Finding the next great fantasy quarterback in the middle to late rounds on draft day can be the difference between being a cellar dweller or a championship-caliber squad. In 2011, that quarterback could be Matthew Stafford. And by the sound of things, the Georgia product is well on his way to becoming a household name. In a recent interview with NFL Network and NFL.com, conducted by my friends Marcus Smith and David Benhaim, Stafford talked about his shoulder problems, the Lions offense and why he should be your starting quarterback.
NFL: What have you been doing during the lockout?
Stafford: Just trying to stay fit, stay ready to go. I had shoulder surgery obviously earlier this offseason. That’s something I battled through. I rehabbed for about 10-12 weeks and I feel great now. I’ve been trying to fine-tune my game ever since.
NFL: How difficult was the rehabilitation process?
Stafford: It was six days a week for 10-12 weeks, three to four hours a day in the facility, trying to get better. I pushed myself really hard and healed up a lot quicker than most people, which was a blessing and great for me so I can start working on my game again. I really don’t think about my shoulder anymore.
NFL: Are there mental hurdles to clear once you’re back on the field? Will the injuries make you change your playing style?
Stafford: I won’t alter my playing style at all. Injuries happen, that’s part of the game. But as far as mental hurdles go, I feel great right now. I’m sure the first hit, when I get up from it and feel great, will bring a lot of confidence to me and I’ll get the ball rolling from there.
NFL: Tell fantasy owners what to expect from the Lions offense this season.
Stafford: I think we’re going to be very explosive if we stay healthy. We showed that we’re an explosive offense last year, and hopefully we can carry that into this year with some new pieces in Titus Young and [Mikel] Leshoure.
NFL: Will coordinator Scott Linehan open up the offense even more, in terms of the passing game?
Stafford: It’s wide open already. Linehan loves to throw the football, and in our division we’ve got to put up some points because we’ve got some great offenses.
NFL: Give fantasy owners a reason to make you their No. 1 quarterback in the draft.
Stafford: That’s my number one question asked, should they pick me up in fantasy. … I’m going to play all 16 [games], I’ve got Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew. I’m throwing the ball to Jahvid Best and Leshoure out of the backfield. I feel there is going to be a lot of points put up.