Sneaky fantasy pickups entering Week 8 

October, 28, 2011

Perhaps it's not entirely fair, but one of the reasons I liked Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford so much entering last season -- and did so again this season -- was because of Calvin Johnson, the crazy-good wide receiver who seems to be able to score touchdowns at will. I'm not saying Stafford is playing well solely because of the player many call "Megatron," but it doesn't hurt. I doubt Stafford would be fantasy's No. 5 player entering Week 8 with, say, the underwhelming Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers. By the way, fantasy's top five players are all quarterbacks, and Johnson is No. 6. This Stafford-Johnson duo is working.

[+] EnlargeShaun Hill
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireShaun Hill has proven he can put up solid fantasy numbers in case something happens to Matthew Stafford.
So it was that I made a pre-emptive deep-league pickup this week on 31-year-old backup quarterback Shaun Hill, he of the 26 career starts over nine seasons with three franchises. Stafford, as his fantasy owners and Lions fans must be aware, left the Week 7 game against the Atlanta Falcons a bit prematurely and limping with a sprained ankle. It could have been worse. It could have been a knee injury. It could have been last season, when Stafford played in only three games. Stafford, the first overall pick in the 2009 draft, clearly has big league talent, but durability has never been a strong suit.