I have mixed feelings about the St. Louis Rams signing free-agent wide receiver Steve E. Smith, as there is potential for a resurgent season but as much risk for a total letdown, depending on your expectations for him.
Remember this productive guy?
Smith is two full years removed from catching 107 balls for the New York Giants. Dec. 21, 2010, the former USC Trojan underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee. This invasive procedure can be the nail in the coffin for many ailing athletes, although the surgical techniques and prognoses have improved substantially in the last decade.
The 2009 season was a long time ago, and there is no guarantee that Smith, who played with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, will ever regain his past form. He appeared to struggle with separation in 2011; that could change as he moves along in his long-term rehabilitation.
At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Smith, coming off a forgettable 11-catch season in Philly, is best suited for the slot role - Danny Amendola's primary position in St. Louis. Smith has been able to play on the outside in his career, but the Rams have very little talent at the position. In other words, Smith would see more focus from opposing defenses and wouldn't be as likely to make plays. Obviously, he will have to acclimate himself to a new quarterback in a run-heavy offense this offseason. He has plenty of time working in his favor, though.
I have always questioned whether Smith was a system product in New York, but maybe a one-year wonder is a better label for him.... While he has a lot working against him, if Smith shows signs of life as we get into late training camp and even the early preseason play, consider him a late-round flier in point-per-reception setups. For now, he isn't draftable in standard or shallow leagues. Stay tuned with KFFL.com, as our editors will closely track his offseason with the Rams to determine if we truly have a sleeper on our hands.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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