Throughout training camp we’ve heard little bits of information on Matthew Stafford’s elbow, but on Thursday the most important report yet was released. He underwent offseason surgery.
Up until this point we were told the elbow bothered him last season, he was still dealing with some soreness, it’s an injury that would have to be managed all season, and it’s “abnormal for a quarterback.” The Rams don’t plan to change their game plan due to the injury, but his practice reps may need to be managed.
I believe all of these reports so far, but I do think there’s more to the story. The one big questions we are now left with is what was addressed during surgery. I don’t think there has been an accurate diagnosis provided so far. Tendinitis was one word that was tossed around, but that doesn’t quite like up with having surgery.
If Stafford had a simple arthroscopic procedure like cleaning up some scar tissue or removing a bone spur, then this isn’t that big of a deal. If there was ligament damage, potentially to the UCL, that’s more concerning.
So, what should fantasy owners do with all of this information? Well, if he’s already on your roster and you’re panning on using him as your QB1, make sure you have a reliable backup available. The deeper we get into the season, the tougher the injury will be to manage. It’s not so difficult early on to limit practice reps and manage the pain. It gets far more challenging after a few months when the elbow has been heavily used and is also vulnerable to taking hits.
For now I wouldn’t use Matt Stafford (or any of the Rams skill players on offense) in DFS lineups. There’s so much uncertainty surrounding how Stafford’s elbow will hold him, and then the running backs are banged up too. I’m still not confident that Cam Akers is the same player he was before the torn Achilles (returning faster doesn’t equal returning to the same level of performance!), and Akers and Darrell Henderson both battled soft tissue injuries throughout training camp. The Rams offense may not be the same elite group they were in 2021. They can still be very good some weeks, but not as consistent.
Check out our week 1 analysis on the Rams vs. Bills! One team has a clear health advantage, and it isn’t the reigning Super Bowl champs!