Colin Kaepernick NFL Stats
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Colin Kaepernick NFL Game Log
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(Compared to other QBs)
Bench Press: 0 reps
Free Agent Team Injury Report
At press time, Kaepernick was still unsigned after opting out of his contract with the 49ers in March. It's unknown if he would take a backup job (and backup money) or if teams just don't want the inevitable distraction after his national anthem protests last year. (Or, perhaps he's blackballed). His only known free-agent visit came with the Seahawks. Whatever the case, even if his game has deteriorated since taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl and two NFC championships, Kaepernick was still a capable QB last year, passing for 398 yards in Week 9 and totaling 296 passing yards and 113 rushing yards in Week 12. He finished second among QBs in rushing yards in only 12 games. To be sure, he had some dud games, but the offensive talent was sparse. If he were to work his way into playing time in the right situation, he could still have fantasy value.
It wasn't all that long ago Kaepernick seemed like the very model of a modern NFL quarterback, combining electrifying scrambling ability with an arm capable of putting the ball behind even the deepest safety. His play continued to regress in 2015, however, with accuracy issues and his inability to read defenses eventually leading the 49ers to give the starting job to Blaine Gabbert in the second half of the season. GM Trent Baalke attempted to trade Kaepernick in the offseason, but his large contract (and unwillingness to renegotiate it) scuttled a potential deal with the Broncos, and all signs thus point to him heading to camp still in a San Francisco uniform. That may not be the worst thing for his future, however. New 49ers coach Chip Kelly will bring in an offensive system that seems tailor-made for Kaepernick's skills, allowing him to maximize his physical talent while simplifying his reads, and if he adapts quickly he could regain his starting spot from Gabbert down the road. The roster lacks the receiving options to become a truly potent offense, even with Kelly's up-tempo system in place, but Kaepernick's ability to pick up yards on the ground could compensate for his lack of aerial production (Michael Vick, for instance, ran for more than 300 yards in seven games for Kelly's Eagles in 2013).
Kaepernick endured a miserable season last year, falling out of the top 15 in QB fantasy scoring despite finishing second at the position in rushing yards. He failed to throw multiple touchdown passes in 12 games as his TD:INT ratio declined for the second consecutive season. His YPA also declined again, ranking 22nd. Kaepernick has one of the league's strongest arms but needs to improve his downfield touch and accuracy after finishing 28th with only five 40-yard completions, despite having the fourth-most attempts of 21-plus yards. And though he accounted for 31.3 percent of the 49ers' red-zone carries, his only rushing touchdown came on a 90-yard run. It's unclear how the offensive gameplan will change with a new coaching staff, but new offensive coordinator Geep Chryst was the quarterbacks coach under Jim Harbaugh, so there may not be much difference. Of course, the 49ers can't get much more run-oriented — since 2011, only the Seahawks have thrown less — and Kaepernick will have better weapons to target this season. The 49ers signed the speedy Torrey Smith to stretch the field, adding an element they lacked last season. Teammates in Baltimore, Smith reunites with the dependable Anquan Boldin. And perhaps tight end Vernon Davis, who had 13 touchdowns in 2013, will be worked back into the offense after he was oddly a non-factor more often than not last year. Carlos Hyde takes over for Frank Gore in the backfield, joined by newcomer Reggie Bush, who had 40 catches in 11 games last year for the Lions.
Kaepernick led San Francisco deep into the playoffs in each of his two seasons as starter, entrenching him as the 49ers' franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future. The former second-round pick has emerged as one of the league's elite running threats at quarterback, bolting for 939 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground over the last two years, and he's flashed high-level passing potential at times. He has room for improvement in terms of his consistency as a passer, however, as he failed to hit the 200-yard mark 10 times in 2013, completing less than 56 percent of his passes in seven games. Most of his struggles occurred in the first half of the season, a period in which he played through a foot injury, according to coach Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers were without No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree (Achilles) for the first 11 weeks, too, so Kaepernick mostly gets a pass for his early-season issues. In the five games Crabtree played last year, Kaepernick averaged 232 yards and 1.4 touchdowns through the air, projecting to about 3,714 yards and 22.4 touchdowns over 16 games. With Crabtree healthy heading into 2014 and Steve Johnson added to the wideout rotation, Kaepernick should be a more reliable passer this year.
After taking over in mid-October, Kaepernick used his rocket arm and mobility to lead San Francisco all the way to the Super Bowl. On the way, the quarterback totaled 8.3 YPA and posted at least two passing touchdowns or a rushing touchdown in five of his seven regular-season starts.
Kaepernick's upside was most apparent in the Niners' first playoff game; he threw for 261 yards and two scores while also galloping for a remarkable 181 rushing yards – a playoff record for a quarterback – and two more touchdowns. That's 52 fantasy points for those counting at home.
Although Kaepernick might seem like a risky selection, consider that he ran for at least 50 yards in six games last year (including the playoffs), so he can give you points even when he's struggling through the air. That versatility makes Kaepernick a safe week-to-week play.
Of some concern is the loss of top target Michael Crabtree to a torn Achilles' tendon during spring OTAs. Of Kaepernick's 2,406 yards and 14 TD passes from Week 11 (when he took over as the full-time starter) through the Super Bowl, Crabtree accounted for 880 yards and eight scores. The addition of Anquan Boldin should help, but its unlikely Boldin, a gimpy Mario Manningham or untested Quinton Patton and A.J. Jenkins can fill Crabtree's shoes.
While the WAC pistol quarterback figures to be quite raw, Kaepernick is a well-documented hard worker who could earn some starts if Alex Smith slips up. In the event Kaepernick does start, he’d be worth a look as a fantasy option due to his 4.51 speed and rare arm strength. Even if he’s too raw to make an impact as a passer, he figures to be an instant hit as a runner after piling up 4,109 yards and 59 touchdowns on the ground at Nevada. The 49ers brought Alex Smith back on a one-year deal, which means Kaepernick could be the long-term solution in San Francisco.