Matthew Stafford Injury: Fantasy Insurance Options for Banged-Up Lions QB

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 23:   Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings against the San Francisco 49ers at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 23, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have kept the status of Matthew Stafford close to the vest, putting fantasy owners in a tough spot heading into Week 4. They must be prepared just in case it turns out the star quarterback isn't able to suit up on Sunday.

Let's take a look at three quarterbacks that are widely available in fantasy leagues that would be serviceable short-term replacements for Stafford. They are worth adding right away to ensure owners are ready regardless of what happens over the next few days.

Jake Locker

The Tennessee Titans drafted Locker with the eighth overall pick last year, and in eight career games, he has a quarterback rating of nearly 95. Yet, his name is never mentioned when people are talking about the NFL's best young QBs.

That lack of hype carries over to the fantasy world as well. Through three weeks, he's averaging 15 fantasy points per game, which is more than Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers and Stafford. It's getting hard to ignore those types of numbers.

He faces a Houston Texans defense that finally faced a good quarterback in Week 3 after two easy matchups and allowed 21 fantasy points. Locker should score around his average.

Christian Ponder

Another first-round pick from last year, Ponder has made huge strides in his second season leading the Minnesota Vikings offense. No performance was more impressive than throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions against the elite San Francisco 49ers defense.

Ponder has now scored 39 fantasy points over the last two weeks after a lackluster Week 1. And after facing the 49ers defense, finding holes in a Detroit secondary that ranks 20th in passing yards allowed should seem easy.

Having so much success against San Francisco turned a lot of heads, so Ponder will likely be a popular pickup this week. Owners will have to act quickly if they want him as insurance for Stafford.

Matt Cassel

Even though Cassel should have posted better numbers against the New Orleans Saints last week, the Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller had two straight good games against solid defense before that. Like all backup QB options, he's prone to inconsistency.

Things set up nicely for a strong bounce-back game in Week 4. The San Diego Chargers have allowed double-digit fantasy points to all three opposing quarterbacks so far, including a big game from Kevin Kolb last week.

That should allow Cassel to get closer to his 17-point average from the first two weeks than the five-point dud from Week 3. Not bad for a player available on a lot of waiver wires.