Stop Telling Me to Draft Alex Smith
During March we ran a series of polls on our Twitter feed to solicit the 2QB public’s input to create a set of quarterback rankings. … While there was no scientific formula, the rankings did provide us a glimpse into the mindset of 2QB drafters in regards to which quarterbacks they are high (and low) on. The perceived disrespect of Tyrod Taylor‘s public rank (QB17) led to a TwoQBs roundtable on why we think Taylor is better than the 2QB public thinks.
Today I want to discuss another quarterback rank I feel is off: Alex Smith.
You might be thinking to yourself, “not again, Sal”. And, yes, it’s true, if there’s one quarterback you can associate my fantasy football mindset with it’s Smith. Good ole, boring, dependable, reliable Alex Smith.
When the dust settled on our public Twitter ranks, Smith came in dead last at QB25. We stopped running the polls once Smith was ranked, per company policy (or we just ended the polls once we waded into murky starting quarterback territory).
Alex Smith — My Boring Quarterback
If you were to look up the definition of boring in the dictionary you would first find the definition — not interesting; tedious — and then a picture of Smith. Ask any fantasy footballer what they think of Smith and the first word they would use to describe him will be boring.
While we tend to spend a great deal trying to find the next Blake Bortles or Kirk Cousins, the reality is not every fantasy pick we make is going to be sexy. We can’t roster an entire team of Aaron Rodgers’ or Tom Bradys.
A number of 2QBers will go into their draft dreaming of walking away with an Andrew Luck/Ben Roethlisberger pairing, for example, but such a move would probably cripple the rest of their roster.
It’s going to take two high draft picks to wind up with two elite signal callers anchoring your 2QB squad, and using that type of draft capital on the quarterback position is a move I tend to usually shy away from in most 2QB drafts.
With the amount of depth at the quarterback position increasing each year, it’s become easier to wait on quarterback, yes, even in 2QB or superflex leagues, and attack the position later in the draft. That’s especially true of the QB2 slot, and even more so if you employ a late-round quarterback or studs & streaming strategy.
The Value of Alex Smith
The mid-to-late rounds of 2QB leagues is Alex Smith territory. Here are Smith’s ADP numbers since 2013:
- 2013 — QB24
- 2014 — QB19
- 2015 — QB24
Three years in a row Smith has been viewed as nothing more than a low-end QB2/high-end QB3 by the 2QB draft community.
In two of those three seasons, Smith has greatly outperformed his 2QB ADP:
2013 – 253.22 fantasy points (QB13)/16.9 fantasy PPG (QB13)
2014 – 220 fantasy points (QB20)/14.7 fantasy PPG (QB23)
2015 – 271.24 fantasy points (QB15)/17 fantasy PPG (QB21)
Since joining the Kansas Chiefs, Smith has enjoyed success on both the real and fake gridiron. In 2013, he set career highs in completions (308), attempts (508), and passing touchdowns (23). In 2015, he threw a career high 3,486 passing yards.
While some might call Smith boring, I view him more as safe. One reason is because of the added fantasy value Smith has brought in the running game during his Chiefs career.
In the past three seasons, Smith has ran for a combined 1,183 yards, and tacked on four rushing scores. Those numbers average out to an added 47.43 fantasy points/season.
When targeting late-round signal callers you’re looking for an edge. Rushing fantasy points is such an edge, and is why someone like Tyrod Taylor wound up being a draft day steal last year, and why Smith has some safety baked into his ADP.
Even though he’s viewed as a boring fantasy option, Smith was a rather appealing one last year, in terms of weekly scoring.
QB1 in Hiding
If we don’t count Week 17, Smith had seven QB1 (top-12) fantasy scoring weeks in 2015. Only eight quarterbacks had more (Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady).
Smith was also one of only nine quarterbacks to finish outside the QB2 tier (top-24) of weekly scoring two times or less last season. The others were: Bortles, Newton, Palmer, Jameis Winston, Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brady, and Tyrod Taylor.
In Conclusion — Draft Alex Smith
The 2QB public might not respect Alex Smith as a fantasy option on draft day, but that only means it will make him cheaper to acquire.
If you find yourself in a 2QB league full of Smith haters, it will only drag his price down and allow you to swoop in and walk away from your 2QB draft with a potential low-end QB1 at a QB3 price. That’s the type of move that can help you win 2QB leagues.
*Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData