Welcome, IDP Nerds. There was a big shake-up in the dynasty fantasy football landscape today. Roquan Smith was traded from the Chicago Bears to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a second-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and linebacker AJ Klein. It’s not often we see this much player movement ahead of the trade deadline. This one, however, is a big one for IDP fantasy football. Let’s take a quick dive into Roquan Smith, the player, and assess the dynasty impact of today’s surprising trade.
Roquan Smith attended the University of Georgia. In college, he racked up 252 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 205 tackles for loss in three seasons. The Montezuma, Georgia native was a four-star recruit and the 48th-ranked player nationally in the 2015 class. The young linebacker improved in each of his three seasons in Athens, culminating in a standout season as a junior in 2017.
During that season, Roquan Smith registered 137 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. He finished the season number one in the SEC in tackles. Smith was named Consensus All-American, Dick Butkus Award winner, and SEC Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, he finished 10th in the Heisman voting for that season. This would earn the Georgia linebacker the honor of being a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was the third defensive player off the board overall.
One can argue that Roquan Smith was the most pro-ready linebacker in terms of becoming an instant fantasy stud. The former Dick Butkus Award winner wasted no time making a name for himself as a Chicago Bear. He would play in all 16 games as a rookie and post 121 tackles and five sacks on his way to being named to the 2018 NFL All-Rookie team. Smith has ranked in the top 10 in solo tackles in his first four seasons and is on pace to have the best season of his career statistically.
Roquan Smith has been at the top of every linebacker list at the end of his first four seasons. His production has been off the charts, from being a high-volume tackler to making impact plays. There’s seemingly nothing that he can’t do. He’s posted an average tackling grade of 77.8 per season while posting an average coverage grade of 64.2 per season, according to pro football focus. He’s also been credited with allowing just three touchdowns in coverage while collecting seven interceptions. This man is a dominant defensive player who offensive coordinators are fearful of when developing game plans weekly.
This move does very little to affect Roquan Smith’s value going forward. He will be the same elite player no matter what number he wears or what decal is on his helmet. This is a player averaging nearly 90 solo tackles per year over his first four and a half seasons. In Dynasty Nerds default IDP scoring, he is scoring, on average, 180 fantasy points per season, just on solo tackles. He’s on pace to set career highs in solo tackles, combined tackles, interceptions, and sacks. Dynasty managers should have no doubts the former two-time All-Pro linebacker will be just fine in Baltimore. He’s averaging over ten tackles per game through his first eight games and will now be playing for a team with the players to make some noise in the NFL playoffs.
The biggest fear would be the contract situation. Smith will be a free agent next year without a new deal. Good franchises like the Baltimore Ravens don’t make moves like this without having every intention of keeping the player for a long time. The Baltimore Ravens know the importance of having a stud linebacker on their defense. They will make every effort to keep Smith, even if it means deciding on former first-round linebacker Patrick Queen in the future.
This is a huge move for the NFL and IDP dynasty fantasy football. Roquan Smith is a player who has played 95% of defensive snaps and over 1,000 snaps in each of the last two seasons. The Baltimore Ravens will be thrilled to line him up for every defensive snap as soon as he’s ready, and it will improve their defense tremendously. As big of a move as this was, it’s not impactful from a dynasty value or production point of view. Great players will continue to be great and show why they deserve to be paid the highest value of players at their respective positions.