A widely used NFL rule is a player can never lose his job strictly to injury, but that is essentially what happened to quarterback Alex Smith with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. He got off to a solid start, completing just over 70 percent of his passes with 13 touchdown passes over the first nine games before being sidelined by a concussion in Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams. Smith missed the following game against the Chicago Bears, opening the door for Colin Kaepernick to start and the rest is history.
Smith will get a fresh start after being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, where he will be the starting quarterback for new head coach Andy Reid. Can the move boost the former #1 overall pick’s fantasy value?
Reid regularly ran one of the most pass-happy offenses in the league during his time as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and that is unlikely to change in Kansas City. The Chiefs have some intriguing offensive weapons, led by running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, and more importantly the team is committed to Smith as their starter with only unproven options (Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray) behind him on the depth chart.
Injuries and a lack of continuity through his time with the 49ers certainly played a role at times, but Smith has only topped 3,000 passing yards once in his career and his career-best for passing touchdowns came in 2009 (18). The fact his yards per attempt is on the rise (7.1 in 2011, 8.0 last season) hints at some upside with more chances to throw the ball, and if the early training camp buzz is to be believed Smith will get plenty of opportunities to throw this season.
Even with the virtual certainty of a career-high in pass attempts this year, assuming he stays healthy and Reid continues to stand behind him as the starter, Smith should not be considered more than a solid QB2 with some upside in fantasy leagues.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.