In the fourth edition of the Rookie Recap, I will breakdown the performances of Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford and Redskins Linebacker Brian Orakpo.
Hybrid defender Brian Orakpo notched the first sack of his career against the Lions in Week 3. Orakpo also added 4 total tackles after being shut out statistically versus the Rams in Week 2. Orakpo will never be a force in fantasy football if he remains eligible at strong side linebacker in many leagues. He does retain some value in his ability to put his hand on the ground on third down to rush the quarterback, but that role would be better utilized in a traditional 3-4 scheme. London Fletcher, LaRon Landry, and Rocky McIntosh dominated the tackle opportunities in this game, and that likely won’t change going forward this season. Orakpo’s dynasty value is tied to eventually becoming defensive line eligible as his body matures as a pro. He’s been often compared to DeMarcus Ware because they are both hybrid defenders, but Ware is in another class by himself. Orakpo is definitely someone worth watching early in his career.
Matthew Stafford accomplished what Dan Orlovsky, Daunte Culpepper and Jon Kitna could not do in 2008; lead the Detroit Lions to victory. The Number 1 overall draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft helped the Lions snap their losing streak at 19 games with a 19-14 win over the Redskins. Stafford had the best game of his young career as he played efficient football as the Lions controlled the clock for the majority of the game. Stafford fired up his teammates by jawing with the Redskins defenders and displayed the enthusiasm and moxie that the Lions have been missing forever. The talent level in Detroit is still subpar and the going will be rough at times in 2009, but the Lions do have some excellent building blocks in Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Head Coach Jim Schwartz.
Teams will continue to roll coverage to Calvin Johnson and Bryant Johnson will have to continue to make big plays like his 21 yard touchdown grab in the 1st Quarter for Stafford to have any use as a starter in Fantasy Football this year. I compared Stafford to Jay Cutler before the season started, and I stick by that assessment. Stafford will run hot and cold, but his limited game action makes it quite obvious why he was the top overall selection. I had written both Stafford and Mark Sanchez off from having any fantasy value this year, and I may rethink that stance. Both are light years ahead in their anticipated development, and you’ll want to stash away both on your bench and keep an eye on them in your dynasty leagues for the future.