The League

Fantasy Check

Lions' Smith Undervalued


The Detroit Lions may have finished 0-16 last season, but that's irrelevant in the twisted world of fantasy football when you consider they have two highly ranked players.

The first, natch, is Calvin Johnson, also known as Megatron. He's generally the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver according to most experts, and at worst he's fifth, so there's not much room for upward mobility.

Teammate Kevin Smith is a much more intriguing prospect in fantasy because of his massive sleeper potential. While other rookie running backs such as Chris Johnson, Jonathan Stewart and Matt Forte got more run in the media, Smith quietly ran for 976 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 39 passes for 286 yards in an untenable situation.

The fantasy world is positively gushing over Smith these days. calls him "a rock-solid #2 fantasy back" in its Stock Watch column. ranks Smith as the No. 13 running back and points out he's an ideal fit for the Lions' zone-blocking scheme and new offensive coordinator Scott Lenihan, who had a similar mulit-purpose back in St. Louis in Steven Jackson.

"[H]e should dominate the Lions' carries both in between the 20s and at the goal line while also contributing in the passing game," according to RotoWire. ranks Smith as the 20th player overall and has him pegged as a safe/solid pick: "Smith is still the obvious top back on this team and, as the Lions always say, they want to establish the ground game as much as possible."

Heading into the Labor Day weekend, when there's sure to be a flurry of drafting, Smith has been undervalued. His average draft position on is 37th, and his ADP on is 33rd.

Either way that's a bargain for a player who could emerge as a top 10 fantasy back entering next season's draft.

By Gene Wang  |  September 3, 2009; 10:45 AM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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