Alex Smith seemed like the next Ryan Leaf after his first round selection by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005. He had Pamela Anderson size bust written all over him. But last season when the team finally gave up on the under-productive Shaun Hill, Smith stepped in and showed glimpses of the talent that made him a first overall draft pick.
In 10 starts, Smith threw for 2350 yards and 18 touchdowns. He built an immediate chemistry with tight end Vernon Davis, and rookie wide receiver Micheal Crabtree. He ended the season as the 24th best fantasy QB.
This season he has a full year as the team's undisputed starting QB, a full off season to prepare and continue building chemistry, and the full support of his team. All great reasons why he's a definite 2010 fantasy sleeper candidate. Below are a few more reasons.
- The team bypassed opportunities to trade for Donovan McNabb or take Jimmy Clausen in this years draft. A big vote of confidence from the team.
- The front office then followed up by fortifying the offensive line with OG Mike Iupati and OT Anthony Davis.
- Smith's number one target, Vernon Davis, says Smith is showing improved leadership skills so far this offseason. "He's talking. He's vocal. He's taking control and being that guy ... a guy who's going to step up and take charge."
- Smith enters 2010 with the same offensive coordinator for the first time in his NFL career which should improve his comfort level in Jimmy Raye's offense.
- He simply has too many weapons; Frank Gore, Davis, Crabtree...
- Add to all of this the team plays in the weakest division in the NFL and they have the easiest schedule in the league, and all signs point to big fantasy potential for 2010.
Summary: Smith is currently being drafted after guys like Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, guys he should out perform. He could conceivably do as well or better than perhaps Matt Ryan and Donovan McNabb, who are all going significantly ahead of Smith. Smith makes an excellent QB2 or back up QB in 2010 and should put up top 15 fantasy numbers.