Editor’s Note: This article is submitted by a new Member Corner author, Pete Benavides. We welcome Pete to the Member Corner and look forward to seeing more of his work in the future!
“Prisoner of the Moment” – this is a common theme among fantasy football players throughout the season. A player gets an opportunity, starts, puts up ridiculous stats and immediately he’s a “must own.” This is something we must all be careful with, especially when you’re playing in dynasty leagues. The last thing you want to do is add a flavor of the week and drop a player who’s riding your bench with better long term value. It’s all patience and it’s a virtue.
This brings me to Colin Kaepernick.
The second year quarterback started in week eleven against the Bears, played a great game and never looked back. Since Jim Harbaugh committed to his hand picked quarterback, “Kaep” performed amazingly well. From week eleven to week sixteen, he was the QB7 in most standard fantasy leagues. Even when he took over for an injured Alex Smith in week ten, he posted a solid stat line of 11/17 for 117 yards and ran eight times for 66 yards and a touchdown – not too shabby for a second year player with minimal playing time.
Now, not everyone will be on board with him and here are some arguments you might hear as to why you should be selling on him.
First, it’s his first year with meaningful playing time and come the 2013 season, defenses will know exactly what to expect from him. The game planning will be different and he won’t be able to get away with as much. Also, he’s a running quarterback who could get hurt at any time. So you should be scared every time he gets a chance to run down field. Last, but not least, some will think he’s just a flash in the pan and won’t be anything more than what he is now.
And now for the defense.
Of course defenses will game plan for him next year – it comes with the territory of being a successful new quarterback. Just like defenses will game plan for Kaepernick, the offense will make adjustments to execute their game plan. Not to mention the second year player is very talented and has shown the ability to make smart decisions with the football. On being a running quarterback, if you’ve paid attention to the Niners at all, you’ve seen Harbaugh hasn’t exactly let Kaep off the leash. San Francisco is balanced and when running the read option and Kaepernick only makes plays when he has to and thus far has executed it extremely well and wisely. This is a good thing as the young player moves forward and gives you an element of surprise from game to game. If you dare him to beat you with his legs, he will (as the Packers found out) and his cannon of an arm should scare any secondary. As a side note, injuries can happen with any player. It’s the chance we all take.
What you also have to like about Kaepernick next season, and for his future, are the weapons he’ll have around him. The chemistry he has with wideout Michael Crabtree will only get better. Crabs has seen resurgence with Kaep under center and the former first round pick is finally playing up to his potential. Before his injury, Mario Manningham was coming along in the passing game and he’ll play an important part of Kaep’s continuing development. Rookie AJ Jenkins didn’t have much of an impact, but his usefulness will come into play as the years go on. The running game isn’t going anywhere – the Niners are a run first team and this likely isn’t going to change. Frank Gore will still be around next year and their constant rotation of the backfield has only lengthened his career. With the addition of LaMichael James this past season, combined with getting Kendall Hunter back, the Niners will have a strong and balanced run attack.
In a startup draft, I’d still take guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Stafford over him. After that, it could get a little interesting. I can definitely see him falling into a tier with guys like Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and RG3. If you can pair him with a top guy like Brady, Brees or Rodgers, you’ll be sitting pretty. Pairing him with one of the top quarterbacks will also give you an added advantage of debating whether or not you should start him weekly. I’m not saying I don’t trust him; the whole point of this is to get him on your roster. However, allowing yourself to watch his maturation with a veteran signal caller in tow will calm any skepticism you may have.
One thing is for certain, I believe Kaepernick is more than just a flash in the pan or flavor of the week. He’s a player who Harbaugh took a gamble on and its paid off. To a dynasty owner, all we want to see from a quarterback like him is week in and week out production. With his play to finish the season and through the playoffs thus far, he has established himself as a top ten fantasy quarterback. Don’t consider this a “prisoner of the moment” type of a feeling – Kaepernick will only get better, so make sure you get him on your roster and enjoy the ride.
You can follow Pete on twitter – @PacingPete.