San Francisco 49ers

Week 12 Fantasy Football Sleeper: Colin Kaepernick

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers tries to scramble away from Israel Idonije #71 of the Chicago Bears at Candlestick Park on November 19, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Chris PetersonAnalyst INovember 22, 2012

It took guts to do what Jim Harbaugh did Wednesday, as the second-year head coach of the San Francisco 49ers reportedly boldly named Colin Kaepernick the team's starting quarterback (per SI.com's Jim Trotter), while benching Alex Smith, the man who led the Niners to the NFC Championship Game back in January. 

Even though The second-year quarterback from Nevada got his chance due to an injury to Smith, the move had nothing to do with health. It was all about football. 

It is a decision that’s easy to understand, especially after watching the former 2011 second-round pick make plays all over the field against a stout Chicago Bears defense, totaling 255 total yards and two touchdowns for a total of 18.9 fantasy points.

Harbaugh undoubtedly saw the potential to have a true difference-maker at the quarterback position, instead of Smith, who has improved dramatically but is still a game manager.

Kaepernick, on the other hand, has a live arm and is extremely athletic. He was raw coming out of college, but after a year of tutelage under Harbaugh, he looks ready to take his game to the next level and the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

So what does that mean for your fantasy football team? Could Kaepernick be the answer to your quarterback conundrum?

The answer is a resounding yes! As long as he remains the starting quarterback for the rest of the season and he performs as well as he did last Monday Night, he will.

In less than two full games the past two weeks, the young quarterback amassed 35 fantasy points, and neither situation was ideal for fantasy production.

Against the Rams, he was forced into action due to an injury to Smith, which is always harder than getting a full week of starter’s reps. Then he faced a very stingy Bears defense, and in both spots he found a way to produce. 

This week, Kaepernick faces the hapless New Orleans Saints defense, which allows more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any team in the National Football League. Meaning as the starter, he will be a top-10 fantasy quarterback this week and should be played ahead of quarterbacks such as Matt Stafford, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman.

Kaepernick is not a sure thing, but he has tons of talent and upside, so investing in him now could pay off in a big way down the stretch of the fantasy football season.

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