Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Breakdown: The regular season of fantasy football is coming to an end in many leagues. With that in mind we realize that, minus the opportunity that may arise due to injury, the players with something to bring to the table this fantasy season are pretty much well known to all. Therefore our perspective must change a bit, leading us to look beyond just this season but to next season as well. Whether for keeper league purposes, trade purposes, or whatever other purposes may be pertinent, we’ll be taking a weekly look at players and situations that fantasy owners should be aware of in order to be on top of their game moving forward.
Alex Smith (SFO) – It has been a roller coaster ride for Alex Smith since being drafted first overall in the 2005 draft. The team didn’t completely through him into the fire immediately, but didn’t wait too long, about half a season, after which he struggled as most rookies do for a couple of years. The struggle was made worse by the ever changing offensive schemes he had to learn year in and year out as the team changed coaches. Then, as if that wasn’t enough tribulation to endure, he hurt his shoulder, had surgery, and missed all of last season. Some started writing him off, but the team did everything they could to make sure he stayed with them, and even though he didn’t win the starting job in the preseason this year, it was a tight race before the team finally settled on Shaun Hill to start the season.
Hill, however, couldn’t keep the job, and Smith was given the reigns after the team’s bye week and he hasn’t looked back. In fact, in a standard scoring league, he’s been one of the top scoring quarterbacks overall since week seven. It is as though he finally has figured out the trick to being an effective quarterback and is making it work on the field. It doesn’t hurt that he has a receiver like Michael Crabtree to through to either. His 15 TD/9 INT ratio puts him on pace to finish the season with around 19 and 11 on the year, which isn’t bad all things considered.
When you look at the 49ers, they are a team on the rise. On offense, they have a quarterback who seems to ‘get it’, who is young (he’ll be 26 when the 2010 season starts), and who the team likes. They have two very good receivers both in the first year or two of their career (Crabtree and Josh Morgan), a young tight end who seems to have finally figured out how to reach his potential (Vernon Davis), and one of the top running backs in the league (Frank Gore). All this paints a picture of someone who by next year, assuming he doesn’t experience a setback of any significance, will be poised to finish the year as one of the top ten fantasy quarterbacks in the league. All systems are “go” for this launch, secure him for your roster now if you can.