Let’s play a game. I’m going to describe two players, and you try to guess them.
Player A has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the last four weeks. He has averaged 278 passing yards, thrown for eight touchdowns and rushed for 223 yards and a touchdown.
Player B has been one of the more disappointing quarterbacks in that span, averaging 231 passing yards, throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Take a minute.
Player A sounds a lot like the Panthers’ Cam Newton, most people’s No. 1 quarterback on draft day. But it’s the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, who wasn’t even draftable in most leagues.
Player B is Newton. Such is the fickle world of fantasy football.
So what should we make of Kaepernick? Well, he’s actually worth starting. During his four-game run, he has finished in the top 10 in basic scoring among quarterbacks each week, averaging 24 points. In fact, his total of 95 is second to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (102) among all players in that span.
Kaepernick is a unique fantasy player for two reasons. First, coach Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense gives him ample scoring chances when it’s clicking. That was the case against the Dolphins on Sunday, when the 49ers ran 73 plays, almost 10 more than their season average. For perspective, the Cardinals lead the league with an average of 70 plays per game.
Second, Kaepernick is as mobile as quarterbacks come. Even though he wasn’t named the starter until Week 6, he ranks second in rushing yards among quarterbacks with 373. He rushed for 113 yards on 10 carries against the Dolphins with the help of the read-option. He also wasn’t afraid to leave the pocket if nothing developed downfield, but there was no panic. He was in control.
The 49ers also have a favorable schedule. Up next is an undermanned Bears defense that has allowed multiple touchdown passes in five of the last seven games. Then come the Jets and Falcons, who rank 22nd and 32nd, respectively, in pass defense.
Kaepernick was available in 77 percent of ESPN leagues before waiver claims were processed Tuesday night. That could have been because owners weren’t paying attention to a 1-10 team, people don’t like Kaepernick (that’s another column) or people don’t believe in him.
You better believe before someone else does.
Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.
WEEK 13 OUTLOOK
Bye: Titans, Browns.
Bills WR Sammy Watkins: He played only 45 percent of the snaps in his return from a foot injury, but he performed well and came through unscathed.
Patriots WR Julian Edelman: He has 29 points in his last three games, his best stretch of the season. He’s a PPR monster again with 23 catches in that span.
Packers RB James Starks: With the Packers finally playing from ahead, he carried 17 times Monday — but rushed for only 41 yards.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton: His slump predates A.J. Green’s injury. In his last four games, he has four touchdown passes, four interceptions and three fumbles.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford: You were right to bench him last week. Now start him against the Saints, who just allowed three TD passes to Rams QB Jared Goff.
Jets WR Brandon Marshall: Coming off his best game since Week 5, he gets a Colts defense that has allowed an average of 32.8 points to WRs in the last four games.
Redskins QB Kirk Cousins: The No. 6 QB scorer has a tough matchup against the Cardinals, who have allowed the third-fewest points per game to QBs.
Colts RB Frank Gore: He has been a consistent double-digit scorer, but he figures to struggle against the Jets’ fourth-ranked run defense.