Rid yourself of any illusions you may have had in December. You’re not getting Colin Kaepernick on the cheap in 2013.
Those owners who love nothing more than a supreme value quarterback pick (me) were foaming at the mouth last month at the prospect of the 49ers’ signal caller as a late-round draft pick next August. Those who snagged Kaepernick from every available waiver wire after he took Alex Smith’s starting gig in Week 10 (me) prayed to all available deities that the long-legged one would stay under the radar, that he’d be thought of as a gimmick quarterback over-managed by a tyrannical head coach.
Kaepernick’s 446 yards and four touchdowns in the 49ers’ Divisional Round thumping of the Packers effectively nuked those dreams. The signal caller who was owned in just 55 percent of leagues at season’s end is no longer our little secret. He’s everyone’s secret, so he’s no one’s secret.
No matter how he fares against the Falcons in the NFC title game, Kaepernick has vaulted himself – conservatively – into fantasy’s top-10 quarterbacks for 2013. In more sophisticated leagues, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see Kaepernick come off the board in the fourth round. Don’t be fooled by various and ridiculous 2013 mock drafts being held this winter. Kaepernick won’t be gettable in the eighth and ninth rounds come August.
Kaepernick, if he torches the Falcons and puts up silly passing and rushing numbers in the Super Bowl, could very well jump into the top-5 quarterback discussion. Fantasy owners’ recency bias — and Kaepernick’s sky-high fantasy ceiling — would have him off the board by the end of the second round or the beginning of the third round in 2013 drafts. I wrote that while assuming the fetal position. It wasn’t easy.
Kaepernick averaged 20.9 fantasy points per game over San Francisco’s last seven contests, saving his fantasy against the Rams and Dolphins with long runs – one for a score – in those games’ waning moments. His fantasy value, however, isn’t limited to miracle fourth quarter scampers.
Aaron Rodgers, in his last seven regular season games, averaged 19.8 fantasy points. Tom Brady averaged 22 points in that span, and Cam Newton averaged 24 points. And for the record, since I know daily fantasy football games are the domain of the deranged this time of year, Kaepernick posted 47 points last week against Green Bay.
In December, even after Kaepernick’s demolition of the Patriots’ defense in prime time, I saw quite a bit of Twitter chatter on Kaepernick as a slightly modified Tim Tebow – a running quarterback whose coaches were afraid to let him play like a traditional quarterback, whatever that might mean.
That’s nonsense, and now – unfortunately – everyone knows it.
“There were throws that were piercing once again in this game where he powered the ball through the defense,” Jim Harbaugh said in a press conference this week. “Thinking of throws to Randy (Moss) in the middle of the field, to Vernon Davis, 45-50 yards the ball is in the air, on a line, to a spot and heck of a grab by Vernon on that particular play.”
Phil Simms, a pretty reliable evaluator of quarterback acumen, agreed.
“He may be the most dynamic quarterback in the NFL,” Simms said. “His arm is not good, it’s special. If you watch the San Francisco 49ers ever since he became quarterback, you see these throws every single week. It’s not only the power. It’s the accuracy. That’s what has really startled me. He can throw it hard on a line, but his touch passes down the field have been spectacular … Forget the running, that arm alone is enough to make you a franchise quarterback.”
There you have it. The kill shot for what looked to be a reliable 2013 value quarterback pick. Value fiends, it’s time to look elsewhere. Kaepernick’s market price has been properly adjusted, to our great horror.