The Alex Smith Experiment: Week 3 Recap and Week 4 Preview

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith

Sep 19, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Chiefs defeated the Eagles 26-16. Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been following the ‘Alex Smith Experiment’ you know that this series delves into the mind of a 2-QB fantasy league QB2 streamer, with Alex Smith and Sam Bradford at the heart of the QB2 streaming options. Last week you were treated to me talking myself into starting Alex Smith, and he did get the start as my team’s Week 3 QB2. Nothing changed there, and it was all well and good.

However, the ‘Alex Smith Experiment’ in Week 3 took a twist that went against the normal fantasy commandment that states ‘Though Shall Not Bench Your Studs.’ When selecting your fantasy team’s starting line-up it’s easy to over-think things, and talk yourself in doing something crazy. In Week 3, for me, that was benching Russell Wilson, who’s the QB1 bedrock of my 2-QB squad.

Wilson’s the fantasy quarterback stud I drafted to lead this particular team, and start every week, minus his bye week. Except, I benched him Week 3. Playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The same week he threw four touchdowns. Four touchdowns.

Yes, you read that last paragraph correctly. My stud fantasy quarterback was benched.

Why?

I can list off a number of reasons that might make sense … I was worried the Seahawks might run away from the Jaguars, and rest their starters, Wilson included, at some point. I was worried that the Seahawks would rely more on the run, in order to kill clock. I liked Sam Bradford’s match-up against the Cowboys too much to leave him on the bench.

All valid reasons, and in fantasy football, you base your decisions off the information you have at hand, and hope it works out for you. If I had lost my match-up because Smith scored less points than Bradford, that I could live with. If I lost my match-up because Bradford scored less than Wilson, and the point differential would have been the difference between a Week 3 win and Week 3 loss, well, that I would beat myself up over.

At the end of the day it all worked out and my team was able to pull out a victory. Yes, even with Wilson on the bench, who wound up the highest scoring quarterback on my team, having scored 21 points.

Smith and Bradford, on the other hand, actually scored the same amount of points, at 13 apiece. The difference between Bradford and Wilson was only eight points, which seems little when you remember that Wilson threw four touchdowns. The damage could have been even worse if Wilson wasn’t pulled late in the third quarter.

As for the ‘Alex Smith Experiment’, as mentioned earlier, all the thought that went into choosing between Smith and Bradford didn’t mean a whole lot, as their final fantasy points total was similar.

No matter how you dice it, Week 3 was an interesting one, especially when it came to fantasy quarterbacks. In standard scoring leagues, Jake Locker was the third highest scoring quarterback, Geno Smith was QB5, Christian Ponder was QB6, and Tarvaris Jackson, Wilson’s back-up, was QB16. Add EJ Manual (QB10), and Brian Hoyer (QB11), and you have six Top-15 fantasy quarterbacks that nobody had ranked that high.

Going into Week 4, the QB2 decision between Smith and Bradford originally saw Smith get the nod, and that’s not changing. Bradford and the St. Louis Rams are playing the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night this week, while Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs go up against the New York Giants.

It was an easy decision going into the season, and an even easier one now, seeing as how the Giants are unable to stop anybody on defense. In three weeks, opponents have scored no less than 36 points against the GMEN, and they’ve allowed 786 passing yards, and 7 passing touchdowns. Opposing fantasy quarterbacks versus the Giants in three weeks this year have scored an average of 21 fantasy points.

The 49ers on the other hand, have given up an average of 16 fantasy points to Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. Bradford’s not quite in that quarterback company yet.

On paper, the decision to start Smith seems like an easy one to make, which probably means Bradford will have a career game. But you have to trust your instincts and the numbers. In this case, Smith is a more appealing QB2 streaming option than Bradford.

Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData.com

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Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and believes that 2-QB fantasy football leagues will be the future of fantasy football. You can read about his 2-QB fantasy football opinions and analysis at XNSports.com.
6 comments
JB
JB

Starting 1 qb, i chose Smith over Wilson last week (3) for those same various reasons and thankfully still won last week (by .56 pts) phew! Otherwise i would be beating myself up over it, but now have that same choice again. I have Smith in still, do you think its a safe call?

Dex
Dex

I have Rodgers as my usual QB in a one QB league, but its his bye week. So I currently have Alex Smith as my current QB. But I am thinking about swapping him from EJ Manual? What are your thoughts? Should I swap or not?

Ton
Ton

I like Smith a lot more than most, definitely a QB2. I'd play him over Bradford most weeks, personally, just because of his charmin soft schedule. What do you think about streaming Smith and Tannehill? Tannehill can be had on the cheap right now, he looks good so far but hasn't translated to fantasy just yet, do you think it can?

Salvatore Stefanile
Salvatore Stefanile

I don't blame you. They way it's set up, Smith will start most weeks. This is just a way to see how streaming a QB2 goes for a whole season. I enjoy experimenting with fantasy football ideas. I love the idea of getting Tannehill. He might be at that point where you just play him every week as your QB2, minus the tough match-ups, which aren't that many. Having a guy like Smith ready to go when Tannehill's bad match-ups take place will be a big boon. I like your thinking.