For years, Smith's fantasy football appeal has ranked right up there with Phil Dawson's. Some may liken his longevity to a cat having nine lives as opposed to career stability. But now Andy Reid is head Chief. And through a high-volume passing philosophy tailored to Smith's strengths, everything changes.
The 2013 Sleeping Seven is brought to you by a five-time Fantasy Football Champion. It documents criminally unheralded players with an Average Draft Position (ADP) past the fourth round. Combine a team of reliable studs with a steady diet of late-round overachievers, and a juggernaut awaits.
Alex Smith's departure from the San Francisco 49ers was similar to Jennifer Aniston's divorce from Brad Pitt, only for Pitt to upgrade to a real actress in Angelina Jolie.
Smith had always been the Achilles' heel on an otherwise loaded 49ers squad in desperate need of an elite quarterback. As efficient as he was, it wasn't difficult to argue that the run-first, defensive-minded team was winning in spite of him. Head coach Jim Harbaugh handcuffed Smith, who was (barely) trusted to manage an offense in an era—and more importantly a sport—where Super Bowls are unkind to the statistically challenged.
Though he completed 70-percent of his passes in 2012, Smith only averaged 174 yards per game while averaging just over 21 attempts per game.
Smith's Week 10 concussion ushered in the Colin Kaepernick era. The 49ers went on to come within one controversial offensive series of a Super Bowl win, and they haven't looked back since. The quarterback upgrade had arrived, answering the prayers of 49ers fans and personnel alike.
Meanwhile, Alex Smith would be rendered expendable.
Lost in the ascendancy of Kaepernick were the strides in improvement Smith seemed to be taking prior to his injury. He threw a whopping two incompletions in two games.
Coming off his best game of the season—an 18-of-19 outing for 232 yards, three touchdowns and no picks against the Cardinals—Smith was off to another relatively hot start. He completed seven of his first eight passes for a touchdown before going down with concussion-related symptoms against the Rams.
The hard-luck ending to Alex Smith's season is all the motivation the former No. 1 pick needs for yet another rebirth. Andy Reid's pass-first philosophy will only facilitate that process.
Compare that to the 24.8 attempts per game Smith was limited to under Jim Harbaugh. More importantly, starting quarterbacks in the Andy Reid era achieved top-10 fantasy production for all but three seasons.
While not as explosive as a Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb, Smith is similar to the type of mobile quarterback that Reid has routinely coached to pro bowls. Smith will have Dwayne Bowe at his disposal, which is even more of a coup for Reid, who spent the majority of his stay in Philly without an elite wide receiver.
Jamaal Charles's proficiency in the short passing game mixed with tight end Anthony Fasano will give Smith playmaking check-down options in the event that he reverts to game manager mode.
Alex Smith has learned so many NFL offenses and cadences, if the NFL were a country he'd be its ambassador. It has been part of the unfair, untold story of his inability to live up to his first-overall selection through the majority of his career.
#Chiefs coach Andy Reid on the intelligence of new QB Alex Smith: “He doesn’t run out of gigabytes.”— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) August 13, 2013
Reid has long coveted Smith, according to the Kansas City Star. An elite, offensive-minded coach known for bringing the best out of quarterbacks has evaded Alex Smith throughout his entire career.
Anything less than his best fantasy season ever is almost impossible.
2013 Projection: 3,900 Yds; 28 TD; 12 INT
#SleepingSeven: Alex Smith (QB; 16.12 ADP) | RB | RB | WR | WR | WR | TE | DEF