a touchdown, but threw two interceptions. Stafford also had six rushes for 8 yards during the contest. The Packers DST turned in a pretty solid game. While Calvin Johnson still had a fair amount of yardage, they were able to take away the big play. Stafford also lost a fumble during the game.

Stafford will look for more Week 4 against the Jets. 


Matthew Stafford shows better judgment, technique


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/10/2014) It's only one game, but early returns were promising for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. After making bad decisions and displaying poor fundamentals late last season, Stafford did nearly everything right in Monday's win over the Giants.

"I do think Matthew did a tremendous job of making good decisions," coach Jim Caldwell told the Detroit Free Press. "I think you saw him spread the ball around quite a bit. I thought he did a nice job of not forcing the ball. He did take some check-downs that ended up being pretty sizable plays for us."

Stafford threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score without committing a turnover.


Matthew Stafford shines with three touchdowns in Week 1 win


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/8/2014) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford got off to a dream start, scoring three touchdowns Monday night against the Giants in Week 1.

Stafford scrambled and escaped the rush to keep the play alive before firing a 67-yard touchdown to Calvin Johnson, who was left all alone downfield on the opening drive of the game. Stafford found Johnson again, who made a leaping grab for a 16-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive. He showed his wheels in the third quarter, scoring from 5 yards out.

He compiled 346 yards through the air while completing 22 of 32 passes. He threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, finishing with a 125.3 passer rating. 212 of his 346 yards came in the first half. He also had four carries for two yards and a touchdown.

Stafford will travel to Carolina to face the Panthers in Week 2. He hasn't faced Carolina since 2011. He carved them up for 335 yards through the air, with five touchdowns and two interceptions.