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NFL Draft 2009 Review: QB Matt Stafford

Unsurprisingly, the Detroit Lions selected Georgia QB Matt Stafford with the first pick of the NFL Draft.  Hooray!

So, is Matt Stafford going to be the next Matt Ryan?   He's the best, right?  He's awesome, right? Should you draft him in your fantasy league this summer?

No, no, and yes.

Wait, what was that last part?  Yes?  Yes, you should draft him?!

Yes, assuming the Lions actually start him every game.  The Lions made some strides with their offense in this draft.  RB Kevin Smith had a solid rookie season on a terrible team and he should be a 1000 yd back this year.  Drafting TE Brandon Pettigrew (Round 1) was a great move and WR Derrick Williams (Round 3) has insane speed.  They join WRs Calvin Johnson, Bryant Johnson and Ronald Curry in a semi-decent WR receiving corps.  No, they're not going to win the NFC North but they're not the worst in the league either.   Really.  They're going to catch some passes this year.

There is real fantasy value in knowing that Stafford will start every game (assuming we know that).  We still don't know who will start at QB in San Francisco or Cleveland.  We think we know who's starting in Oakland, but that might not last.  Those situations are arguably worse than Detroit's right now.  If the Lions make a solid commitment to start Stafford (for better or for worse) then he should be a usable QB3 in most leagues -- or even a QB2 in very large leagues (those with 14+ teams).

The Lions will be bad this year, but not terrible.  Not 0-16 bad.   Stafford is a fantasy backup, but a fantasy backup can have value if he's out there every week.