If you’ve been following the ‘Alex Smith Experiment’ you know that this series delves into the mind of a 2-QB fantasy league QB2 streamer, with Alex Smith and Sam Bradford at the heart of the QB2 streaming options. Last week you were treated to me talking myself into starting Alex Smith, and he did get the start as my team’s Week 3 QB2. Nothing changed there, and it was all well and good.
However, the ‘Alex Smith Experiment’ in Week 3 took a twist that went against the normal fantasy commandment that states ‘Though Shall Not Bench Your Studs.’ When selecting your fantasy team’s starting line-up it’s easy to over-think things, and talk yourself in doing something crazy. In Week 3, for me, that was benching Russell Wilson, who’s the QB1 bedrock of my 2-QB squad.
Wilson’s the fantasy quarterback stud I drafted to lead this particular team, and start every week, minus his bye week. Except, I benched him Week 3. Playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The same week he threw four touchdowns. Four touchdowns.
Yes, you read that last paragraph correctly. My stud fantasy quarterback was benched.
I can list off a number of reasons that might make sense … I was worried the Seahawks might run away from the Jaguars, and rest their starters, Wilson included, at some point. I was worried that the Seahawks would rely more on the run, in order to kill clock. I liked Sam Bradford’s match-up against the Cowboys too much to leave him on the bench.
All valid reasons, and in fantasy football, you base your decisions off the information you have at hand, and hope it works out for you. If I had lost my match-up because Smith scored less points than Bradford, that I could live with. If I lost my match-up because Bradford scored less than Wilson, and the point differential would have been the difference between a Week 3 win and Week 3 loss, well, that I would beat myself up over.
At the end of the day it all worked out and my team was able to pull out a victory. Yes, even with Wilson on the bench, who wound up the highest scoring quarterback on my team, having scored 21 points.
Smith and Bradford, on the other hand, actually scored the same amount of points, at 13 apiece. The difference between Bradford and Wilson was only eight points, which seems little when you remember that Wilson threw four touchdowns. The damage could have been even worse if Wilson wasn’t pulled late in the third quarter.
As for the ‘Alex Smith Experiment’, as mentioned earlier, all the thought that went into choosing between Smith and Bradford didn’t mean a whole lot, as their final fantasy points total was similar.
No matter how you dice it, Week 3 was an interesting one, especially when it came to fantasy quarterbacks. In standard scoring leagues, Jake Locker was the third highest scoring quarterback, Geno Smith was QB5, Christian Ponder was QB6, and Tarvaris Jackson, Wilson’s back-up, was QB16. Add EJ Manual (QB10), and Brian Hoyer (QB11), and you have six Top-15 fantasy quarterbacks that nobody had ranked that high.
Going into Week 4, the QB2 decision between Smith and Bradford originally saw Smith get the nod, and that’s not changing. Bradford and the St. Louis Rams are playing the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night this week, while Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs go up against the New York Giants.
It was an easy decision going into the season, and an even easier one now, seeing as how the Giants are unable to stop anybody on defense. In three weeks, opponents have scored no less than 36 points against the GMEN, and they’ve allowed 786 passing yards, and 7 passing touchdowns. Opposing fantasy quarterbacks versus the Giants in three weeks this year have scored an average of 21 fantasy points.
On paper, the decision to start Smith seems like an easy one to make, which probably means Bradford will have a career game. But you have to trust your instincts and the numbers. In this case, Smith is a more appealing QB2 streaming option than Bradford.
Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData.com