Coming off a career year, Alex Smith's
fantasy production is likely to take a significant hit in
Though not official until the start of the new NFL year (March
14), the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to trade their 2017 starting
quarterback, Alex Smith, to the Washington Redskins for a third-round
pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller.
For the two teams involved, it seems like a win-win situation.
The Chiefs bring in a start-worthy cornerback in Fuller (Pro
Football Focus' No. 5 slot cover corner) for a 34-year-old quarterback
with a lot of mileage (despite a Ďcareer-yearí in
2017). The trade allows the Chiefs to get a good look at their
future, by starting 2017 first-round draft choice (10th overall),
For Washington, the trade for, and signing of, the 12-year veteran
Smith to a large four-year, $94-million extension through 2022
is still likely a considerable monetary savings over what it might
cost to retain the services of their 2017 starter, Kirk Cousins
(who made $23.9 million in 2017 under a second consecutive franchise
tag). It would cost them $34 million in 2018 if they had to franchise
tag him a third consecutive year. And the bidding for free-agent
Cousins will be ridiculously overpriced.
But what are the fantasy implications?
Alex Smith in Washington
Smith leaves Andy Reidís offense for Washington where the
receiving corps struggled last season. Smith averaged 3,522 yards
on 487 attempts with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions in
five seasons with Kansas City. He produced a number of career
high totals this season; completions (341), yards (4,042), touchdowns
(26), yards per attempt (8.0), TD-to-INT ratio (5.2-to-1), QB
Rating 104.7 and fantasy points (347.6). He averaged 23.2 FPts/G,
fourth among quarterbacks. Another positive, his new head coach,
Jay Gruden, has averaged 563 passing attempts over the past three
seasons with Cousins under center, a 15% increase over Smithís
average in Kansas City.
In addition, Kansas Cityís offensive line ranked 17th in
pass protection, according to PFF, whereas Washington was just
Therefore, unless Washington adds weapons or his receivers significantly
improve, Smithís fantasy production is likely to take a significantly
hit in 2018.
Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City
Meanwhile, back in Missouri, the ďMahomes EraĒ begins.
In his only career NFL start, the Texas Tech product produced
284 yards on 22-of-35 passing, in an offense that didnít
include Kelce, Hill or Kareem Hunt. He also threw well in preseason
(34-of-54 for 390 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions).
After passing for 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns for the Red Raiders,
big things are expected from Mahomes. Given the running threat
of Hunt and the pass-catching abilities of Hill and Kelce, even
if the Chiefs donít add another receiving weapon they should
still be pretty strong. KC scored 415 points last season, with
four touchdowns coming from defense and special teams so the offense
managed a respectable 391 points (24.4 ppg). Despite the growing
pains of a first-time starter, Mahomesí stronger arm and
gunslinger attitude should more than make up for his lack of experience
to fantasy owners.
Expect slightly more touchdown passes and yards from Mahomes
than Smith produced in 2017, but also significantly more interceptions.
Huntís fantasy value should increase, not just to protect
his young quarterback, but because we all saw that when Kansas
City reduced his workload in the middle of the season, the offense
floundered. He averaged 25.5 touches in nine wins (I didnít
include Week 17 when he had one carry) and 15.6 touches in six
losses. If we can see it, so can the Chiefs.
Kelce and Hill should be “slump proof” despite the
quarterback change. They are simply too good.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.