Colin Kaepernick's fantasy football stock took a monster hit in Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers, and he's teetering on the verge of must-sit status heading into the final part of the season.
Kaepernick completed just half his passes (11 of 22) for a pitiful 91 yards (4.1 yards per attempt) with zero touchdowns, an interception and just 16 yards rushing on four attempts.
It was easily the worst performance of his young career, and it didn't take long for the critics to speak up.
ESPN's Trent Dilfer was highly critical of Kaepernick, as noted by Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest and ESPN.com's Mike Sando:
ESPN's Dilfer on 49ers: "SF should be very concerned. Kaepernick is plateauing. Wilson is improving."— Art Thiel (@Art_Thiel) November 11, 2013
Dilfer just now on ESPN: Take away Kaepernick's first read and he becomes "remedial" as a passer.— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@SandoESPN) November 11, 2013
According to ESPN.com standard fantasy scoring, the dual-threat quarterback only managed two points for fantasy owners who started him, but Michael Fabiano noted he wasn't the only quarterback who struggled to produce in the game:
Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick have scored a COMBINED 11.24 fantasy points today - that's less than Scott Tolzien (13.1). Craziness.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) November 11, 2013
It was a brutal game for both quarterbacks, but there's no way to sugarcoat just how bad Kaepernick played. He was atrocious. He looked lost at times and appeared to be rattled by the pressure Carolina was producing.
Speaking of pressure, Kaepernick was sacked six times on Sunday, and that number could have been significantly higher if not for his insane athleticism and speed. The front four of the Panthers relentlessly attacked San Francisco's offensive line, making the elite group look pathetic.
On many plays, Kaepernick didn't have time to think—let alone throw the ball.
Charles Johnson and Luke Kuechly led a ferocious effort that ate up the 49ers offensive scheme like it was made out of juicy prime rib.
But this isn't exactly a surprise—Carolina has been doing this to opposing offenses all year long. Heading into the game, the Panthers featured the league's No. 3-ranked defense (299.9 yards per game) and No. 2-ranked scoring defense (13.3 points per game).
From a fantasy perspective, no defense in the league comes close to matching the Panthers when it comes to shutting down opposing quarterbacks, who averaged just 9.3 points per game coming into Sunday's contest.
Obviously, that number will go down even further after Kaepernick's pitiful performance.
However, it's worth noting that Kaepernick was working for most of the game without his top offensive passing weapon, Vernon Davis, who left the game in the first half with a concussion and didn't return, as noted by the 49ers on Twitter:
Looking ahead, things don't get much easier for Kaepernick and the 49ers.
Of the team's final seven opponents, four feature defenses that rank amongst the top 14 in the league in terms of defending fantasy quarterbacks.
So, what to do with this risky quarterback who can be a huge boon one week and a bust the next?
If you're an owner with a starting quarterback you like, now may be the time to buy low on Kaepernick for those contests in which he's favored to do well. When he's on his game (Green Bay, Jacksonville), the 49ers signal-caller is among the league's elite in terms of scoring fantasy points.
Certainly, you shouldn't offer any player who is a reliable starter, as Kaepernick's value doesn't demand such a trade.
Kaepernick is a ______ fantasy quarterback.
On the other side of the same coin, fantasy owners looking to get rid of Kaepernick won't likely find a hot market in exchange for his services.
His two-point performance on Sunday marked the fourth time this season in which he's scored less than nine points (ESPN.com standard scoring), and it's always hard to get value for a player who just stunk it up.
After the third-year quarterback's phenomenal playoff run a year ago, his play this season has certainly been frustrating. At this time, however, there's not a lot you can do about it, and a player of his caliber is always a threat to break out with a monster game.
Perhaps the best move right now for owners who are frustrated with Kaepernick is to simply wait and see what happens against the Saints in Week 11. New Orleans has been stellar this year, but this Saints team hasn't gone up against a legitimate read-option, dual-threat quarterback to this point in 2013.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.