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NFL Draft

Matthew Stafford Will Throw For This Many Yards, TDs In 2020

  • The Draft Network
  • June 21, 2020
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If some Detroit Lions fans didn’t appreciate Matthew Stafford before last season, they certainly did after watching Jeff Driskel and David Blough throw passes over the final eight games of the 2019 campaign. Detroit started undefeated through Week 3 and was 3-3-1 after seven games, before losing nine straight to end the season. The losing streak began in Stafford’s final start of 2019.

Stafford’s back should be fully healthy by the time the Lions report for in-person activities, if it isn’t already. While any back injury is concerning and seemingly susceptible to becoming an ongoing issue, Stafford is coming off a run of eight consecutive 16-game seasons before only playing eight last year. While it’s important to keep a watchful eye on his back—you know, to hypothetically see if he has broken bones in the area—it would probably be unfair to categorize him as a major injury risk relative to the average quarterback.

Keeping that in mind, let’s see what has down for Stafford’s 2020 statistical output:

Passing Yards: 4,150.5 (over -130; under -110)

Passing TDs: 26.5 (over -130; under -110)

When looking at these betting options, one has to consider not only the ridiculous pace Stafford was on in the first half of the last season, but his volume over a larger sample size of five seasons. Looking at his per-game averages, the Lions QB has averaged about 575 pass attempts per 16 games over the last half-decade. That will be our baseline for this exercise. 

Stafford averaged about 7.44 yards per attempt over the last five seasons. Over 575 pass attempts, that equals 4,277 yards—above My Bookie’s posted total. In fact, 4,150.5 yards would be the second-lowest full-season yardage output of Stafford’s career. He threw for just 3,777 yards in 2018, but we’ve since found out that he played with broken bones in his back

Stafford only needs 558 passing attempts at his five-year average to go over the posted total. That’s just three more attempts than his full-season career-low of 555 attempts (2018). Since I’m not projecting Stafford to miss multiple games this season, I like over 4,150.5 passing yards (-130) in 2020.

When it comes to projecting touchdowns, things get a little more volatile. Stafford’s touchdown rate over the last five years is as follows: 5.4%, 4.0%, 5.1%, 3.8%, and 6.5% respectively. That 6.5% mark would’ve likely come down over the course of 16 games instead of eight last season, but his five-year average touchdown rate is 4.81%. Assuming he matches that over 575 pass attempts in 2020, he’ll throw 27.7 passing touchdowns—again, over My Bookie’s posted total. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson are more than enough weapons for Stafford to utilize to go over 26.5 passing touchdowns (-130) in 2020. 

Anyone betting on Stafford’s player props must feel comfortable (one way or another) with Stafford’s health. If you believe his back injury is healed and won’t be a hindrance, the posted totals are very reachable. There may even be a one-game buffer built in where Stafford could hit the totals in only 15 games. If you believe his back will be a prevalent problem, and either limit his production or availability, then under is the path for you. I subscribe to the former theory and project 4,277 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions for Stafford in 2020.

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