Unless your name is Andrew Luck, RG3, or Cam Newton, rookie seasons usually aren’t a fantasy productive time for quarterbacks coming into the NFL. In fact, last season only one rookie QB was in the top 25 in ESPN standard scoring. Geno Smith finished as the 20th highest scoring passer last season despite a questionable offense around him as he took the helm for the New York Jets.
Smith finished last season on quite a roll scoring double-digit points in four straight games to close out the season while going for more than 20 in two of those games. On the other hand, prior to that finish Smith had a few clunkers, including two games where he netted negative points. He still managed to finish as the 20th fantasy QB, though, finishing ahead of Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the injury shortened seasons put up by Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler.
Now before we go to far, let me clarify: I am not saying that Smith is better than Aaron Rodgers or Cutler. I am not saying that he deserved consideration in 10-team, single-QB leagues as a starter, but if you play in dual QB leagues or 15+ team leagues Smith is an underrated option that you can draft late to see if he can take the next step.
The Jets brought in Michael Vick this offseason, but a successful preseason helped Geno Smith maintain his role as the starting QB. He also got an upgrade in the weapons on his offense with Chris Johnson brought in to lead the running game and Eric Decker brought on board to give him a #1 WR option.
With the upgraded weapons, Smith has shown signs of growth this preseason completing 23 of 33 pass attempts for 268 yards. He has rushed for a touchdown as well showing that he’ll continue to be active in the ground game. Smith has a better supporting cast and a year of experience which could lead to an improvement for the West Virginia product.
The main thing the Jets and his fantasy owners will be looking for from Smith will be improved consistency. He was up-and-down last season, but if he can stabilize the Jets attack and continue to progress, he could be a solid mid-level QB2 this season. New York opens the season at home against the Raiders next Sunday before going on the road to face Green Bay week 2. In week 3, the Jets host the Bears on Monday Night Football, and by then we should have a better idea of if Smith is ready to take the next step.
He was a top-20 QB last season, and I think he only will improve this year. With an upgraded offense, he could be in for a top 15 season. He’s a nice late, late QB2 pick and offers some upside in his second year under center in the NFL.