Week 6 Fantasy Football Matchups

Something's happening with Alex Smith in San Francisco. After years and years of wimpy play combined with injuries and constant change of offensive systems, Smith has shown that he has a firm grip on what's being asked of him by new coach Jim Harbaugh. And it's starting to show up in his stats.

Smith is running the West Coast offense very efficiently, completing nearly 66 percent of his passes on the season -- nine percentage points higher than his career average heading into 2011. Harbaugh's plan has him throwing lots of short passes to all of his targets with the intention of letting them make a play after the catch. He's cut down on his turnovers (two interceptions) and has been especially solid over his last two games against the Eagles and Buccaneers pass defenses (five touchdowns, no interceptions). One big key for Smith: His offensive line, which has mostly protected him well over those last two games.

He's got a challenge this week in the Lions, whose secondary has been good but not amazing. Their pass rush has been fierce but not stifling. And they've been struggling in covering tight ends, which happens to be the position the 49ers have a pair of big targets in with Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, whose playing time will remain plentiful with Joshua Morgan out with an injury. That Morgan injury will sting Smith, but the combination of Smith's newfound accuracy and his ability to disperse the ball to all of his weapons effectively (with Davis and Walker key parts of that) he should be good for a couple of touchdowns this week with some good passing yardage to go with it. And you know he'll have to throw -- only one quarterback didn't attempt at least 36 passes against the Lions so far this season.

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Senior Fantasy Writer

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

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