35-Year-Old Defensive Tackle – San Francisco 49ers
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
Smith is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, but he expects to be ready to go by the start of the season. His career-low 32 tackles were probably a result of playing with an injured sho...
Justin Smith Contract Information:
Signed a two-year extension with the 49ers in June of 2013.
Smith (shoulder) returned to the practice field Wednesday, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports.
To instantly reveal our fantasy analysis of every player – including Justin Smith – simply subscribe now.
|Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
|2014 Proj||35||SF||Subscribe now to see our 2014 projections for Justin Smith|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Justin Smith: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Smith is due to slow down sometime soon with his age-34 season on the horizon, but even in decline Smith is far better than most. His high tackle totals make him among the better options available, and it's reasonable to expect improvement on his 2012 total of three sacks. Only twice in his career has Smith failed to make it to five sacks, and he missed two games last year due to a triceps tear. Prospective Smith owners will want to double-check on the recovery status of that triceps as the season approaches, but it's generally believed that Smith won't have any health concerns come Week 1.
Smith has long been one of the league's better interior linemen, and he was a good 4-3 end before that. He posted good IDP numbers almost the entire time but never really got his due as far as critical acclaim. In 2011, though, he was perhaps the most important player on a San Francisco defense that was one of the best in league history against the run, allowing just 1,236 yards and three touchdowns. That, and Smith being voted All-Pro at both defensive tackle and defensive end, probably weren't terribly important to his IDP owners, though, as Smith's numbers were actually a disappointment from an IDP perspective. His 58 tackles were the third fewest in his 11-year career, one in which he has surpassed 60 tackles seven times and 70 tackles five times. In any case, even with offensive lines more aware of him than ever, the 2012 expectation for Smith should probably be a progression to the mean, i.e., 70 tackles is more likely than 50.
Smith does a better job of getting to ball carriers than maybe any lineman in the league. He lacks upside as a pass rusher (8.5 sacks is his career high), but he has surpassed 65 tackles in all but one of the last seven seasons. That includes five seasons of 70 or more tackles, and one 81-tackle season. Those numbers are drawn from both his time as a 4-3 end in Cincinnati and a 3-4 end in San Francisco, so there’s no reason to think the arrival of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will affect Smith’s numbers much. The run stopper should remain a very steady IDP option, though his average pass-rushing abilities and inability to force turnovers means he won’t have the ceiling of the league’s elite pass rushers.
Smith was the 49ers’ full-time defensive end last season after shuffling between end and linebacker the season prior, and as a result saw a decrease in tackles. In fact, it took an eighttackle season finale for him to reach 55 tackles, his lowest total since his rookie year. He also lined up at defensive tackle on passing downs at times, which might have impacted his sacks — he needed 3.5 sacks in his final game to reach six for the season, one off of 2008’s pace. Minor back and calf injuries also may have hampered Smith’s performance. Among defensive linemen with at least six sacks, only five had more tackles than Smith. So, even though his 2009 output was less than expected, Smith still ranked among the best at the position.
Like the San Francisco defense he helps anchor, Smith finished the 2008 campaign on a high note, racking up four sacks in the last five weeks of the season. He should pick up where he left off in 2009. The sacks – he finished with seven – are nice, but are just one reason Smith is a valuable player in IDP leagues. He also generates a high tackle total, and he’s durable. Smith has been credited with at least 60 tackles in every season since 2002 – his second in the league – and played in all 16 games in every year after his rookie season when he played in 15 games. In the last three years he’s averaged 77 tackles. In 2008, Trent Cole and Shaun Rogers were the only linemen with more tackles than Smith.
Smith signed a huge six-year, $45 million deal with the 49ers in the offseason and is expected to produce more than the 2.0 sacks he did in 2007. He does rack up a solid tackle total for a defensive end - averaged 80 over the past two seasons - and should top last seasons sack total with ease.
Got your lunchpail? Oh wait, Smith just snatched it from you. This guy shows up every day, every week, every year. He's missed one game in six years, and it was during his rookie season. He's never turned in fewer than 53 total tackles, including a career-high 81 last year. Every year he’s had between five and 8.5 sacks. You know exactly what you're getting from Smith, and he always gives it to you. Funny thing is, he's not doing it on pure talent but on a relentless motor. He's just a little light for defensive end, so he doesn't make his trade on strength, but he's not fast, either. Smith just works hard, and the proof is in exploits like an impressive three games last season featuring double-digit tackles. Few are this consistent at such a high level.
Will move back to right defensive end (rush end) in the starting line-up with Bryan Robinson shifting to his old spot of left defensive end. In passing situations will shift back to the left with Robert Geathers replacing him at rush end. Should still be a solid source of sacks, especially considering this is a contract year.
Will move from right defensive end (rush end) to left defensive end to make room for Robert Geathers. Should still be a solid source of sacks, but while his sacks may slightly decrease his total tackle numbers should increase.
After getting 8.5 sacks in his rookie season, Smith hasn't been able to fulfill the expectations set since. He had only five sacks in 2003. If the Bengals are to improve defensively, it'll have to start with the pass rush and Smith.
After amassing 8.5 sacks during his rookie season, Smith got off to a slow start in 2002 and finished with just 7.5 sacks as a result. Smith reeled off 4.5 sacks in the last five games of the season, however, and we think 2003 might be the year the former fourth overall pick hits double-digits.