Alex Smith was traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs today for a second round pick (#34 overall) in 2013 and a conditional third-round pick in the 2014 draft. The trade won’t become official until the new league year opens on March 12th, but that’s a mere formality. While the trade of Smith was hardly a shock after the emergence of Colin Kaepernick, the price tag the Chiefs had to pay is a huge surprise. While few thought Smith would start the season in San Francisco, there were undoubtedly fewer who thought there would be any way for the 49ers to leverage Smith into such a bounty. This trade obviously has some big ramifications in dynasty leagues.
Let’s take a look at the players whose values have moved one way or another after this deal:
Alex Smith, QB KC
There’s no doubt Smith will be under center for the Chiefs when they open up the 2013 season. When you give up as much as the Chiefs did to acquire him, he won’t be holding a clipboard for anyone else. Andy Reid is no stranger to having pressure thrown at him for a quarterback to perform well and this will be no different. On the positive side, Smith is signed to a relatively good deal as he’s slated to make just $7.5 million in 2013 and another $7.5 million in 2014. You would imagine Smith will be a short term answer for the Chiefs as they attempt to rebuild from the ground up. He’s no savior at the position, but he’s not a terrible option, either. There are varying opinions on just how good Smith is, but there’s little doubt this is an upgrade over Matt Cassel.
Smith’s dynasty value obviously has to rise a bit with this move. We currently have him ranked as the 29th best dynasty quarterback and he’ll likely move up a few spots over the next few months, though a drastic move won’t be in order here. Over his seven year career, Smith has thrown for 14,280 yards, 81 touchdowns and 63 interceptions, making him the poster child for a good, but not great quarterback in both reality and fantasy. The Chiefs obviously hope the Smith we’ve seen of late (30 touchdowns and just ten interceptions over the past two years) shows up at Arrowhead.
He deserves a look as a low-end QB2 in dynasty leagues. A reasonable expectation from Smith would be a season with around 3,000 passing yards, a touchdown total of between 15 and 20 and an interception total of around 8-10. While those totals aren’t going to win you any titles, you could do worse for a bye week fill-in for your dynasty starter. If you suddenly hope Smith is going to finally fulfill his potential of being an overall #1 pick, you’re likely going to be left very disappointed. He is surely going to manage the game very well, but will be asked to do what he does best – maintain a solid intermediate passing game and check the ball down to Jamaal Charles. Chiefs fans who are doing backflips and dreaming of Super Bowl trophies will be disappointed that his yards per attempt for his career is actually lower than the man he’s replacing in Matt Cassel. Simply put, he’s a pretty good quarterback in a system that doesn’t ask him to overextend his own limitations.
Matt Cassel, QB KC
We’ve been wrong a lot here at DLF and have no problem admitting it. However, we were spot on with Cassel when we called him an immediate sell after he was moved from New England in 2009. He’s regressed since a solid 2010 season and hit rock bottom last year when he threw for just 1,796 yards, six touchdowns and 12 interceptions in nine games last year. Cassel is best served as a backup player and will likely be just that next season. Early speculation has the Jets, Vikings, Cardinals and Patriots as potential suitors for him once his release becomes official. If he is anywhere near a starting job, it’s quite simply a very bad sign for that team – they would likely be the front runner for the first pick in the 2014 draft if they took on a player with a confidence issue like Cassel to be their new starter. He belongs on the waiver wire in dynasty leagues.
Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
Stop the presses if you started making those pirated Geno Smith Kansas City jerseys in your basement. While the Chiefs may take a quarterback in the draft, they have just two picks in the first 95 in 2013 and they have a boatload of needs – don’t expect Smith to be heading to the Midwest any time soon. In fact, this could lock in Luke Joeckel as the first pick in the draft, especially if the Chiefs fail to re-sign Brandon Albert.
Nick Foles, QB PHI
It certainly looks like Foles’ best chance of being a starter next year just went away. While he’s surely going to get some action if he stays in Philadelphia since Michael Vick will undoubtedly get injured, his value is really at its lowest point right now.
Jamaal Charles, RB KC
Things couldn’t have gotten worse at the quarterback position for Charles last year and Smith should be a nice little upgrade for him in the short term, especially in PPR leagues. He should get a lot of check downs and will undoubtedly be the focal point of the offense for Andy Reid. While expecting vintage Brian Westbrook-like numbers from him might be a little greedy, this move shouldn’t have an adverse affect on his value at all.
Dwayne Bowe, WR KC
While some are saying this would be awful for Dwayne Bowe, I don’t necessarily agree. While Smith isn’t going to air out the ball and remind anyone of “The Greatest Show on Turf,” Bowe isn’t a player who simply depends on the deep pass to be productive. If Bowe re-signs with the Chiefs, he should be a red zone and target monster for Smith and would still be able to put up decent numbers. While this doesn’t make Bowe a potential WR1 on your team, I don’t believe it changes his value from a WR2 with upside at all.
Devon Wylie and Dexter McCluster, WRs KC
I can’t help but wonder if this move could really help both these receivers. Wylie seems to project as a decent slot receiver and McCluster is still a relatively talented “swiss army knife.” Andy Reid has always been creative with his offense and will likely be looking to get the ball into the hands of these players in his West Coast scheme. It’s safe to say Tony Moeaki could get himself involved a little more as well.
Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
As if there was any doubt as to has the keys to the castle in San Francisco, the debate is now over. Kaepernick won’t be looking over his shoulder and if he does, he’s only going to see Scott Tolzien at the moment.
Scott Tolzien, QB SF
Watch the 49ers closely in the draft and during free agency as they now have five of the top 93 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. If they don’t take a quarterback or sign a veteran to get Kaepernick’s water for him, it will show some element of confidence in Tolzien. If that’s the case, he could be worth a look in the preseason and possibly be a speculative add as a super deep prospect on your dynasty team.
This is the first of many dominoes to fall in the coming weeks and you know we’ll be here for every one. If you want to be the life of the party, follow Ken on Twitter.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK