After an incredible Week 1 performance against the Green Bay Packers that left observers in awe, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick came crashing back down to earth in Week 2. Kaepernick's true value lies somewhere in between those two showings, but he'll be much closer to the latter on Sunday.
The Niners' clash with the Seattle Seahawks last week was viewed as a battle between two of the NFL's elite teams, but San Francisco looked overmatched as Seattle came away with an easy 29-3 victory.
Kaepernick looked especially bad as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes for just 127 yards. He also threw three interceptions against the dominant Seattle secondary, which was uncharacteristic of him, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Colin Kaepernick: 3 Int matches total from 2012 regular season. 14.0 Total QBR is career low as a starter— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 16, 2013
The loss was a reality check for Kaepernick, the 49ers and their fans as they learned that things aren't going to be as easy as they were in Week 1. Kaepernick is fully aware that he'll need to be much better moving forward in order for the Niners to fulfill their immense potential, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
Colin Kaepernick: "We're not going to win games if I play like that."— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) September 16, 2013
Luckily for Kaepernick, he has a much easier matchup in store this week against the Indianapolis Colts. While the Colts were a playoff team last year and they are led by a defensive-minded coach in Chuck Pagano, their defense pales in comparison to Seattle's. In fact, the Colts' defense has been suspect this year despite facing two teams that aren't exactly offensive juggernauts, so they are ripe for the picking.
The Colts are in the middle of the pack in terms of passing yards allowed at 249 yards per game, but they are among the worst in the league against the run. Indy is surrendering 136 rushing yards per contest, and that doesn't bode well against Kaepernick, Frank Gore and the read-option.
Kaepernick's Week 1 showing was all about the aerial assault as he threw for a career-high 412 yards along with three touchdowns. It was somewhat surprising that he rushed for just 22 yards after what he did to the Packers with his legs in the playoffs last season, but Kap proved he can get it done in a number of different ways.
Although Kaepernick was awful as a passer last week, he did somewhat salvage his fantasy value with 87 rushing yards, and he showed he may be the best dual-threat signal-caller in the game today. That will be put to the test against the Colts as Indy's recent performances suggest that Kaepernick should be in for a huge statistical day.
Will Colin Kaepernick bounce back with a huge performance in Week 3?
The Colts were expected to have their way with the Oakland Raiders and inexperienced quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Week 1. Yet, while the Colts did win the game 21-17, Pryor showed flashes of brilliance. In addition to passing for 217 yards and a score, he sliced and diced through the Colts' defense on the ground to the tune of 112 yards.
That total actually made Pryor the No. 2 rusher in the entire league through one week, so it's fair to say that the Colts struggle with mobile quarterbacks. Nobody runs the read-option better than Kaepernick and the 49ers, so look for it to be utilized early and often on Sunday.
In addition to the statistical trends pointing in Kaepernick's favor, pride figures to play a big role in Week 3 as well. Kaepernick and the Niners were absolutely embarrassed by a divisional rival last week, and they'll do everything in their power to erase the memory of that loss.
The Colts have to travel all the way out west to take on an agitated team in a hostile environment, so it's fair to say the odds are stacked against them. Kaepernick probably feels more responsible for last week's loss than anyone, and he'll do everything in his power to atone for it.
Don't expect Kaepernick to throw for 400 yards on Sunday like he did in Week 1, but a passing performance approaching 300 yards along with better than 100 yards rushing is very much within reach.
Some fantasy owners may be down on Kaepernick after last week, but there is no shame in struggling against the Seahawks. All the pieces are in place for a monster performance in Week 3, so there should be absolutely no hesitation when it comes to starting Kaepernick on your fantasy team this week.
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