So I guess that means the Colin Kaepernick Experiment is over, huh?
Kaepernick was a popular addition to fantasy rosters the previous two weeks. He was even started in nearly a third of all ESPN leagues in Week 13.
And why not? He had found his groove as a passer and was piling on rushing yards that more than compensated for any deficiencies in passing yards and touchdowns. Chicago was not considered a formidable opponent.
Then winter came.
Apparently, Kaep is a fair-weather QB. Or, let’s be honest, just not that great to begin with. If he was, he wouldn’t have gotten the hook so quickly.
He finished the game with one completion (in five attempts) for four yards. Oh, my.
(At least nobody made the same mistake as Panthers coach Ron Rivera and started Derek Anderson against the Seahawks.)
On a much less disastrous level, owners who “chased points” with Tyreek Hill or Taylor Gabriel likewise came up short-handed. Neither was a disaster, though, so depending on your other options, starting Gabriel or Hill might not have been a mistake.
But the lesson is clear: Bench your steady-and-true starters in favor of late-season bloomers at your peril. Particularly when it comes to a one-slot position like quarterback.
And especially when the stakes are elevated in the fantasy postseason.
Nobody wants to get Kaep’d.
Catch ’em while you can
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Buccaneers: Rodgers took over the backfield late in the game after Doug Martin was “bent back” on a tackle and exited. His coach is now saying Martin did not incur a serious injury, but his owners should monitor the situation closely anyway. If he is sidelined for a game or more, Rodgers will be a worthy proxy.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers: As we head into the postseason, it’s worth a reminder that there is no more valuable handcuff in Fantasyland than Williams. Le’Veon Bell’s owners, in particular, need to grab and stash D-Will for the stretch run. He’s nearly a month removed from a knee scope and is once again just one play away from being a dominating force who could propel you to a title.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens: Unlike Ladarius Green, Pitta has a long and successful track record with Joe Flacco. So his 90-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Dolphins wasn’t necessarily an aberration. He also has a favorable schedule moving forward. If you’re in need of TE help, Pitta is worth a gamble.
Don’t be fooled
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: Unless you think his stellar performance was the beginning of another late-season tear like the one he experienced during his unlikely Super Bowl run in 2012, don’t waste your time. In nine of 12 games this season, he connected for zero or one passing touchdowns. Look for more busts than booms in the weeks ahead.
Josh Bellamy, WR, Bears: Remember when Cameron Meredith was all the rage? Last week, it was Marquess Wilson. On Sunday, Bellamy led the Bears in receiving — and could have soared even higher if not for a couple of bad drops — so you can bet he will be a hot waiver-wire recommendation by many so-called fantasy “gurus.” Puh-leeze. From my column last week: “Chicago’s passing attack remains a work in progress, and no receiver is likely to emerge as a consistent fantasy contributor.” I’m not saying it’s gospel, but I would heed those words.
Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers: He finally had the breakout game we’ve been waiting for. And the big difference was he was targeted 11 times. Alas, I just don’t think he can be trusted in the fantasy postseason given his short and undistinguished resume. Let someone else take the bait.
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