Fantasy Football Fallout: Is Alex Smith a top-12 quarterback with the Redskins?

The Redskins might have saved some cap space and staved off questions about their quarterback situation for a couple of years, but did they become a Fantasy wasteland in the process? 

Alex Smith is locked into the starting quarterback job for the Redskins after Washington traded cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick for the soon-to-be 34-year-old. The Kansas City and Washington offenses aren't too far off schematically, so one might assume the Redskins won't have to change their offense much for Smith. 

But are Smith and Kirk Cousins really the same kind of quarterback? 

If we're basing it off career numbers, there's no comparison. Cousins has more 4,000-yard seasons, a better completion rate and has more yards per pass attempt -- and he's four years younger. 

If we're basing it off of 2017, the two quarterbacks are close. On 35 fewer pass attempts, Smith had just 51 fewer yards and one fewer touchdown while completing nearly three percent more of his passes. He also had more success with the deep ball (53.2 completion rate and 12 touchdowns compared to Cousins' 37.8 percent rate and 10 scores) and averaged 2.4 more Fantasy points per week.

Of course, we can't mention all of that without recognizing the talent that surrounded them. With the Chiefs, Smith had one of the fastest players in football in Tyreek Hill and one of the best tight ends in Travis Kelce to target. Compared to who Cousins had to throw to -- a litany of mediocre and injury-prone players -- it's no surprise Smith outpaced his numbers.

And that's why it's impossible to buy into Smith keeping up his amazing stats without Hill and Kelce. There's some potential in a receiving corps including Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed, but it's not even close to being the sure thing Smith worked with in '17. There isn't concern about Smith struggling to learn the offense or becoming a shell of himself, but there is massive concern about his output reaching a top-12 level in Fantasy. It's unlikely unless the Redskins make some sweeping offensive personnel changes.

As a matter of fact, Smith's departure should open things up for second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes to break out. He's the guy who will throw to Hill, Kelce, Kareem Hunt and whoever else the Chiefs add this offseason. If he's anything like the 62.9 percent passer we saw in Week 17 -- without Hill and Kelce -- then he's got a better shot to help Fantasy owners than Smith will in D.C. Expect Mahomes to get drafted first.

To be fair, Smith hasn't really had a lot of great receivers to work with over his career, especially compared to the tight ends he's thrown to. But it's not like Washington boasts a bunch of gamebreaking receivers anyway. It all means that Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, provided they're still on the Redskins roster in 2018, could really benefit from Smith's arrival based on his tendencies.

Naturally, this is assuming Reed stays healthy and Davis, who is 34 years old, doesn't give in to Father Time. The Redskins might choose to move on from one or both tight ends this offseason if they wish to maneuver their salary cap space in a different direction. For now, Reed actually gains some appeal in Fantasy circles but is still closer to the low end of the No. 1 tight end group given his inability to stay on the field. Round 8 or 9 is when Davis will get nabbed in Fantasy drafts. Davis would only get selected if he were the No. 1 tight end for ol' D.C.

Absolutely nothing about Smith's arrival should excite Fantasy owners regarding the future of Doctson or Crowder. Smith has authored two 1,000-yard seasons for his receivers in 12 years (Jeremy Maclin in 2015, Tyreek Hill in 2017) and neither Doctson nor Crowder did enough this season to inspire hope for a big season. Now that Cousins is gone and Smith is in, it's tough to expect a big season from any current Washington receiver. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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