Fantasy Football: Matthew Stafford Is Officially a Weekly Must Start

Ryan CampbellContributor IIISeptember 28, 2011

The real deal, this is what a fantasy thoroughbread looks like.
The real deal, this is what a fantasy thoroughbread looks like.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

"Follow your heart, that's what I always do."  Words made famous by Jon Heder (portraying Napoleon Dynamite), are completely applicable when it comes to starting Matthew Stafford on your fantasy team.

Sure, the season's young, and you can't judge his projected stats based off of three weeks.  Will he remain a top five fantasy quarterback by Week 15?  Maybe not.  Top ten?  Undoubtedly.  Matthew Stafford will have solidified himself as a must-start QB on your roster by Week 15, so why aren't you starting him now (as in right now, adjust your lineup!)?

Most fantasy owners are still weary of Stafford's tendency to get injured.  Worried that he's just one hit away from that thundrous right shoulder being shelved for the season.  Did you see the hit he took from Jared Allen this past Sunday?  Allen annihilated Stafford, lifting him off of the ground, then drove his throwing shoulder into the turf...viciously. 

Stafford promptly got up and went about his business (32-46, 378 yards, two TDs, no interceptions), leading the Lions to victory.  Folks, if that hit wasn't going to make his shoulder throw up the white flag, then no hit is going to make this kid surrender.  The injuries were flukes.  Stafford is tough.  Stafford is talented.  Stafford is for real.

The only reason you should not start Stafford weekly is if you stole him in the later rounds, and he is backing up Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Philip Rivers.  In which case, trade him!  His trade value is worthy of a solid No. 2 RB or WR.

Matthew Stafford's numbers don't lie: fifth in passing yards with 977,  completion percentage 66.9, tied for second with nine touchdown passes, and the young gunslinger has only thrown two interceptions.  Leaving him on your bench is the equivalent to forgetting your toothbrush on a weekend camping trip.  There's going to be a bad taste in your mouth, when you could have been so fresh and so clean.

Look at any fantasy football projected rankings going into Week 4—the general consensus is that Stafford will put up at least the fifth-best numbers from the quarterback position.  Some experts are expecting him to have an better week (gasp) than Rodgers or Rivers! 

What's next, suggestions to start Stafford over Tom Brady?  Gisele ditching that pretty boy to run her long, elegant fingers through Stafford's golden locks in a national spot for Axe shampoo? (Yes, Stafford's biggest endorsement deal is currently with Axe—a signal that 1) he's young and 2) he's only going to get better?)  Okay, okay, I'm going a little overboard.  And admittedly, I've used a reference similar to this in a previous article (  I'm shameless in my plugs to attract more readers.

In summation, start Stafford if you have him on your roster; you won't regret it.  The roar has been restored in Detroit, and it's traveling through the air, one Matthew Stafford touchdown pass at a time.