In 2005, Alex Smith was drafted with the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft to play quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. 1st overall pick or not, for any quarterback to succeed in the NFL, you are going to need talent, a coach and a system that makes the most of that talent, and the right personnel. For the first five to six years of his career, one could say that everything that happened to the quarterback out of Utah was like a movie straight from Hollywood, a horror film. A consistently weak receiving corps and porous offensive lines were just some of the problems he faced. Going from a coach that didn’t trust him (Mike Nolan) to a coach who couldn’t keep his pants on (Mike Singletary), Alex Smith finally had a competent coach who not only believed in him, but put him in situations for him to succeed and succeed he did. Despite being 2 muffed punts away from a Super Bowl game and leading the NFL in completion percentage the following year, Smith got traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason. The current state of these Chiefs makes me believe that Alex Smith will not only be a solid, efficient QB in real life, but I’m going to surprise a lot of people and say that he is going to be a QB1 in 2013.
2013 is one of those years where the QB position is extremely deep, along with tight end. Running back and wide receivers on the other hand, are much scarcer. The problem is, after the first few rounds, it’s tough to say which RBs and WRs are going to have a good season. You’re drafting handcuffs, third down backs and secondary WRs, but every year, there are guys in this group that break out and reward investors. If you are able to wait on a QB, the more guys in this tier you are able to take in the middle to late rounds, and the higher the odds are that you select the guy that breaks out. If the QB that you select in the late rounds is able to put up top 10-12 numbers? Then you are almost guaranteed to win your season. Here’s why I think Smith deserves to be on every roster this upcoming season.
Photo courtesy of SB Nation
The New QB for the KC Chiefs: Alex Smith
In Kansas City, Smith is going to have another coach that can best utilize his talents. During the two seasons that Smith played under Harbaugh, he averaged 7.6 yards per attempt but only 27 passes per game during this time span. Andy Reid’s pass happy offense on the other hand, averaged 35 passes per game throughout Reid’s entire tenure. If you combine this with Smith’s YPA and extrapolate it to a full 16 game season, it comes out to 4,250 passing yards, which would’ve had him in the top 10 last year. Smith may not be the best at throwing the long ball, but Reid knows this. Reid’s West Coast offense doesn’t rely much on deep throws, but rather short, safe ones that Smith excels at. The transition from Harbaugh’s offense to Reid’s will be seamless, and for someone who knows what it feels like to learn a brand new playbook every year, that is so important. If you throw in Smith’s X factor, his legs, he becomes even more valuable. He averaged over 11 yards per carry and had no fewer than 130 yards on the ground each year under Harbaugh. Do you remember that bootleg that came against the Saints in the Divisional round of the playoffs? The talent is there. The coach is there. All he needs are weapons around him to make the most of his situation. Speaking of which…
Offensively, an argument can be made that the weapons at Smith’s disposal are going to be more explosive and talented than what he had in San Francisco. In the backfield, Jamaal Charles is not only capable of running between the tackles, but also is an excellent pass catcher. If you throw in RB/WR specialist Dexter McCluster, you’ve got two of the most explosive pass catching running back duos in the league taking short dump offs from Smith. While his tight end will not be close to what he had on the Niners, Anthony Fasano and Tony Moeaki are both solid pass catchers that were on one too many sleeper TE lists a few years ago. Many experts smarter than me have pegged Dwayne Bowe as having a breakout season this year because he will be playing with the most talented QB he has ever had. This works both ways: Bowe is the number 1 receiver that Smith has NEVER had in his entire career. Smith’s leading receivers before Crabtree broke out in 2011? Arnaz Battle, pre-Denver Brandon Lloyd and Antonio Bryant. Yikes. With a solid offensive line that added Eric Fisher this past draft, all the pieces are in place for Smith’s breakout year.
Talent, coaching, and a supporting cast. These are things that all the elite quarterbacks have. While I’m not saying that Smith is going to be better than guys like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Cam Newton, he has a good chance of putting up QB1 numbers. Smith is poised to make a tremendous impact both for the Chiefs and for your own fake football team. Smith’s ADP is currently in the 200’s, so he literally can be had for nothing. We’re all antsy for the season to start, so while it seems a little strange to make a prediction of what will happen at the end of the season, I’ll do it anyways. When we look back upon the drafts and waiver wire pick-ups, Alex Smith is going to be the first name on the list again, but this time, on the list of biggest surprises of 2013.
All Smith Needed was a Coach that Believed in Him
NFL Latest News
Maclin Returns to the Eagles
WR Jeremy Maclin, coming off an ACL tear that caused him to miss all of 2013, has signed a prove-it deal with the Philadelphia Eagles for one year at $5.5 million. While this is great for the Philly offense as a whole, it doesn’t bode well for Maclin’s fantasy value in 2014. He will join a crowded receiving corp featuring DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper. Cooper will likely be the WR2, and the offense will still be centered around LeSean McCoy. Maclin will have some great games next year, but will likely struggle to provide consistent production.
Dennis Pitta Resigns With the Baltimore Ravens
TE Dennis Pitta signed a 5-year, $32 million dollar deal, putting an end to what could have been a long negotation. The absence of Pitta due to injury was one of the main reasons why the Ravens’ offense sputtered last year. Entering 2014 he’s got a ton of upside, as he’ll be QB Joe Flacco’s safety blanket. While he has the size of a TE, he plays the majority of his snaps in the slot. This creates matchup problems for smaller DBs who try to cover him. Look for Pitta to be one of the trendier sleeper TEs this offseason.
Break Out Candidate: Tyler Eifert
Tyler Eifert will become a dynamic weapon from the tight end position in his second season in Cincinnati. He has the athletic ability and size to dominate as a pass catcher. The Bengals could utilize him in the slot even with Jermaine Gresham lined up in the typical tight end position. The Bengals need an option to go opposite AJ Green and Eifert will be that guy. Eifert’s improved blocking ability should help be on the field for more snaps and have the chance to make more plays.
Value plays are a must in DFS. Here’s a few guys with low values on the up swing with values all under $5,400 on Draft Kings: Brian Roberts – $5,400 It can still be a Holiday with no Jrue! Over last 7 games 15PPG, 5APG, 2RPG, 1.5 SPG, & 2TPPG. Kent Bazemore – $3,200 2 games with new team. 16PPG, 2.5APG, 1.5RPG, 2SPG, & 1.5TPPG. In Mike D’s system expect numbers to climb. Kyle Singler – $4,100 Over last 7 games 12PPG, 4RPG, 1.5APG, 2SPG, while playing around 37 minutes a game. Thomas Robinson – $3,000 No Lamarcus means it’s Thomas time. February 23rd stat line. …
The State Of The Sixers
Don’t be scared by the big dump in Philadelphia, still tons of value which equal fantasy gold. Thaddeus ” The Beast” Young – $7,800 DK- Young has been a beast, averaging 60 fantasy points over last 2 games. Enough said! Tony Wroten – $4,700 DK- Tony very productive when he gets minutes. Over last 2 games he is averaging 20PPG, 3RPG, 3.5APG, & 1SPG. James Anderson – $4,100 DK- Over last 2 James averaging 11PPG, 2RPG, 3APG, & 1.5SPG. More minutes better numbers. Byron Mullens – $3,000 DK- Been riding pine in LA, conditioning inproves expect big things. In only 14 minutes on Feb …
As the regular season draws closer, Cruz seemed ready to bring down his asking price. Cruz could be a great fit in the middle of Baltimore’s lineup. If he pans out it could be one of the best lineups in the AL. Cruz is looking at the majority of his at-bats as the DH. Cruz could get an occasional start in the OF, whenever Markakis or David Lough need a day off. Source: Enrique Rojas on Twitter
There was some speculation that the Rockies “checked in” on Santana, on Monday. This speculation was due to the Rockies shutting down Chacin. However according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com “The hope is Chacin’s right shoulder-biceps issue is not serious enough for the Rockies to need to make a signing. The official said the club reached out to Santana early in the free-agency process, but it backed away and does not have renewed interest for several reasons.” So for now, the Rockies seemed content with their current pitching staff. Source: Thomas Harding MLB.com
Arsenal was dealt a huge blow today when it was revealed that Wilshere has suffered a hairline fracture in his foot. The injury occurred when Wilshere suffered a hard knock while England hosted Denmark in an International friendly at Wembley. He initially said he felt fine, saying “It is a bit sore, just a bruise,” but he is now expected to miss six weeks. A definite setback for Arsenal, who has a win percentage of 59% when Wilshere features, and is still is fighting for a spot at the top of the table. Source: @physioroom/@optajoe
Lacina Traore, Everton – Forward
After seeing specialists for his injured hamstring, it has been determined that Traore will not require surgery. This comes as not only good news to Traore, but also to Everton as this means the forward will remain on loan from Monaco and be available to return in time for the crucial final stretch of the season. A stretch where Everton may find themselves trying to sneak into the top four. Traore is expected to miss four to six weeks. Source: evertonfc.com Follow me on Twitter @rbago79
Per Mertesacker/Tomas Rosicky, Arsenal
Both Mertesacker and Rosicky have come to terms with Arsenal on new deals. Arsenal is yet to release the details of either of the deals, but it appears that both players have committed their future to the club. It appears that Santi Cazorla is next target for the club to sign to an extended deal, but the future of Bacary Sagna remaining with the club seems to be in danger as he has already turned down two extension offers while seeking demands the club doesn’t seem willing to match. Source: dailymail.co.uk Follow me on Twitter @rbago79
The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 will debut March 9 on UFC Fight Pass. The show, which features Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1 MMA, 7-6 UFC) as opposing Head Coaches, recently wrapped up filming in Brazil. Sonnen and Silva will headline a UFC card on May 31 in a yet to be determined city in Brazil.
Bart Palaszewski, a former WEC and UFC fighter, has officially announced his retirement from MMA. One of only two fighters to beat current UFC Champion Anthony Pettis, Palaszewski (36-17) most recently fought at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, where he was submitted by Cole Miller. Soon after that loss, he was released from his UFC contract. He hadn’t fought since.