Matthew Stafford was born in Tampa, Florida. After moving to Dallas Texas, he attended Highland Park High School, where he played both football and baseball. He reportedly threw a fastball nearly 90 miles per hour his sophomore season but soon gave up baseball to focus exclusively on football. During his senior year as quarterback for the Highland Park Scots, Stafford threw for 4,018 and 38 touchdowns in route to a 4A Division I State Championship. He was a five star recruit coming out of high school and committed to Georgia, where he became the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback as a true freshman.
Stafford’s development as a quarterback progressed linearly while at Georgia. His best season was his final season with the team as a true junior. He threw for 3,459 yards and 25 passing touchdowns that season, averaging nine yards per attempt. Stafford also posted an above average college QBR of 77.4 over his tenure at Georgia.
Following his junior season at Georgia, Stafford declared for the 2009 NFL Draft. At the NFL Combine he measured at a height of 6 feet 2 inches with 10-inch hands. He posted middling athletic scores: a 4.81 40-yard dash and a 11.53 Agility Score. Stafford was selected first overall in in 2009 by the Detroit Lions, who were coming off the first 0-16 season in NFL history. He was immediately installed as the team’s franchise quarterback, but struggled in his rookie season. He finished his first NFL season with a career worst 37.1QBR and a 61 passing rating. Stafford appeared poised to make the second-year leap in 2010, however a labrum tear ended his season after only three games. He returned from injury in 2011 to lead the league in passing attempts, throwing for 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns. The Detroit Lions recorded their first winning season since 2000 and Stafford won Comeback Player of the Year. He would go on to play 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions. Stafford’s best fantasy season was 2011, when he averaged 22.5 fantasy points and played in all 16 games.
Prior to the start of the 2021 season, the Lions traded Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff and multiple first round picks. Stafford went on the have one of the best seasons of his career, leading the Rams to a Super Bowl win. He tied career highs in that Super Bowl season, throwing for 41 touchdowns and 4,886 yards. He continued to flash his cannon-like arm, ranking inside the top ten among qualified quarterbacks in Deep Ball Attempts and Deep Ball Completion Percentage. Stafford also brings a cool veteran presence to the Rams’ passing attack. He posted a 53.8-percent pressured completion percentage (fourth among qualified quarterbacks in 2021).
Stafford has facilitated hyper-productive fantasy seasons for teammates Calvin Johnson and Cooper Kupp in the past. While he does not possess the rushing ability to come in at the top of the ranks for fantasy QBs, his success as a passer will likely keep him at the low end of QB1 territory.