By Jim Williams
Special to S.F. Examiner
Throughout the Bay Area, Fantasy Football team owners are beginning the process of poring over information to prepare for the draft.
As a public service, I sought the assistance of someone who has been proven an expert in the field for nearly two decades. Jason Smith hosts the aptly titled “The Jason Smith Show,” which airs weekdays nationally with co-host Mike Harmon, and can be heard from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. PT on over 400 Fox Sports radio stations in the U.S., as well as on the iHeart Radio app and Sirius XM Radio.
An Emmy-winning broadcaster who honed his craft at ESPN, Smith hosted NFL Fantasy Live on the NFL Network before joining Fox Sports Radio as their in house Fantasy Football expert.
I spoke to him from the Fox Sports Radio studios in Los Angeles, where he took a look at the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, his Top 10 and sleeper picks.
Examiner: Okay lets begin with the 49ers. Who would you draft from them?
Smith: I’d draft Jimmy Garoppolo as my first QB, but I’d wait and take him later. If he’s the guy we think he is, he’ll win you your league. George Kittle will be one of the first TE’s off the board, and he should be. He’s legit. Late, I’m drafting Tevin Coleman and Dante Pettis. They’re too questionable to take high, but I’ll take chances on them in the later rounds. It’s too hard to take Matt Breida or Jerick McKinnon, unless you’re down to your fifth RB and you have to take someone.
Examiner: From the Raiders?
Smith: Derek Carr is draftable in fantasy, but only as a QB2. I can’t trust he’s suddenly going to be great again. Of course Antonio Brown is a high-first round pick, but he’s dicey. He is with a new team, questionable motivation and … bad feet makes him a risk. Many owners are going to look to take someone else once it gets to the middle of the first round. But if Brown is still there and you’re picking ninth or 10th? Snap him up. Another one to watch is Tyrell Williams. He is a good, under-the-radar, late WR pickup, but only as your fifth wide receiver. The running backs are a mess. Who knows who’s going to separate? They drafted Josh Jacobs to play a big role and he certainly has the upside. If he’s my third or fourth RB, I’m pretty happy.
Examiner: Who are your top 10 players?
Smith: My top ten players in 10-team standard leagues: 1) Stanford grad Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers. 2) Saquon Barkley of the RB of the Giants. 3) Saints RB Alvin Kamara. 4) Jets RB LeVeon Bell. 5) Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott. 6) Let’s go with receiver from the Texans, DeAndre Hopkins. 7) Falcons WR Julio Jones. 8) Saints WR Michael Thomas. 9) WR Cardinals David Johnson. 10) Steelers RB James Conner.
Examiner: How about your top 10 sleepers in this year’s draft?
Smith: Some players who — for different reasons — could end up getting you huge fantasy points as the season goes: Justin Jackson, Chargers RB. Ty Montgomery, Jets RB. Lamar Jackson, Ravens QB. Cole Beasley, Bills WR. Quincy Enunwa, Jets WR. Jaylen Samuels, Steelers RB. Royce Freeman, Broncos RB. Derrius Guice, Washington RB. Tre’Quan Smith, Saints WR. Donte Moncrief, Steelers WR.
Examiner: What do you predict in 2019 for the 49ers and the Raiders?
Smith: I can see the 49ers being a surprise playoff-contending team. If Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy and continues what he started 20 months ago, I can see them being a 9-7-ish team that stays in the playoff hunt. They’ve added some nice pieces and have some off-the-radar talent that could shine. The Raiders? Whoo. I think they’ll have to be happy with owning the month of August on “Hard Knocks.” Then it’ll be back to reality. But at least we’re all more knowledgeable about cryotherapy than we has ever been before.
Channel surfing: Let me begin with a correction my column on the Pac-12 Networks: They have five control rooms, not four. Also, they are indeed considered leaders in the field of the combined studio-remote broadcasts, simply because of the number they do each year.
Also, big news this week from Disney as the announced they will offer a combination of their new streaming service along with Hulu and ESPN Plus for $12.95. The launch of this game changing service is expected to rollout in November.