|Alex Smith - Analysis||Tweet|
|Written by Steve Braun|
|Friday, 12 October 2012 06:18|
Alex Smith: Love Him or List Him
Just to be clear, Love Him doesn’t mean refuse a trade that will blow your doors off. No player is untradeable if the price is right. And List Him doesn’t mean trade him for a sack of dirty jock straps. Try and trade him for what his current value is worth.
Alex Smith is 28 years old, stands 6-4 and weighs 217 lb. He was born in Seattle but grew up in California and played his college ball at the high school where his father was the executive director. After a wildly successful high school career, Smith attended the University of Utah where he compiled a record of 21-1 as the starting quarterback. He finished fourth in the 2004 Heisman Trophy voting, and in case you thought all he did was focus on football 24-7, Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in only two years. He was working on his master’s degree when he was drafted first overall by San Francisco. Smith only showed glimpses of his talent during his early years with the Niners, overall however he was mostly unsuccessful. The best season Smith and the Niners had was 8-8 in 2009, and he almost wasn’t on the team. Management had indicated they would release Smith after 2008 instead of paying him over $9 million in salary for 2009. Smith agreed to re-negotiate his contract and stayed with the team. Even though Smith was a free agent after 2010, he organized player workouts during the lockout and even helped implement new coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense. The team re-signed Smith and he proceeded to lead them to a 13-3 record and they came within a couple of fumbles of getting to the Super Bowl.
Despite the Niners’ breakout season, Smith himself did not perform at an elite level. He did however play all 16 games for only the second time, it was his first time throwing over 3,000 yards, his highest completion percentage, and his highest quarterback rating. At 28 years old the expert opinion varied on whether Smith had turned a corner or simply was a product of having the best team around him he’s ever had. In 2011 Smith was the 15th highest QB in fantasy, and the Niners spent the offseason dramatically improving the team’s offense. They brought in receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, drafted receiver A.J. Jenkins in the first round and running back LaMichael James in the second. They also signed Brandon Jacobs as a free agent to further improve the running game. All signs pointed to a vastly improved offense in 2012 yet Smith’s ADP was in the 13th round, he was on average the 24th QB drafted if he was drafted at all.
It’s understandable that when a player finally has success in his seventh season, people wonder if it was a one-off. Despite his first overall pedigree, his struggles were such that it certainly didn’t appear that he would ever be a solid starting quarterback much less an elite one. The Niners fanned the flames a bit too when they courted Peyton Manning in the offseason. Many saw this as a sign the team felt that their success was more in spite of Smith than because of him. But I do find it incredible that fantasy owners felt there would be 20 or more better quarterbacks this year. Besides the additional talent that was added over the summer, 2012 would be the first time that the team’s incumbent number one wideout Michael Crabtree would be healthy and have an entire preseason to work with Smith. Add to that the fact that 2012 would be incredibly the first time in Smith’s career where he would not have a new offensive coordinator either during preseason or in season. Even if Smith regresses a bit from his 2011 performance he should still end up somewhere in the top 15 in 2012.
Here are Smith’s 2011 numbers, and what he’s done so far this year:
It certainly looks as though Smith has picked up right where he left off, and then some. The team looks headed for another 13 win season and Smith, if he continues on his current pace, will improve on his yardage and touchdown numbers. Let’s take a closer look at the game-by-game numbers:
Obviously his week five performance against an apparently putrid Bills defense was Smith’s best game, and in fact he came within a throw-away out of bounds of a perfect passer rating for the day. But the week five numbers don’t skew his season averages very much. It will be interesting to see how he performs on the road the rest of the way. He shined in Green Bay week one but then had his two worst games on the road in Minnesota and New York. His two highest yardage games were in the two home games which is a good sign for him putting up decent to good fantasy numbers the rest of the way with six more home games to come. Here’s Smith’s and the Niners’ remaining schedule:
Unfortunately the two easy touches on the schedule are both road games for Smith. Overall the schedule is a little tougher than what he’s faced so far but not overly so.
I believe Smith has in fact turned a corner in his long awaited development. He proved in last year’s playoffs that he can perform under pressure and can go out and win games as opposed to managing them. But with San Fran’s elite defense the team shouldn’t have to rely on Smith to win games with his arm. So there is a limit on his fantasy production. I see him performing pretty much on par with what he’s done so far in 2012, so you can project his value as such.
One Year League: Love Him. Smith doesn’t really have much trade value, he is still not seen as a starting fantasy QB unless your league requires you to start two. He does however make a great bye week/short-term injury replacement. He’s not going to blow anyone’s doors off but will produce enough to get you some much needed fantasy points.
Keeper/Dynasty League: Love Him, for the same reasons as above. His trade value is not high and he’s not likely to drop off or excel significantly in the near future. No buy low or sell high scenario, he’s destined to remain a valuable backup/bye week replacement the rest of his career.
Survivor Update: Son of a… I took Green Bay last week so I’m eliminated in week five of a two strike survivor pool. I have spent two minutes in the box and felt shame. It hasn’t been an easy season for picking winners but losing twice in five weeks is embarrassing. I’ll continue to suggest survivor picks but obviously follow my advice at your own peril. You may have better luck picking the opponent of the team I suggest.
FanDuel Update: I missed out on last week’s FanDuel contest, it was full by the time I joined. Gotta make sure I get in when it's available gain next week. You should too, $1 for a chance at not only winning cash but gaining bragging rights on DobberFootball. FanDuel will be running their contest every other week for Dobber Fans to enjoy!
|Last Updated on Saturday, 13 October 2012 08:40|