Trading places

January 31, 2021

The news broke late Saturday night that the first big trade of the NFL offseason went down. Matt Stafford was swapped to the LA Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round selection. 

This trade is all gravy for Stafford. He goes to an offensive system that will be built around his powerful arm, has an above-average running game, a really good offensive line and a strong defense that will keep him out of shootouts. The playbook will be more complex than the YOLO balls Stafford is used to chucking up, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the transition. The upgrade in OL alone should bump Stafford’s fantasy value. 

For Goff, there’s not a lot to like here. The Lions have fewer weapons, a history of mediocrity, and a coach that prefers knee caps to chicken legs. Now, Detroit is getting those extra picks, but they won’t come in 2021, but the two following years. On top of that, there are those in the fantasy community that feel that Goff’s abilities are capped anyway, so we may have already seen the best of him. His record in games below freezing is 0-2 with a 47.2 completion percentage with no touchdowns and five interceptions. Ouch. 

Stafford arriving in LA is great for the Rams wide receiver corps. While there isn’t a burner on the roster, these are way more toys that Stafford has had in the past. (We are talking quantity over quality here. Yes, I remember Calvin Johnson.) The Georgia product has always leaned on one primary receiver before, mostly due to necessity, but keeping eyes on distribution early on would be smart if it appears that one wideout is getting favored. 

Unless Detroit decides to do something radical in the draft, Kenny Golladay is still the complimentary piece you want to target. Unfortunately, because Goff doesn’t have the bazooka that Stafford does, Golladay’s value will drop. My guess is that will be by a couple of rounds due to his injury history and the change at QB and coach. 

In terms of fantasy value, Stafford’s is pointing up. You do have to keep in mind that he is 32, but quarterbacks do tend to play longer, especially those with good offensive lines. In a 2QB or super flex format, he should be one of the top 10 QBs taken and definitely in the first two rounds. I don’t think this move pushes him into the Kyler/Lamar/Mahomes category, but you could argue for him in the Deshaun/Dak region. In redraft and 1QB leagues, I still think he’s a Top 10 signal caller option, but you can obviously wait much longer for him. 

The outlook for young Mr. Goff isn’t as pretty. Before in 2QB/SF leagues, you would be comfortable with him as your second option. I think this slides him into your back up spot after you’ve grabbed your main two dudes. I keep trying to find a positive for Goff in all this and I’m struggling to do so. Maybe it’s that Detroit housing prices will be lower. In redraft or 1QB formats, he’s a bye week filler.