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Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Colin Kaepernick in Week 13?


November 30, 2016

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With a massive near-300 yard passing, three touchdown, 113 rushing yard performance against the Miami Dolphins, Colin Kaepernick is suddenly the talk of all the fantasy football world. If you’d been paying attention to my streaming quarterbacks pieces every week, however, you’d already be ahead of the curve.

Kaepernick has been a viable fantasy option for weeks now, and now that he’s turned in the top quarterback performance of the week, his ownership is going to skyrocket. This week the 49ers travel to Chicago to take on a Bears team that is ready to pack it in for the season, but if you’re a fresh Kaepernick owner, should you slot him into your lineup this week?

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When considering Colin Kaepernick, you need to get over the stigma you may have with Colin Kaepernick. He is not a good traditional quarterback, but there are several things about his game that you need to understand. First and foremost is his running ability. Colin Kaepernick this season is averaging 53.3 rushing yards per game this season, which is the equivalent of tacking on an extra 130+ passing yards to his total.

It’s easy to dismiss Kaepernick as an unreliable option who isn’t going to get you a lot of fantasy points because he’s topped 300 passing yards just once this season, and gone over 250 twice. His rushing yards, however, give him the fantasy point floor equivalent of throwing for 300 yards every single week.

Second, Colin Kaepernick does not throw nearly as many interceptions as you think. Among active quarterbacks with at least 1500 passes, Colin Kaepernick is third in interception rate (1.85%). He throws interceptions at a rate lower than every single quarterback in the league not named Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. He throws the ball away. He throws it into the dirt, but he rarely throws it to the other team.

I’ll put it a different way: in 53 career starts, Kaepernick has just five multi-interception games. Eli Manning, Blake Bortles and Joe Flacco all have four this season. Kaepernick just imploded in a big spot (back-to-back pick sixes last year) and that’s all anyone remembers.

Third, Kaepernick has been a legitimately good quarterback lately. He’s more decisive, his accuracy is much better, and he has stopped throwing balls into the dirt. He seems to be healed from his injuries and had shades of vintage Kaepernick in his performance against Miami.

He’s also been an increasingly good fantasy football option. Since the 49ers’ week 8 bye, Kaepernick was QB9, QB7, QB10 and he finally peaked last week as the top quarterback in the land. Kaepernick’s rush yards and care is taken with the football give him a great floor.

His ceiling depends on the matchup, and he takes on a Bears squad that is still riding its early season success against the QB to its ranking as the fourteenth-best defense against quarterbacks. Over their last seven games, only Blake Bortles and Sam Bradford have failed to notch at least 17 fantasy points, and most of these quarterbacks did it without running.

Kaepernick is likely to end up in the QB5 area this week. If you need a quarterback, he should be a quick slot into your lineup if you scooped him up off waivers.

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