Colin Kaepernick has gone from fantasy afterthought to fantasy star in the span of three weeks. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been on fire since taking the reins from Alex Smith, and that hot streak should continue in Week 13.
First and foremost, it's important to note 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh continues to play mind games with opponents and hasn't officially declared Kaepernick the starter yet. It's hard to imagine the ploy gives the team any type of real edge.
Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area states he would be surprised if Smith ends up getting his job back after the second-year rising star's recent performances. Kyle Bonagura of CBS Sports reports Harbaugh could name Kaepernick as early as Wednesday.
In other words, it's safe to assume the 49ers are going to stick with what's worked over the past few weeks. Kaepernick has led the team to wins over the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. It would be tough to justify another switch right now.
The Nevada product has exceeded all expectations since stepping into the lineup. Smith has done a nice job of playing the role of game manager, but Kaepernick's big arm and running ability gives the 49ers more options on offense.
In fantasy terms, he's averaged just under 18 points per game over the past three weeks. That includes a relief appearance against this week's opponent, the St. Louis Rams, in which he accounted for 183 yards and a touchdown off the bench.
The Rams rank in the middle of the pack defensively, and were clearly caught off guard when Kaepernick entered the previous meeting. He averaged more than eight yards per carry against a defense that was prepared for Smith, a pocket passer.
They should be more prepared for him this time around, but that doesn't mean they will shut him down. The Bears made a concerted effort to make sure he didn't run wild. He proceeded to pass for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
It's that type of versatility that makes Kaepernick a solid fantasy option down the stretch. Since he can beat defenses in multiple ways, his upside is through the roof. It also helps that Frank Gore has been in top form, taking some pressure off his QB.
Given the matchup, expect Kaepernick to remain right in line with his prior performances. Unless Harbaugh throws an unexpected wrench into the situation, fantasy owners should feel confident using him as their starting QB this week.
Projected Total: 19 fantasy points