A lot of variables factor into fantasy success, but it’s interesting to note players with similar career paths. It might be difficult to project which veteran quarterback will take a leap in 2022 like Matthew Stafford did last season, but perhaps we can figure out who it will be by examining the player’s story and production thus far. Here’s the quarterback who might be able to replicate Stafford’s 2021 leap in scoring efficiency in 2022.
Who is This Year’s Matthew Stafford?
2021 Matthew Stafford → 2022 Derek Carr
For years in Detroit, Matthew Stafford languished on poorly managed offenses with mediocre surrounding cast but continued to log year after year of 4,000 plus passing yard seasons. The problem was lack of touchdowns, and it’s hard to blame Stafford when his no. 1 wide receiver in his final year with the Lions was Marvin Jones. Everything changed for Stafford in 2021 following his trade to the Rams, as the pairing with Sean McVay and the upgrade to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods (and eventually Odell Beckham) finally allowed him to break the 30 passing touchdown barrier for the first time since Calvin Johnson‘s retirement in 2015.
The Rams ranked ninth in pass rate during the regular season last year, which resulted in Stafford logging 601 pass attempts and nearly 4,900 passing yards. In his 12 seasons prior to 2021, Stafford had averaged 273 passing yards and 1.7 passing touchdowns per game. Last year, his per-game passing yardage total wasn’t all that different at 287 yards, but his per-game touchdown total increased to 1.7 to 2.4 touchdowns. The change in scenery to an efficient passing offense under McVay and upgrade in receiver talent allowed Stafford to throw for 41 touchdowns en route to a QB6 fantasy finish on the year and as the QB10 in points per game (PPG).
Derek Carr has likewise found himself in a stagnant situation with the Raiders since entering the NFL, both in Oakland as well as in Las Vegas. Carr is on his fifth head coach since he was drafted in 2014, and his best receiver prior to 2022 was Amari Cooper, who was then promptly traded away to Dallas in 2018. And while Carr has had Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow in recent seasons, neither is a true no. 1 receiver. Despite that, Carr has passed for over 4,000 yards in each of the past four years, and he ranked eighth in expected points added (EPA) and 12th in average net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) in 2021 even with Waller injured and Renfrow as his de factor no. 1 wide receiver.
The Raiders’ offense was already fourth in the league in pass rate last year, with Carr having logged 626 pass attempts for over 4,800 passing yards with a strong 68 percent completion rate. Even having scored just 23 passing touchdowns, Carr’s production was good enough to finish the season as the QB12 in fantasy and the QB17 in PPG. With the upgrade from Jon Gruden to Josh McDaniels and the addition of a true no. 1 receiver in Davante Adams, Carr can repeat the 4,800 passing yards he logged in 2021 but increase his touchdowns from 23 to potentially 40 or more in 2022, much like the metamorphosis we saw from Stafford in 2021. Such a leap in touchdown volume would be enough to propel Carr to a top-10 fantasy finish at the quarterback position, perhaps even a borderline top-5 finish.
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