The Washington Redskins finalized a trade for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on the first day of free agency, replacing Kirk Cousins with the 14-year veteran.
Smith has flashed a time or two in his NFL career, but fantasy gamers have largely been allergic to him for the span of a full season. Last year, though, Smith started hot and erratically kept it up during the year, finishing with a career-best 4,042 yards and 26 aerial scores. Always protective of the ball, Smith threw caution to the wind and averaged 8.0 yards per attempt while being picked off just every 101 throws, both personal bests. In the end, he enjoyed his finest fantasy season to date.
What to expect in Washington
Head coach Jay Gruden is likely to call plays again and has his work cut out. The Redskins simply don’t have enough depth or elite weaponry to believe Smith has a puncher’s chance of sniffing last year’s stats. Unless something drastically changes by way of the NFL draft or another trade, fantasy owners should expect Smith to return to his days of being a game manager.
History isn’t on his side, either. It rarely works out where a player has a career year at 33 and it translates into being the start of something special. Smith turns 34 in May and will be throwing to the likes of Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson at wide receiver. He has an elite be equally brittle tight end in Jordan Reed and is reunited with Vernon Davis from their days in San Francisco.
The running back position has no clear starter. One can presume Samaje Perine will be given every chance to earn the primary nod, and Chris Thompson is working his way back after fracturing his leg in November in the midst of a career year. Rob Kelley could factor in between the 20s, or the Redskins may opt to add someone in the draft. The offensive line was an unmitigated disaster in 2017 and also carries tremendous uncertainty into the upcoming months.
The sum of the parts is anything but special, and unless a few players outplay expectations by a great deal, Smith will be asked to do a lot with little. In an era featuring so many viable fantasy starters at his position, Smith returns to backup status a season after posting the fourth-most fantasy points per game in 2017.