Fortunately for fantasy football owners lucky enough to draft him this season, that will be quite an enjoyable ride.
After taking over for Alex Smith midway through the 2012-13 season, Kaepernick exploded on the scene, his rejuvenation of the 49ers offense leading the way to a Super Bowl appearance.
Now, with the 2013-14 season rapidly approaching, the buzz surrounding the third-year passer has reached critical mass, the combination of his play last season and his unrivaled physical tools leaving all possibilities open.
What, then, can we expect from Kaepernick in terms of fantasy value this season? Based on the numbers he put up last season, it appears a whole lot.
Through eight games last season (one in relief of Smith), Kaepernick put up a line of 1,814 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns to just three interceptions, 415 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
Prorated to a full season, the numbers reveal a very solid year—3,675 passing yards, 544 rushing yards, 23 passing touchdowns and five on the ground. Those numbers would have been good enough to make him the ninth-best fantasy quarterback last season.
So, basically, should he show no improvement and post the same type of numbers, he should already be considered a starter on your squad.
Something tells me, however, that he just might improve those numbers a tad bit. Maybe a little more than a bit, too.
Yes, the injury to his leading receiver, Michael Crabtree, will hurt. So will the ground-and-pound style of offense the 49ers play. It’s the dimensions in his game, however, that still have fantasy lovers excited.
Even if you take the rushing numbers out of the equation, what is left is still a quality passer. The mistakes that Smith tried so hard to avoid are also avoided by Kaepernick—three interceptions in eight games speaks to that.
The difference, however, is that the chances that he takes lead to much bigger plays. The windows that Kaepernick can hit are plentiful. He doesn’t just possess a rocket arm; it’s an accurate one, too.
That’s what makes him so scary to defenses and so enticing to fantasy owners. He’s a dual threat, one that can very well get you more than 20 points with his arm and an additional 10-15 with his feet.
For the 49ers, it is that dual threat that they hope to parlay into another chance at the Super Bowl. For us mere mortals, though, that threat could very well help yield a trophy in that mythical fantasy football case.
Obviously quarterback is an extremely loaded position this season. And I will not go ahead and say to pick him ahead of the stalwarts of the position. I do, however, have him ranked in the top five of the signal-calling group, behind only Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton.
If all goes well, he may well outscore some of those guys, too. That’s how talented and dangerous he is. At worst, you’ll still end up with a top-10 quarterback.
If you need to reach late in the second round, go ahead. If you can get him in the third, even better. Just know, wherever you do end up picking him, the production you receive will rival that of those picked much earlier.
The sky is the limit to what his play could bring.
All stats courtesy of ESPN.com
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