The End of The Alex Smith Experiment

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles

Oct 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) is congratulated by quarterback Alex Smith (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith had been playing like a QB1 in fantasy football during the first five weeks of the 2013 NFL regular season, and that’s important for 2-QB leagues, because Smith was somebody being drafted as a low-end QB2/high-end QB3.

One of the goals of any 2-QB fantasy footballer is to wind up with two QB1s as your starting quarterback duo. Of course, that’s more difficult than it sounds, because everybody in your 2-QB league wants to do the same thing. Sometimes, though, you can stumble upon a QB1, and that’s exactly what has happened in the case of Alex Smith this year.

The point of The Alex Smith Experiment on XN Sports was to give readers an up close and personal view of a weekly QB2 streaming decision, with this particular team using Smith and Sam Bradford as its QB2 streaming options.

My 2-QB team in the XN League of Champions saw me wrestle with the decision to start Smith or Bradford each week at QB2, based on strength of schedule and recent play. It was becoming apparent to me  that Smith was going to be starting the majority of weeks, and my QB2 streaming experiment was coming to an end.

During the course of the season, Mike Glennon and Brandon Weeden were added to my 2-QB team, to go along with Bradford and Smith. Rostering four QB2s wasn’t the most ideal situation for my team, and I was looking to unload one of the four. Preferably anybody but Smith.

Fellow XN Sports writer Felipe Melecio and I engaged in trade talks, where I was looking for a wide receiver and he wanted an upgrade at QB2. After we threw out some trade scenarios that broke the ice, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: DeSean Jackson for Alex Smith.

You would never see such a trade go down in a 1-QB league, as Smith is nothing more than a waiver wire quarterback in the majority of 1-QB leagues, but the value of quarterbacks in 2-QB leagues is usually high, even the non-heralded quarterbacks.

All I was looking for to upgrade my team was a wide receiver, after losing Julio Jones for the year. Jordy Nelson at WR1 was leading my wide receiver depth chart, but I was rotating the WR2 and WR3 slot for the majority of the season, and wanted to put a stop to that.

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Brandon Marshall, Hakeem Nicks, DeSean Jackson,and Brian Hartline were just a few of the wide-outs Felipe had on his team, and he was looking to bolster his quarterback stable that was made up of Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. With his depth at wide receiver, and mine at quarterback, it made it that much easier to facilitate a trade between our two teams.

If you had high hopes for Flacco in fantasy football leagues, you’ve been disappointed with his overall play. With Ryan being without Julio Jones for the rest of the season, not having a fully healthy Roddy White by his side, and playing behind a shaky offensive line, he’s also a quarterback sliding down the fantasy rankings. It’s easy to see why Felipe was looking to trade for a quarterback.

As much as I didn’t want to say goodbye to Alex Smith, who is now QB14 in standard scoring leagues after six weeks, my 2-QB team’s depth at the quarterback position allowed me the freedom to make the trade. A Bradford/Weeden/Glennon QB2 streaming combo might not sound all that enticing, but if I play the match-ups right, it might not be all that bad in the end.

There’s still a lot of football left to be played this season, but the time to make a move for my 2-QB team was now. Hopefully this turns out to be one of those win-win trades for both our teams, and gives you a glimpse into the trading rooms of 2-QB leagues.

This is the final installment of ‘The Alex Smith Experiment.’ Don’t fret though, as there will be a new series in its place going forward. Breaking down the Alex Smith for DeSean Jackson trade was a gentle ushering in of a future 2-QB series that will delve into how trades work in 2-QB leagues.

Roster construction doesn’t end at the conclusion of your fantasy draft, as you always have to continually tweak your line-up, and trades play a big part of that in 2-QB leagues. You can see how the Smith-Jackson trade benefited both sides, and each week we’ll look at trades in 2-QB leagues to see how they came to be, why they were beneficial to both teams, and how you can use that information to your advantage in your 2-QB league.

Trading in fantasy football is a topic that doesn’t get broached all that often, especially not on a regular basis. Matthew Berry of ESPN wrote something about it last week, and Austin Lee of Pro Football Focus wrote a series of trade articles this off-season. Both are recommended reads.

In the meantime, work the trade wires in your 2-QB league, and hopefully you’ll be able to come up with a trade that makes your team better.

Stats used in this article from 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.
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