Fantasy files: Who’s the "other" Steve Smith now?

Is Steve Smith now the other Steve Smith?

Last year in a draft I selected Steve Smith of the Giants when I meant to take Steve Smith of the Panthers. The Commish allowed me to change my pick but in the end I should have stuck with my first choice. We all thought that someone would break out of the Giants’ wideout roster logjam heading into 2009 but it was hard to tell who would do it. Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks had fantasy superpowers last year at times but Smith was the best by far.

Here’s what makes the Carolina version hard to rate. Carolina Steve in the past five years has finished no lower than WR19. That’s good. His WR19 finish was last year. That’s bad. He broke his arm on his final play of 2009, but he scored a touchdown on that play. He again broke the arm in the same place during a flag football game. Do you think that real football might be a little tougher than flag football? He should heal by opening day, and already has good rapport with new starting QB Matt Moore. He may drop a round or two from his current ADP of 39. Getting him as your WR2 wouldn’t hurt, although a third break is not out of the question.

The “other” Steve Smith was just another wide receiver from USC trying to make the big time. With Plaxico Burress going to the big house, he had an opportunity and took advantage. He finished second in the league with 107 catches. Guys who catch a lot of passes score more consistent in fantasy. It’s third-grade math but I’ll take what I can get. He did fade a bit, catching four touchdown passes in the first four weeks and three the rest of the year. For a guy who averaged seven catches per game, he only had three 100-yard efforts. There’s a lot of buzz around Hakeem Nicks this year. Nicks played all of last year with a broken foot. That’s toughness. With another year of working with Eli, Nicks will be better and might outscore Smith fantasy wise. It’s also good to consider if the shift from run-heavy to pass-heavy by the Giants was a one year thing. Teams can support two startable wideouts but it’s tough when the team’s outside the top 20 in pass attempts. With that in mind, New Jersey Steve is priced about right at an ADP of 45. He’s one of those low ceiling, low floor fantasy producers.

And the winner is. . . for this year at least. .. Carolina Steve. Thank you. Stay off those mean flag football streets, Steve.

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