Colin Kaepernick's Week 12 performance is a sign of things to come.
The dynamic young quarterback won a battle of promising-yet-struggling signal-callers on Monday night, as he completed 15 of 24 throws for 235 yards and three touchdowns while Robert Griffin III managed just 127 yards and an interception.
I know what you're all thinking.
Where will Colin Kaepernick rank among fantasy QBs down the final stretch of the season?
The Washington Redskins probably couldn't hold a blindfolded quarterback to under 200 yards. Heck, they probably couldn't even hold Tim Tebow to under 200 yards (it's a joke, I'm sorry and please don't hurt me). And when you couple that porous defense with the fact this is just Kaepernick's third game of the season over the double-century mark, the inclination will be to shrug off the fantastic performance.
But I'm buying the process, not the result.
Kaepernick could have thrown for 50 yards and zero touchdowns, but if he still looked as good as he did on Monday night, it would have been cause for celebration.
For the first time in what seems like forever, he was accurate and on time when taking shots downfield, and as the San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch noted, it resulted in some unusual production:
#49ers Colin Kaepernick has 6 completions longer than 17 yards tonight (24, 19, 40, 32, 20, 23). Previous 2 games: nada.— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) November 26, 2013
Don't get me wrong. There was still room for improvement. He overthrew Vernon Davis on what would have been a long touchdown late in the game, but he still had a tremendous night throwing the ball deep, and that's an encouraging sign for fantasy owners moving forward.
Moreover, Kaepernick used his legs effectively, not in terms of rushing yards (he had 20 of those), but in terms of escaping the pocket, extending the play and moving onto his second and third reads.
This touchdown exemplified that:
Kaepernick's fantasy value is still capped by the 49ers' propensity to win games via the run and their elite defense. But Monday was easily one of the best games of his season, and next week, he likely gets a talented weapon back in his arsenal, per head coach Jim Harbaugh, via The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows:
Harbaugh's been coy about Michael Crabtree's return for a month, but he said he "anticipates" the receiver will play Sunday vs. the Rams.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) November 26, 2013
The third-year quarterback has been frustrating for fantasy owners this season, but you're going to see his most productive football down the stretch.