Alex Smith Trade: Unpacking What It Means For 2018 Fantasy Football

An Alex Smith trade rocked the NFL during a relatively quiet Super Bowl week, as the Chiefs moved the former No. 1 overall pick to Washington for a

Once again, it seems, Andy Reid has pulled one over on the Washington Redskins. In 2010, Reid convinced the Eagles brass to trade an aging Donovan McNabb to Philly’s NFC East division rivals in Washington (for a second- and third-rounder) in a brilliantly executed act of sabotage!

(Interestingly, the Redskins moved McNabb the very next summer to Minnesota for a sixth-round pick. Unbelievably, that draft pick turned out to be stud rookie RB Alfred Morris!)

9 Fantasy Football Players Affected the Most By the Alex Smith Trade

While two NFL teams were certainly affected all over by this trade, here are the eight players I believe are affected the most from a Fantasy Football perspective.

Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins

Just when life seemed to be going well in K.C., with Smith turning in his greatest NFL season to date, Reid trades him to the Redskins to make room for second-year QB Patrick Mahomes. Before this trade, Smith was a prospective backup Fantasy QB, despite his huge season. What’s interesting is that everyone points to his huge games followed by mediocrity. But he ranked fourth in consistency, which means, among other things, that his eight good-enough-to-be-a-Fantasy-starter games ranked better than all NFL QBs but Tom Brady and Carson Wentz.

While Smith will remain the main cog in a West Coast offense, Jay Gruden’s players are a far cry from Kansas City’s. Smith remains a backup Fantasy QB, probably after the first 15 QBs are gone. Then again, the 0-16 Browns were reportedly close to trading for Smith, which certainly would have doomed his Fantasy potential.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

It’s tough to gauge a player by just one NFL start, but the Texas Tech product moves into the Chiefs’ starting lineup, and he’ll have a bevy of talented youngsters around him. The Chiefs traded up 17 spots to get him last April, and now they moved their offensive ignitor in a trade, in order to make room for Mahomes.

Mahomes beat the Broncos in Week 17, throwing for 284 yards and an interception, but while that might have been underwhelming, at least he didn’t pull a Nathan Peterman. Mahomes can run, also, which heightens our Fantasy expectations some. Even so, it’s hard to consider drafting Mahomes, unless you play in 2-QB leagues.

As far as that tweet goes, I’ll still probably rank Smith a couple spots ahead of Mahomes in Fantasy rankings this offseason. I’d rather roll with the player I know can excel as a starting NFL quarterback than one with one game under his belt.
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Kirk Cousins, QB, NFL Free Agent

The Redskins didn’t want him, choosing to pay a soon-to-be 34-year-old QB coming off a career year instead, which closes the door on the Cousins Era in D.C.

Here’s a quick list of teams with QB needs, listed in order of my personal Fantasy Football preference for Cousins!

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Minnesota Vikings
  3. New York Giants
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars
  5. Arizona Cardinals
  6. Buffalo Bills
  7. Y. Jets

Signing with Denver means inheriting Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, plus GM John Elway as a quarterback mentor. The Vikings and Jaguars are ready-made offenses waiting for a solid signal-caller, but I give the edge to the Vikings because I think the Jaguars will lean toward their running game for years to come under Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone. The Giants are so high because they’ll have world-class Odell Beckham Jr. returning from injury. Arizona loses Bruce Arians to retirement and John Brown likely to free agency, leaving Larry Fitzgerald (who turns 35 in August).

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

One of the best rookie stories from last season, Hunt finished as the third-best running back in Fantasy play – as a rookie! I would’ve drafted him sixth before this trade news, and I’ll have to reconsider a bit going forward, but this offense is going to continue to lean on the running game going forward. A young QB under center could mean more men in the box to defend the run, but Tyreek Hill will continue to stretch defenses, and Hunt could also benefit from a lot of dump passes by a hurried Mahomes.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

It’s no secret that Alex Smith wasn’t much of a deep-ball guy in his entire time with the Chiefs, but he did open more with Hill on the other end of those passes. The scouting report on Mahomes is that he can throw the deep ball with some accuracy, which means better things ahead for Hill, who just broke out with a huge 2017 season that saw him finish FOURTH among Fantasy WRs.

Hill will have a really tough time repeating that effort with a first-time starter under center, but expecting another top-20 season is reasonable.

Terrelle Pryor, WR, NFL Free Agent

I wasn’t a Pryor fan… prior to this trade, and I’m still not one — especially since he’s probably done with the Redskins. But I wanted to talk about him anyway!

Kirk Cousins ranked first in total Air Yards in 2016, with Smith ranking 26th that year, and Pryor ranked as one of the wide receivers with the most Yards At the Catch in 2016 with Cleveland, making them the perfect pairing (supposedly) in Washington. It didn’t happen, as Pryor had injuries, and a difficult time making the transition to a new team, while still learning a new position (he was an NFL QB as last as 2015).

Also, Pryor excelled at catching balls in tight windows (within one yard of a defender) in 2016, but Alex Smith’s 12.5% Aggressive Rating proves that’s not a strongpoint of his. Only C.J. Beathard had a lower AGG Rating last season. Bottom line, Smith is probably going to be adept in this Redskins offense, and if Pryor returns to Washington (he’s a free agent again), he should make strides in his second year on this team, but drafting him as anything more than a WR4/WR5 is a mistake depending on where he lands.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

Much like Stefon Diggs in Minnesota, Crowder’s team needed continued convincing that he’s a solid NFL wide receiver that can be leaned on heavily. He’s also entering a contract year, which should put an even bigger chip on the Duke product’s shoulder. Don’t believe the “down year” hype on him, since he had to deal with being a forgotten man as the Terrelle Pryor Experiment began. Smith’s arrival shouldn’t change much for Crowder’s Fantasy value as a top-35 WR in Fantasy play for 2018.

Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins

With six touchdown catches and all 16 games played in 2017, Doctson allowed Redskins execs to feel OK with him as a starter in 2018. Smith’s arrival isn’t as good for Doctson as if Cousins had stayed, since Doctson will work on the outside and downfield. But even so, Doctson was a popular “2018 breakout WR” choice for a lot of people before this draft, but people are bailing left and right on him now. I prefer that kind of trend in these cases, and I’ll draft the third-year wideout. Drafting him as a WR4 with great upside works for me.

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Prepare for a lot of words, only to tell you there’s nothing new here. Kelce finished 2017 just behind Rob Gronkowski in Fantasy points, and he’s the only tight end with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons entering 2018.

The exit of Alex Smith is a kick to Kelce’s Fantasy value, but getting a young quarterback that will be forced to lean on his tight end a lot when plays break down brings his value right back up to where it was. He’s a late third-rounder or early fourth-rounder with either of these quarterbacks under center, in my opinion.

Let me know if you agree or disagree with me about the Fantasy values affected by the Alex Smith trade. You can either tweeting at me @DavidGonos or by commenting below! Photo Credit:
Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg

David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.

By | 2018-01-31T16:25:14+00:00 January 31st, 2018|2018|

One Comment

  1. John January 31, 2018 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Lean on Kelvie all game long, all season long!

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