Geno Smith was a big surprise in fantasy last season after being considered a bust in the 2013 draft. Was last season a fluke, or has Smith finally reached his potential in the Seahawks’ offense? I break down Smith’s season and his outlook moving forward. Plus, we take a history check to see quarterbacks in their 30s fare in fantasy football.
History of 30-Year-Old QBs
Smith will turn 33 during the 2023 season. It’s rare to see a player in their 30s hit the QB1 mark after never doing it before in their NFL career. On average, each fantasy season since 2013, about 43% of the quarterbacks in their 30s are QB1 which is about five per season. Last year it was only three, and Smith was one of those three. The NFL is in a new era where the youth has taken over the top quarterback spots for fantasy. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allens, and Jalen Hurts, ages 25 to 27, are in their prime to be QB1s. The players during the mid-2010s are on the back end of their careers, like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilsons, and Matthew Staffords, who aren’t consistently playing to that same level for us in fantasy.
Since 2013, only three quarterbacks, Nick Foles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Tyrod Taylor, have not reached the QB1 twice over the last decade. Ryan Fitzpatrick was the only one-year wonder to be a QB1 in his 30s and not to do it again. Smith played better than anyone in their respective QB1 seasons. The chances of Smith doing it again are very possible. Most of the 30-year-old quarterbacks who performed as QB1 more than once during those years were outstanding players who also performed that way in their twenties. We know Smith has been a bust up until the 2022 season.
If Smith can follow the career of Ryan Tannehill, that would be his best hope. Tannehill did perform as a QB1 in 2014 but went five seasons and a new team before reaching QB1 status back to back years. Tannehill has shined with the Titans’ system, just like Smith finally seems to fit the Seahawks’ system. Smith has stars around him like Tannehill, so the pressure to be elite isn’t there. History shows that Smith has an excellent shot at repeating.
Why Did it Take so Long!?
Smith was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft by the New York Jets. We all know that the quarterbacks the Jets draft usually are terrible. Smith was solid as a rookie finishing QB20, even though he threw 21 interceptions. The Jets took too long to get good talent around Smith, as his best receivers were Jeremy Kerley and Eric Decker over the two seasons as a starter. Smith had an unfortunate injury where his teammate broke his jaw before the 2015 season. That led to Ryan Fitzpatrick having that QB1 season with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker as his two receivers.
Smith would not be given the starting role back and lead to back jobs with the Chargers, Giants, then Seahawks. Each time he got a chance, he played decent, averaging 195 yards and a touchdown each time he got shot. Smith has dealt with a ton over his career and just needed a chance to be a starter again to prove us wrong.
Why He Reached QB1 in 2022
Smith got that opportunity in 2022 after Seattle traded away Russell Wilson to Denver. Everyone thought this would be a rebuild and tanking for the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Smith stepped up and performed. Smith played well with the great talent surrounding him, as it was something he never had in his career. He was top ten in passing yards, FPs per game, Air yards, Deep Ball Attempts, and completion percentages. He had a better completion % of 69.8 than Wilson’s in his years with Seattle. Smith also took some risk, pushing the ball downfield as he was first in interceptable balls and danger plays. Smith was rewarded with taking some risk in the offense. His red zone work was fantastic, with a 17-0 touchdown to interception ratio in scoring situations. His ability to rush for 366 yards helped push his cause into that QB1 season.
Can He Repeat Success?
As history has shown us, Smith has a good chance of repeating or at least getting another QB1 season. Seattle invested in resigning him and adding two more offensive weapons to the offense. Smith has one of the best three-receiver sets in the league with the addition of Jaxon Smith-Nijgba. There are two strong running backs in Ken Walker and Zach Charbonnet. If Smith can continue taking risks and being accurate with his throws, he may have a shot.
The only two concerns are that he will not play the NFC South again this year and only averaged one touchdown per game vs. NFC West. He’ll need to be sharp and rely on the talent around him to make plays. I don’t think he will repeat as a QB1 since many quarterbacks could finish a QB1. A high-end QB2 in 2023 seems like a safe spot for Smith.
In dynasty superflex startups, his ADP is QB 20, and he is going in round seven of drafts. You are in a good position if you grab one elite quarterback early and wait for Smith as your QB2. Smith can provide QB2 numbers with some QB1 upside that will be tied to Seattle for the next few seasons. Seattle chose not to take a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, so they believe in Smith’s ability.
In trades, Smith’s value isn’t as easy to acquire as his value is all over the place.
- Geno Smith for 2024 1st
- Geno Smith for 2024 1st and Derek Carr
- Geno Smith for 2025 2nd and 3rd
- Geno Smith for DeAndre Hopkins and 2024 3rd
So you know, some trades are from one end to the other. I prefer to spend the bottom two of those trades to acquire Smith’s services for your dynasty. The top two are not as much, but I wouldn’t hate giving up 2024 first in Superflex if you are a quarterback away from contending. I look around, but I wouldn’t overspend on his services for your dynasty.
I’m rooting for Smith to be successful in his career and our dynasty leagues. Smith was free for folks, so they already got their investment return. If Smith can use his weapons to elevate his game, he could pay off again in 2023, but he’ll need to be consistent not to be a one-year wonder. Smith can give us two more seasons of high-end QB2 numbers, but the QB1 range could be out of reach to repeat.
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