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Fantasy Player Watch:  Kevin Smith

By: Muntradaums

You can always pick up the DeMarcco Murrays after a Felix Jones injury, or the surprise Ben Tates who everyone knew was going to start week 1 for Arian Foster.  But those guys who are buried on the bench waiting for their time.  Those are the guys you need to pounce on before it’s too late.  Owned in just 3% of sportsline leagues, it’s time to catch this lion by the toe.

When you hear Kevin Smith you think, oh ya that RB who use to play on the Lions.  Well guess what he’s back, and he’s only 24 years old.  Same age as Denver rookie WR Eric Decker.  This is the same Kevin Smith who was a 20 touch per game back for the Lions in 2009 before tearing his ACL, and with Jhavid Best’s season looking more and more in doubt.  The timing couldn’t be better for Smith.

In 2008

As a rookie Kev rushed for 976 yards and 8 TDs on only 238 carries.  He also added 39 catches for 286 yards.  He did all this starting in just 12 games, while competing for playing time with former Fantasy Legend Rudi Johnson.

In 2009

K Smitty was the starter coming into week 1, but he had an injury cut 13 game season.  He rushed for 741 yards 4 TDs and he continued to show everyone he was a great receiving back with 41 catches for 415 yards and a score.  But then he suffered a really bad torn ACL which was going to continue to hurt him going into the next season.

In 2010

When he was healthy enough to run on one leg, he took over Maurice Morris’s position as the backup to Jhavid Best and even put up a decent game against Washington, 12 carries for 51 yards.  But his knee was nowhere close to healthy and he added a thumb injury that shortened his season to 6 games.  He was released in the offseason.

In 2011

The Lions re-signed Smith last week because of the concussion concerns over Jhavid Best.

In Kev’s first game, week 10, he had 6 touches for 29 yards, while Maurice Morris had 11 touches for 50 yards.  Mo Morris has shown no burst or big play ability since being the starter for the concussed Best.  And last week the Lions had seen enough of it and pulled Morris in the 3rd quarter for Smith and didn’t turn back.  Mo’s top game this season was 13 carries for 58 yards and a TD against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses in Denver.  Besides that game he hasn’t topped 6 points in standard leagues.

When Kevin Smith tried out for the team a week ago, coach Schwartz was quoted talking about how he’s in great shape, was a great runner when healthy for the team in the past, and was too good to pass up.  After one week of practice he has already climbed to #2 on the depth chart and is only a few big plays away from taking over as the top dog.  Even when Best comes back, they’re going to be careful with the fragile Cal star and might just make him a change of pace 3rd down back.  Kev Smith should start to see double digit carries in the near future.

My prediction for Kevin Smith is.  Kev will be equally splitting carries with Morris as early as the Thanksgiving game against Green Bay, and once the former UCF legend outplays Morris in that game, he will be a must add in the upcoming weeks as he reclaims his old position as the lead back with Detroit even if Best returns.  You can jump on the bandwagon now, before it’s too late.

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