My time spent as Alex Smith‘s fantasy advocate began with a trade — when the Kansas City Chiefs sent a couple of draft picks (No. 34 overall in the 2013 draft and the No. 56 overall in the 2014 draft) to the San Francisco 49ers — and it will most likely end with the recent trade of Smith to Washington.
If you grew tired of my incessant tweets, podcast mentions, and articles on the former Chiefs signal-caller, you can thank (or blame) my good pal Kyle Wachtel. It was an article he wrote on his old Fantasy Forensic blog where he projected scenarios in which Smith could thrive in Reid’s system and become a useful fantasy asset that first piqued my interest.
Most fantasy players either laughed off Smith or completely ignored him, viewing him as nothing more than a scrub and useless in fantasy leagues. Intrigued by Wachtel’s Smith projections, his fantasy friendly schedule, and cheap dirt ADP, a love affair between me and Smith was born.
It began in 2013, where he grossly outproduced his 2QB ADP of QB24 by finishing as the 11th-highest scoring fantasy QB that season (when excluding Week 17), per Pro Football Focus, and only grew stronger when my regular series on streaming Smith for XN Sports earned me the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best On-Going Series that year.
Saying I owe any semblance of a fantasy football writing career I have to Smith would be an understatement. For better or worse, the two of us have been tied together for the past five seasons, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
With Smith now gone from Kansas City (and Andy Reid’s quarterback-friendly system) and entering his age-34 season, there’s a likelihood I won’t be as hardcore of a Smith advocate as I have in the past. But he’ll always own a space in my heart and the season he just had was a wonderful 2QB fantasy sendoff, reminding me how much I enjoy being part of the fantasy community.
You can view a snapshot of Smith’s fantasy stats during his Chiefs career in this special edition Alex Smith QB Card, courtesy of his cousin and TwoQBs co-founder Greg Smith.
From that Week 1 island game versus the New England Patriots where he put up 368 yards and four touchdowns on his way to 31.02 fantasy points and the highest-scoring QB performance of the week and having my Twitter mentions blow up, to Smith setting career-highs this past season in the categories of completions (341), passing yards (4,042), passing touchdowns (26), interception rate (1.0%), yards/attempt (8.0), adjusted yards/attempt (8.6), and quarterback rating (104.7), Smith produced a real-life and fantasy season no one saw coming. Not even me, no matter how much I wanted it to happen.
Prior to his Chiefs career, Smith never threw for over 3,200 yards or 18 touchdowns, and he never scored over 250 fantasy points or finished as a fantasy QB1 (top-12). In his past five seasons in Kansas City, Smith threw for over 3,200 yards each season and topped the 18-touchdown mark three times. He also put up two QB1 seasons, including finishing as the second-highest scoring fantasy quarterback last season (Week 17 excluded).
Smith was an underrated QB2/QB3 option in 2QB and superflex fantasy football leagues the past five seasons, and he always delivered — no matter the detractors. Take a look below at his 2QB ADP and production the past five seasons (Week 17 excluded).
Alex Smith 2QB ADP vs. Fantasy Finishes (2013 – 2017)
Okay, so in 2014 and 2016 he only beat his ADP by one spot, but technically, that still counts. And, in 2017, his 10 top-12 (QB1) weekly fantasy finishes was bested only by Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Russell Wilson, who each had 11. Smith’s 2017 2QB ADP was 130.6 — not a bad return on investment, eh?
While Smith’s 2017 fantasy season is most likely an outlier — as pointed out by Scott Barrett of Pro Football Focus, his career high of fantasy points per game (20.0) was 4.5 points more than his previous three-year average — he proved to be a dependable fantasy asset during his five-year Chiefs career and produced a league-winning campaign in his final season in Kansas City.
Smith now goes to a Washington team coached by Jay Gruden that saw Kirk Cousins in three years as a full-time starter average 4,392 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and 290.45 fantasy points, while also finishing as a top-8 fantasy quarterback in each of those three years. Of course, you can make the argument Cousins is better than Smith, but we’ll save that debate for another day.
Smith will regress in 2018. It’s a certainty. Coming close or besting career-highs in a number of statistical categories at the age of 34 is a lofty feat, but for his sake, I hope his career turns out better than the last Andy Reid signal-caller traded to Washington — Donovan McNabb — who was a top-10 fantasy QB his last season with the Eagles, but who threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (14) for the first time in his career playing in Washington and was out of the league after the 2011 season.
Dear Alex… thank you for making fantasy football fun for me.