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NFL and Fantasy Analysis: The Stafford-Goff Trade

January 31, 2021 6:45 PM
January 31, 2021 6:44 PM

NFL and Fantasy Analysis: The Stafford-Goff Trade


I was just minding my own business, trying to take a break from football on a Saturday night after a week (weeks if you count all the preview scouting) of Senior Bowl work…and then my phone buzzed, my Apple watch pulsed, and I wondered what annoying email or uninteresting U.S. news alert was coming through. I looked at my watch and saw the postage stamp sized face of Jared Goff pop up. Oh, crap…what just happened?

I did a double take at the details of the new report. I couldn’t believe it/comprehend it.

I then read it aloud just so I could be sure I was really seeing it right. Yep. Three draft picks, two of them 1st-rounders, plus Goff for Matt Stafford.

It has been building all week…

How did Matt Stafford become the apple of everyone’s eye? How did we all go from ‘no one cares about Matt Stafford’ to half the league needs to trade for him and here’s why articles?

If long-time solid, big contract middle-aged (for a QB) QBs are worth this much – the Falcons should be announcing their auction for Matt Ryan ASAP. The Kirk Cousins sweepstakes should begin now.

The instant I read the news alert, I thought – man, are pundits going to crucify the Rams for this. As usual, I was wrong about NFL sentiment/logic on NFL trade reactions. All I’ve seen is glorious reviews on how great Matt Stafford is and how the Rams were so smart to dump Goff.

After the 2018 season, you could’ve made this trade in reverse – the Lions would’ve killed for Goff (and his contract) and would have loved to send two 1st-round picks and wheels spinning in the mud, perpetual ‘loser’ Matt Stafford and his big contract to the Rams.

What a difference two years makes.

In two years, we’ve convinced ourselves that Jared Goff is terrible. He’s a running joke now. You’re a smart football analyst if you rag on how bad Goff is. These same people take a break from worshipping Daniel Jones and Tua Tagovailoa to let us all know how bad Goff is constantly this new year. A guy who got within a score of winning the Super Bowl two years ago – now is dirt. Why? We’ll get into that.

It wasn’t two years, but just two weeks ago that Matt Stafford went from ‘who cares’ to ‘greatest QB any team could acquire’. The Lions announced Stafford would be traded, the media momentum/love for Stafford swooned and the Lions dominated the marketplace.

We do realize Stafford and Goff had about the same season in 2020? Goff playing in a much tougher schedule/division and won a playoff game playing with a broken hand? Stafford racking numbers against an easy division of defenses and plenty of numbers in garbage time?

Stafford’s major back issues and general physical issues of 2019…no one cares now? OK.

Feel free to take a shot on Stafford, I’m not saying he is a bad quarterback -- but two 1st-round picks plus a 3rd-rounder and Goff? Did I miss Stafford’s greatness somewhere along the way? Bill O’Brien has to be wondering how he has a terrible trading reputation, but Les Snead is being heralded as some kind of maestro for this.  

Questions not being addressed with the splash of the Goff for Stafford trade?

-Why does the Snead/McVay regime take no flack for the horrific contracts/deals they gave to Todd Gurley and Jared Goff two years ago? If Goff is so terrible…why did they pay him like a franchise QB two years ago? Why didn’t they see this coming? The Gurley deal was atrocious, and they ate so much money to dump him in 2020…and no one seems to care or critique it now. The Rams ate like $25M in 2020 just to NOT have Gurley on the team in 2020. Now, they are dumping Goff.

Who was it that made all these terrible deals in the first place? We assume they got it right now?

-If Jared Goff was worth a franchise QB price after 2018…what happened in 2019 and 2020? We can’t just see everything through Sean McVay colored glasses, can we? Why is it when Goff succeeds, he’s a byproduct of the genius of Sean McVay…but when Goff fails, he’s failing McVay’s system and thus must be punished for it.

Does anyone want to explore the potential problems with the McVay system…or his inability to fix Goff? Not saying McVay is to blame, but can we not even broach the subject? Goff WAS working fin in the NFL just two years ago…it’s not a hypothetical thing with him. Why couldn’t boy genius McVay fix Goff where it was working great prior? I thought McVay could fix everything...especially QBs?

-Robert Woods became a great WR where no one thought so prior to his LA years. Cooper Kupp became a star. Tyler Higbee was amazing at the end of the 2019 season. This all because Goff sucks and McVay is a genius play caller, no other room for debate? This reminds me of the genius assigned to Matt Nagy when Mitch Trubisky would win in 2018 and everyone boasted about what a genius Nagy was on offense. What do they say about Nagy now?

 -Crippling bad contracts (Gurley, Goff) and trading away all their 1st-round picks year after year…and all they have is this ‘good’ team since their Super Bowl loss…and one with no offensive stars of the future or at QB on the roster. This roster is a ticking time bomb about to explode in the next year or two without some excellent drafts ahead.

This trade was an all-in, sacrifice the future for the now move. The Rams are built for and needed to play for the now, but they paid way too much money/assets to do so.

At the end of the day, is Matt Stafford really that much better than Jared Goff? Does anyone think the Rams are destined to win the Super Bowl now, where they had no shot with Goff? For whatever Goff’s flaws are…he did help lead them to a Super Bowl in 2018 and then back to the playoffs in 2020, where they got an upset road win.

Matt Stafford’s playoff record? (0-3)…but he’s a ‘winner’ and Jared Goff (3-3) in the playoffs is a ‘loser’ and less equipped to get the Rams to the title than Stafford for some reason. Most everything everyone says about Goff now was spoken of about Stafford a few years ago. It’s fascinating how the NFL talks themselves into things like ‘Tank for Tua’ for two years, and now he’s in every other trade for a QB rumor article.

The media hyped up Stafford for two weeks after ignoring him for about ten years…and the Rams paid the price for-the-past-two-weeks version of Stafford. Unbelievable.

All that aside, let’s give the Lions and new GM Brad Holmes a big thumbs up. Not only for an incredible heist but consider the backdrop of how this happened…

Holmes has been with the Rams organization for a long time, coming up from the bottom and rising to trusted advisor/scout/personnel guy under Snead. It was Holmes who blessed the trade up for Jared Goff. Do you think Holmes is clueless about Goff? He helped trade for him initially. He’s been with Goff for all his LA years. It would’ve been Holmes' call/decision to accept Goff in this deal.

They key is = Holmes would know the ins and outs of Les Snead better than anyone…better than Sean McVay himself. Holmes and Snead had the same info and working experience with Goff today. But Holmes had more info on Stafford.


Either Brad Holmes is a raging idiot today…or Les Snead is.

Look at the trade pieces. Who do you think the idiot is?

Brad Holmes just made the deal of the century using his inside knowledge of Goff and inside knowledge of the absentness and weaknesses of Les Snead. Holmes used his inside knowledge to hit his former employers where it hurts…where they were the weakest. Holmes knew more about the L.A. thought process than anyone on the planet – and he made this stunning deal.

Brad Holmes is already the executive of the year in 2021. You gotta love Holmes not doing a friendly, fair deal with his ex-coworkers…but, instead, robbing them blind because he knew all the inside info on how to do so.

Coming Soon…Ocean’s 14…the L.A. Rams inside heist.

When you consider how fast rookies are impacting the NFL now, and how cheap their contracts are, relatively speaking for 4+ years on their deals…the three picks the Lions got are exponentially more valuable than the trade analysts are crediting them. Using some antiquated trade chart and pick valuations to figure out this deal is behind the times.

If the Rams’ picks are all middle of the pack each year, so what? If I could have my choice between the #10 and #25 pick (and I couldn’t trade my pick, I’d have to make it)…I might rather have the #25 for the cost/contract structure. The real talent in most NFL Drafts is after pick #10. It’s a lot of (expensive) hype prospects prior to that – just ask Brad Holmes who was part of the push for drafting #13 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Aaron Donald. 2nd and 3rd-round picks are even more valuable for the low payroll cost and plenty of talent left that the NFL misses all day/all year long – and Holmes got a 3rd-rounder in the 2021 draft along with those two #1s in the future, to use or trade as desired.

The Lions just got three bars of gold draft picks so that the Rams could maybe, slightly, kinda upgrade their QB situation for 2021. In the end, Goff may turn out better than Stafford and then this deal will be written about and story told for years and years to come.


The fantasy ramifications?

Well, my first 2021 season and Dynasty valuations/projections will be coming out about a week after the Super Bowl ends, mid-Feb. So, you’ll see the impact there but let me leave you with the following thoughts…

The big QB changes in 2020…the long-time established QBs changing teams…Rivers, Brady…

How well did they hit the ground running in 2020 for fantasy? Not great.

How did it work out for the main WRs, how fast was the new QB-WR connection for T.Y. Hilton or Chris Godwin or Mike Evans? TYH was being cut 4-5-6 weeks into the season. Evans was catching one pass for yard (and a TD) every week.

I’m just saying…it may not be so delightful to just take a long-time QB and fling them into new surroundings and expect magic to happen right away. 


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>