San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has been much maligned throughout his time in the Bay Area. He has struggled to live up to expectations as the number one overall pick and has never been a fantasy option. Enter Jim Harbaugh. In five weeks of play, Alex Smith has developed more as a quarterback than he had in arguably the previous six seasons combined.
Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it was all on display as Smith finished 11 of 19 for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He completed passes all over the field, showing a willingness to take shots, while also taking advantage of what was presented to him underneath.
Under Harbaugh, Smith is being put in situations where he has a higher chance at success. His numbers will rarely be out of this world, but he is making very few mistakes and he is taking advantage of opportunities presented to him. His recent development could make him an ideal backup fantasy QB and a great guy to mix and match depending on his matchups.
A good example of his value would be if you have Drew Brees in your lineup. His week 11 bye happens to coincide with the 49ers home game against the Arizona Cardinals. If you need a bye week fill-in, I would not hesitate to grab Alex Smith. Again, he may not put up monster numbers, but his downside appears to have been dramatically decreased this season. If you're looking to survive a week without Brees (or a variety of other quarterbacks), Alex Smith is suddenly looking like an interesting option.