Steve Smith 1.0 should have a nice 2010

All in all, it was kind of a disappointing year for Steve Smith. In PPR leagues, he finished WR19, and considering he was typically being taken WR5 to WR10 in fantasy drafts, owners didn’t really get what they expected out of him.

But from a QB standpoint, he just couldn’t get any consistency out of Jake Delhomme, who threw just eight TD (versus 18 interceptions) in 11 games, and generally couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. During that span, Smith averaged 4.2 catches for 55 yards and 0.4 TD per game. This was a far cry from his four-year average of 5.9 catches for 87 yards and 0.6 TD per game from 2005 to 2008.

Is Smith slowing down? While he is on the wrong side of 30 — he’ll turn 31 this May — his yards per catch in 2009 (15.1) was his third-highest in the last five years, and looked every bit as quick as he did three years ago. His 130 targets weren’t far off his four-year average (141.5), so he’s still a huge part of the Carolina offense even though the Panthers are more of a running team. Those 130 targets were the 14th-most amongst wide receivers, so barring something unforeseen, Smith should have plenty of opportunities to make plays in 2010.

But what about Matt Moore? Even though he started the final five games of the season, he’s still going to be a question mark for fantasy owners heading into drafts this summer. He averaged 198 yards, 1.6 TD and just 0.2 INT per game over that five-game span. From 2005 to 2008, Delhomme averaged 211 yards, 1.3 TD and 0.8 INT per game, so Moore’s 2009 numbers already compare favorably in terms of Smith getting good play at QB. (If you’re wondering about his competition, the first four games were against defenses ranked in the top 20 in pass yards allowed and he threw seven of his eight TD in those games.)

To gain a better understanding of Moore’s prospects, I asked our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter to chime in. Here’s what he had to say:

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Fantasy Football Quick-Hitters: Matt Moore, Jamal, Julius, Kurt and DeSean

Matt Moore will start for the Panthers in Week 13. I don’t know what to make of this move. Jake Delhomme has been dreadful (183 yards, 0.7 TD, 2.3 INT per game), but if the coaching staff felt that Moore could be better, why didn’t they make this change when the Panthers were still in the hunt for a playoff spot? Carolina beat the Falcons in Week 10 to advance to 4-5 and Delhomme had just come off a three game stretch where he threw three picks and failed to throw a TD. It’s hard to believe that Moore could be any worse. He’s in his third season and has a career 63.5 QB rating in limited action. He only saw significant time in a three-game stretch at the end of the 2007 season. He averaged 188 yards, 1.0 TD and 0.7 INT during that span. But this really isn’t about Moore. No one is going to be starting him this week. It’s about Steve Smith, who has been inconsistent with Delhomme under center. Will Moore be better? I think so — and that means Smith is a decent option this week against a sketchy Bucs secondary.

Jamal Lewis’s season is over.
And what a season it was. He averaged 56 rushing yards over nine games and failed to score a TD. It’s hard to see any Browns running back putting up good numbers in this anemic offense, but Jerome Harrison and Chris Jennings will try. Rotoworld seems to think that Jennings is the better bet, but Harrison is listed first on the Browns’ depth chart and he does have a 29-carry, 121-yard outing under his belt (in Week 4 against the Bengals). Jennings was limited in practice Wednesday with an ailing shoulder, so it’s hard to see him carrying a full load this week. He has gotten more touches of late. Given his shoulder injury, I’d bet on Harrison getting more work this week, but it’s tough to say.

Julius Jones returns to full practice but Seahawks will go with the hot hand. It’s doubtful that Seattle is going to overwork Jones, not when Justin Forsett has been so effective in his place. It seems clear that Forsett will get some touches, and if he outperforms Jones, he could be the team’s closer. This makes Forsett a decent flex play in a good matchup against the 49ers.

Kurt Warner back at practice, splitting first team reps. He has apparently been cleared to play, but concussions are tricky. Arizona doesn’t play until Sunday night, so if you have another good option, don’t put all of your eggs in Warner’s basket. If he does play, it’s an upgrade for the entire Arizona offense, Brett Favre and the Minnesota receivers (because the Cardinals are more likely to be in the game) and a downgrade for the Vikings’ defense.

DeSean Jackson likely out for Week 13. He’s having his own concussion issues, so look for Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Brent Celek to pick up the slack in a great matchup against a porous Atlanta pass defense.


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