When looking at the offensive weapons Matthew Stafford has at his disposal in Los Angeles compared to what is in Detroit, it is difficult to not get excited for Stafford’s fresh start out west. As good as Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. are/were, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are a better tandem at receiver. Stafford also has a talented tight end to throw to in Tyler Higbee, who will get a chance to shine as the clear TE1 for the Rams. Stafford should be throwing plenty especially with the loss of RB Cam Akers for the season. Rams head coach Sean McVay will not admit it, but he was limited with Jared Goff under center. Stafford is an upgrade for the Rams offense, especially since Stafford has completed at least 65% of passes in each of the past six seasons. Stafford also attempted his fewest passes over a 16-game season in 2020, a product of Matt Patricia and the old Lions regime. Our John Paulsen projects Stafford to attempt 656 passes and accumulate 5,327 passing yards. If he hits the yardage mark, it would be a career high.
The top year-to-year correlation for quarterbacks is rushing attempts along with yards per game. Stafford does not run, limiting his upside. His arm talent is elite but there is volatility attached to solely depending on one aspect. Stafford also will be playing behind a worse line than in Detroit according to 4for4’s Justin Edwards. Despite the continuity that is valued year-to-year on the offensive line, the Rams group has aging pieces and will have a former tackle-turned-guard playing center. It is also foolish to assume the Rams start six linemen as they did in 2020 (fewest in NFL). While Stafford’s passing options are deep, they will be tested. The Rams have five games versus top 10 defenses against quarterbacks according to 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Positional Defensive Rankings. Not awful, but each game is on the road with trips to Green Bay and Minnesota before and during the fantasy playoffs, respectively.
Another aspect lost in the Cam Akers injury news: Akers was going to be Stafford’s best running back teammate since Reggie Bush in 2013. Same as it ever was...
2021 Bottom Line
Stafford heads west with the chance to put up career numbers nearly a decade into his career. His throwing talent is unquestioned and his offensive weapons deep. As long as his offensive line remains in place and the running game steps up for the loss of Akers, Stafford will return value at his current 9th round ADP and be in the QB1 range throughout 2021.