Colin Kaepernick Rising Again in Dynasty And Keeper Leagues
by Bobby McMann
Whether you are getting a jump start on your re-draft prep for next summer or playing in a keeper/dynasty format, playoff football is about more than which team wins the Super Bowl. You need to be looking for value, and on the playoff stage stocks can be volatile. Case in point:Colin Kaepernicklast season. He took over forAlex Smithtowards the end of the regular season and had an exceptional playoff run, leading to a soaring 2013 stock. Potential 2014 breakout talents likeGiovani BernardandZach Ertzhave been eliminated, but there are plenty of value trends to keep an eye on as we head into the offseason. The spotlight will be on in each of the seven remaining gameswhos stock will rise up?
The Broncos offense has been a well-oiled machine all season long and the playoffs figure to be no different. There are plenty of established Fantasy studs here, but keep an eye onMontee Balls usage and performance. Keeping Peyton Manning upright figures to be a top priority and that means we could see more ofKnowshon Moreno, but Ball is the future of this backfield. While he did not have the impact many expected this season, 2014 could be a very different story. Even with his average skill set, he could be a high upside RB2 if he can grab hold of the starting job this summer. Another player that will be heavily monitored this offseason isEric Decker. The 26-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and will command big dollars on the open market. Keep a close eye on this situation, as he may be leaving Denver for greener pastures.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
One of the breakout stories of 2013 was rookie receiverKeenan Allen. The 21-year-old Cal product racked up over 1,000 yards, 71 receptions and 8 TDs in 15 games. His dynasty value is already trending way up, but a big playoff performance could further boost his stock.Ryan Mathewstapped into his vast Fantasy potential with a solid RB2 performance this season. He is not the type of talent that can be relied upon because of constant injuries, but he is a valuable role player. If he finishes off this season with a whimper against the Broncos, he could be a decent buy candidate in the offseason.Antonio Gatesis not getting any younger andLadarius Greenis primed for a bigger role. Green will be no more than a TE2 with upside entering 2014, which makes him an intriguing stash player.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
LeGarrette Blountis playing like the best RB in the Patriots backfield, which makesStevan Ridleys long-term value suspect. Ridley certainly has the talent to be a major contributor to your Fantasy team, but he might need a change of scenery. IfShane Vereencan stay healthy, he will be a huge PPR asset. He should be a major component of New Englands offensive strategy during the playoffs and has the ability to make owners forget about his injury history. There is an opportunity forKenbrell Thompkinsto boost his profile with fellow rookieJosh Boyceon IR andAaron Dobsonquestionable for Saturdays action. The only immediate future certainty in the Patriots receiving corps isJulian Edelman. Not only did Edelman have over 100 receptions this past season, he also has thesmoothie game on lock.
Andrew Luckwas already a top dynasty QB, but his stock is on helium watch after Saturdays performance against the Chiefs. He has the talent to unseatAaron Rodgersas the most sought after QB in dynasty by the end of next season, if not sooner. WhileT.Y. Hiltonmay not profile as a WR1, he certainly has Top 15 potential because of his playmaking ability. It would not be a surprise if the Colts added a big target in the draft. Still,DaRick Rodgerscould emerge as a solid WR for Luck. He has way more upside thanGriff Whalen, who is more of a situational talent.Coby Fleenerhas not capitalized on the opportunity presented to him this season and his stock is in danger of falling. Not sure thatTrent Richardsons stock could get any lower than it is right now. Be aware of summer fluff pieces about how comfortable and beastly T-Rich looks after being with the Colts for a full offseason with the team. He is a very risky long-term prospect, worth only a speculative acquisition.Donald Brownhas flashed for just about the first time in his career. He is a change of pace type at best.
Russell Wilsonis an excellent NFL QB, but is he an elite Fantasy QB? He is a highly efficient passer with a knack for throwing TDs and racking up extra yards on the ground. He is only 25 years old, and despite his size he still has plenty of upside for Fantasy purposes. Because of that, he is a franchise QB in long-term formats even if he lacks the ceiling of Andrew Luck or Colin Kaepernick. It is not likely we will see much, if any, ofChristine Michael, the Seahawks rookie RB and future Fantasy stud. Use that to your advantage and acquire him wherever you can this offseason. WillPercy Harvinmake an impact? His value has dipped, but a big postseason could fix that in a hurry.Golden Tateis playing for a payday as a free agent after the season.
For the second postseason in a row, Niners QB Colin Kaepernick is increasing his keeper league value.Photo Credit:Football Schedule
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
What is the deal with the Saints RB situation? Long-term, the answer may not be on the roster.Mark Ingramhad a big performance on Saturday night against the Eagles, but he is far too inconsistent and limited to be anything more than a Flex player.Pierre Thomashad an impressive season, even if he offers little long-term appeal.Darren Sprolesis not worth buying into anymore in dynasty leagues. The two most intriguing prospects are rookieKhiry Robinsonand potential Sproles replacementTravaris Cadet. Robinson was impressive last week, but does not figure to get more than a handful of touches, especially if Pierre Thomas is active. On the receiving side,Kenny Stillsis more one-trick pony than reliable Fantasy asset at the moment. WhileNick Toonwill likely not even be active this week, he is one to monitor this offseason.
The Panthers more than any other team in the playoffs lack offensive firepower.Cam Newtonis just about flying solo out there.Brandon Lafellis a replaceable talent,Steve Smithis just about done and the running game is anybodys guess.Jonathan Stewarthas all the talent in the world, but cannot stay on the field long enough to use it.Kenjon Barneris worth a stash in deep leagues because of his playmaking potential. The Panthers desperately need to surround Newton with some young, high upside talent this offseason. If they can manage to even win one playoff game, it will be thanks in large part to their franchise QB and top-notch defense.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Just like he did last January,Colin Kaepernickis reminding everyone that he is an elite talent with limitless Fantasy upside. His first full season as a starter was filled with inconsistency and struggles. Even in an off season, he had over 3,000 yards passing, 500 yards rushing and 25 TDs with only 8 INTs. If the Niners make a run once again, you can expect Kaeps value to climb back up. With the success of Kaepernick comes big numbers forMichael Crabtree. Now healthy, he continues to flash an excellent rapport with his QB. He will be a WR1 next season.Kendall Hunteris only going to get a few touches as long asFrank Goreremains healthy, but he could be in line for even more of a workload next season. That is, if he is not passed over by ultra-talentedMarcus Lattimore.
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