I heard the news on Wednesday…oh boy. About an Alex Smith that was in a trade. My apologies to the remaining Beatles, their fans, Chiefs fans, and any other amalgamation of those three, this is gonna get ugly fast. The 49ers agreed to trade Alex to the Kansas City Chiefs for compensational picks on March 12th, the first day off-season trades can be made official. At the time of this writing, it sounds like a 2013 second round pick and a similar pick for 2014 in exchange for a quarterback whose most successful season came in 2012 with 3,144 yards and 17 touchdown passes. If you’re unable to read sarcasm font or just aren’t familiar with fantasy football in general, this isn’t going to be sleeper post on Alex. In fact, most of this post is going to take a look moreso at what others will do with this move than it will be to do with what Alex will. Sorry for you diehard game managing quarterback fans out there, this post probably won’t be for you. But enough with this, let’s see what impact Alex Smith and this trade will have on the 2013 fantasy football landscape…
To start, we’re gonna go outside of fantasy football and realize what this says about the upcoming draft because in reality, it says a lot. The Chiefs have the first pick overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. That’s numero uno, son, and there are plenty of QBs to draft this year. So if they’re trading the second round pick for a QB whose track record is more on par with Jason Campbell than it is Tom Brady, we can almost assume the talent pool at QB this year is a huge gamble and not one to be taken with the 1st or 33rd pick in a draft. So take that as a fair warning for you dynasty leaguers looking for this year’s Luck, RGIII or Wilson, it doesn’t look like you’re going to find one. The Chiefs are in partial rebuild mode right now and to not take a rookie QB when you have a top draft pick speaks volumes. They could’ve let Matt Cassel get abused for a while and then turned it over to the young buck if there was recognizable talent in this draft class and it looks like the jury has spoken there. But now that we’ve gone on the macro, let’s widdle it down to the micro and see what impact this signing has for the Chiefs, fantasy-wise.
First off, let me clarify one thing: Smith is a capable QB. There’s a reason San Francisco was able to win with him in 2011. He’s good enough to play well on a good team, but he in and of himself is not fantasy-worthy. However, he should be able to bring some value to the table with a few players at the skill positions around him, much moreso than Cassel did. With the arrival of Smith, Jamaal Charles gets a large boost for me. I was already targeting him as a clear cut first round pick in fantasy drafts this year due to Reid. Stability at the QB position only vaults that idea further in my head. Smith’s arrival should also improve the fantasy impact of a tight end that I’ve touted many times on this site: Tony Moeaki. The perspective on this strictly comes from realizing Smith isn’t a downfield threat guy and if Tony can stay healthy, he should be able to take full advantage of that in 2013. This, of course, does pull back a bit on up and comers such as Jon Baldwin and does damper the idea of Bowe having a big year again if he returns for 2013. Now before you rebutt this, you rebutter, realize that Michael Crabtree was on pace with Smith in 2012 thru the first 8 games to nearly replicate his 2011 line of 72 catches, 874 yards and 4 touchdowns and he did that in only 15. These guys are draft-worthy but the upside on Baldwin is diminished dramatically and Bowe remains a reasonable WR2 that offers little in the way of advancement on ADP pricing. In deeper leagues, McCluster gains a bit more ground but I wouldn’t say he’s someone that you need to run out and grab in a regular league.
In all, Alex Smith is about as bland as his name. Even that ‘x’ doesn’t add much pizazz. You could say he’s due for a QB2 year but there’s your upside. However, he’s a guy in the real football world who’s been through a lot and for the value of players around him, sometimes boring is beautiful. He’s a professional who works hard and can still make a few guys around him better. But was he worth a 2nd round pick? Eh…well this is a fantasy football blog so I’ll leave it up to the experts to say ‘hell no’ over the course of 500 plus words and stick with what I know.
Projections: 3345 passing yards, 19 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions, 210 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns