Posted by Andy Rioux
Friday, July 17, 2015 - 1:50pm
As he heads into his third season in Kansas City, Alex Smith remains one of those “better in real life than fantasy” guys. Is Smith’s lack of statistical production the result of Smith being the most tentative quarterback in the NFL or because he was playing overly conservative because he had so little to work with? As is often the case both in life and football, the truth may be somewhere in the middle. Smith aims to play mistake-free football, and that is admirable, especially since he led Kansas City to the playoffs in 2013 and kept them respectable again last year. But until Smith starts showing some semblance of aggression, the Chiefs may not reach their potential and fantasy owners will keep generally holding him in low regard. Could some reinforcements bring Smith out of his shell?
One of the most amazing statistics from the 2014 season was that none of the Kansas City wide receivers caught a touchdown pass. While Smith gets some blame for that, it is not his fault his supporting cast was so weak. Fortunately, the Chiefs have cleaned house out wide. Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery are gone. Former Philadelphia Eagle Jeremy Maclin gives Smith a genuine threat. Kansas City selected Georgia’s Chris Conley in the third round of the draft, and Conley has a good chance of starting on opening day. Young Albert Wilson improved as the season went on and savvy veteran Jason Avant is also on hand. After last year, things can only get better, especially with talented tight end Travis Kelce on the rise.
While Smith’s numbers ought to improve, he has only thrown more than 20 touchdown passes once in his entire career, and Alex has been in the league since 2005. The improved players around him should help him top the 20 mark again, but to think Smith is suddenly going to turn into a statistical stud is unrealistic. He does not have a gunslinger mentality and Jamaal Charles still anchors Kansas City’s attack. The Chiefs have a very rough slate to begin the season, with Houston, Cincinnati, and Green Bay on the road plus Denver at home. If you elect to draft and stash suspended Tom Brady, Smith is far from ideal as a short-term fix with that schedule. Other tough tilts for the Chiefs include Buffalo, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, a rematch with Denver, and a trip to Britain to play Detroit.
With fewer scrubs around him, Smith is a bit more appealing as a QB2 in 2015. Nevertheless, he remains largely the same player he has been since coming to Kansas City, a firm fantasy backup outside of two-quarterback leagues who is capable of some nice moments but not enough of them.