After shouting Steve Smith's name in the third round of my fantasy football draft last year, I heard a predictable joke from a fellow owner: "Which one?"
At the time, the only Smith worth taking that early was the Carolina Panthers' dominating receiver, who in '08 had amassed 1,421 yards on 78 receptions with six touchdowns. Nobody was paying attention to the other
Looking back, I really wish I had taken the other Smith. I wouldn't have been stuck with Carolina's dull version (65 receptions, 982 yards and seven TDs). I would have been showing off New York's shinier brand (107 receptions, 1,220 yards and seven TDs).
To avoid such complication, perhaps athletes should behave like actors and change their names early in their careers to distinguish themselves. Did you know
The younger Smith needs a pseudonym. He could go by "The Giant", even though he's only 5-foot-11, or "The Nice One," since he's not the one who punched his teammate in the face (that's the Panthers hothead). Don't confuse either Smith with 14-year NBA veteran
Going into this year's draft, that old quip is now a serious question: which Steve Smith do you want?
Let's first analyze the Panthers receiver, who is coming off a subpar '09 season. Smith only cracked the 100-yard marker twice last year compared to eight times in '08 and he didn't find the end zone until Week 8. His best game was in Week 15 when he had nine receptions for 157 yards and a TD against Minnesota. Yet his season abruptly ended after he broke his left arm a week prior to the finale.
Now in his 10th season, the 31-year old Smith doesn't have his usual gunslinger,
The Giants' Smith was a huge surprise last year given his humble origins. He contributed sparsely as a rookie for the '07 Super Bowl squad but led the team in receptions (57) in '08 despite starting only four games. After
More people took notice of Smith after Week 2, when he grabbed 10 receptions for 134 yards and a score at Dallas. Two weeks later, he had 11 receptions for 134 yards and two TDs at Kansas City. Suddenly, the Giants were no longer a run-heavy offense led by
Both Smiths have a lot in common besides being NFL receivers. They both are nursing preseason injuries -- the Giants' Smith has a groin injury while the Panthers' Smith suffered another broken arm in June while playing flag football. Both are expected to be ready for the season opener, which ironically is against one another. Also, both would make solid No. 2 receivers on your fantasy team.
However, if I had a choice, I would take the younger, less volatile receiver with a stable quarterback. Just to clarify, that would be Steve Smith of the New York Giants.