|Kaepernick & Brown - Love 'em or List 'em?||Tweet|
|Written by Steve Braun|
|Thursday, 29 November 2012 08:49|
Love Him or List Him: Bryce Brown / Colin Kaepernick
This column was originally going to be just about Colin Kaepernick, who took over for the injured Alex Smith two weeks ago and has become the darling of NFL media types everywhere it seems. But Bryce Brown’s impressive debut on Monday made me think that with most leagues having only two weeks left before the fantasy playoffs, owners need to know as much as possible about him before making what could be a team altering decision whether to start him.
Just to be clear, Love Him doesn’t mean refuse a trade that will blow your doors off. No player is untradeable if the price is right. And List Him doesn’t mean trade him for a sack of dirty jock straps. Try and trade him for what his current value is worth.
Colin Kaepernick is a 25 year old quarterback who stands 6-4 ½ and weighs 233 lbs. He ran a 4.53 forty at the Combine. He’s a Wisconsin boy who played his high school ball in California and excelled at baseball and basketball as well. He was heavily recruited by NCAA schools for baseball, but not much for football. This was partly due to the belief he would play baseball. He only received one football scholarship offer, from Nevada which he accepted of course. As a freshman in 2007 he became the starter in the Wolf Pack’s fifth game of the season. Kaepernick’s four year college career as a starting QB was filled with notable accomplishments and he set several records, most notably becoming the first player in NCAA history to record three straight 2,000 yard passing and 1,000 yard rushing seasons. The Forty-Niners traded up to select Kaepernick with the fourth pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. Here are his college stats:
Coming out of college the scouting reports, and Kaepernick’s prospects for NFL success, varied. While everyone agreed he was a marvelous athlete and a terrific running QB, some had serious doubts about his future as a passer. Critics had concerns about his unorthodox delivery while others marveled at his incredible arm strength. Proponents raved about his college numbers while critics complained of the gimmicky ‘pistol’ offense he ran at Nevada. Comparisons varied between Cam Newton, Tim Tebow and somewhere in between.
Personally I’ve never been a big believer in general that the running quarterback will have prolonged success at the NFL level. While it’s obviously a great asset to be able to run for first downs, it doesn’t matter if a QB has great wheels if he can’t read defenses, throw receivers open, and generally be successful as a pocket passer when the game situation calls for it.
Kaepernick’s first career NFL start was in week 11 versus the Chicago Bears and their dominating defense. Not exactly a recipe for success for your first start, but Kaepernick was outstanding. Most of his throws were on target and he made smart decisions all night. His success gained him a second consecutive start even though starter Alex Smith was declared healthy and active for the game. I suspect the Niners were being extra cautious with Smith after seeing Kaepernick’s performance against Chicago and knowing the Saints were expected to be a QB friendly match up. Although Kaepernick successfully led the Niners to a victory over New Orleans, his numbers were less than what other quarterbacks have been putting up against the Saints’ porous secondary. He struggled with crowd noise, as many do in the Superdome, but I was impressed with how he fought through it. But overall his outing against the Saints was not impressive fantasy-wise.
My opinion is that Kaepernick is highly coach able, whatever flaws he has in his technique can be corrected and he’s smart enough to learn the complexities of an NFL offense. My biggest concern with him this year is how many more starts he will get. While Kaepernick has been impressive, so has Alex Smith this season. Fantasy-wise he’s been a dud, but he’s having probably his best season as a starting quarterback in terms of QB rating and completion percentage. And let’s not forget he led the Niners to within a fumble of going to the Super Bowl last year. He obviously has much more experience both as an NFL starter in general and as the Niner’s signal caller. As much as I love Kaepernick’s skill set over Smith’s, if I’m Harbaugh I’m seriously worried about putting the team in the hands of an inexperienced quarterback. Sure he can always go back to Smith if Kaepernick falters, but after the organization already showed a crack in their confidence by pursuing Peyton Manning in the off-season, what this basically says to Smith is ‘you’re our starter until we can find someone better’. I believe Smith can take it, and wants to do what’s best for the team so he would put his feelings aside and perform to the best of his abilities in that situation. If Kaepernick does start again has to be replaced by Smith, what will that do to his long-term development? The Niners are in win-now mode, and Harbaugh’s decision whichever way it goes will be certainly held against him if the team doesn’t at least get back to the NFC championship game and it’s because of the quality of their QB play.
The Niners schedule the rest of the way is certainly not fantasy friendly for opposing quarterbacks, other than a juicy week 15 match up versus the Patriots. Kaepernick showed against the Bears though that he can produce against a stout passing defense.
One Year League: List Him. Don’t get over-excited by the hype around Kaepernick at the moment, but definitely take advantage of it by trading him if your league still allows trades this late. In neither of his starts did he produce enough fantasy points to put him in the top 12 quarterbacks. He has mostly tough match ups the rest of the way, but if you have an open bench spot by all means stash him until week 15. If he does start the rest of the way and improves between now and then he could be a more than viable starter.
Keeper/Dynasty League: Love Him. He’s shown boatloads of potential in his first two starts, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he is the Niners starting QB next year if he hasn’t taken the spot over already.
Bryce Brown is the 21 year old running back for the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s 6-0 tall, weighs 223 lbs and ran a 4.48 forty at his pro day. He was born in Wichita Kansas and played high school ball for the local team. Brown was rated as the best high school player in the country in 2008, and some considered him the best running back prospect of the past five years. He was offered scholarships from more than fifty schools, but due to some questionable handling there was a bit of a fiasco and although he verbally committed to play for the University of Miami, he ended up going to the University of Tennessee. Also thanks to his ‘advisors’ Brown was investigated by the NCAA for potential violation of his amateur status. After his first year at Tennessee Brown announced he was leaving the school to go to Kansas State for the 2010 season. Tennessee would not release him from his scholarship so he had to sit out the season. In Sept of 2011 he left the Wildcats, and in the spring of 2012 he announced his entry to the draft. The Eagles drafted him in the seventh round. Here are Brown’s college stats:
If you were wondering how a much trumpeted talent like Brown fell to the seventh round, I think the combination of questionable conduct, multiple suspicions of NCAA impropriety and really only one season of college as a time share back pretty much explains it. The paragraph above probably doesn’t do justice to the fact that his behavior and that of his ‘handlers’ was questionable at best.
Going to Philadelphia, Brown’s position on the team was arguably going to be behind Dion Lewis and maybe Chris Polk as well, so surely Brown wasn’t drafted in your league. But as we all know in the NFL things can change quickly, and before you know it Brown is in the position to be McCoy’s replacement when he went down with what has been described as a ‘serious’ concussion. Brown was named the starting back for week 12 versus the Carolina Panthers and had a monster performance.
Brown did have two fumbles, both the result of somewhat careless ball control, so his day wasn’t all roses. As it is he should be clear to start until McCoy comes back, which isn’t sounding like it will be any time soon. Then again, since the Eagles are out of playoff contention they have their other two young backs they may want to see in action. I haven’t seen anything conclusive from the organization stating Brown will start week 13, let alone start until McCoy comes back. Still I’m willing to bet he at least gets the week 13 start after last week.
Philadelphia’s remaining schedule is tough, with Tampa and Washington at the top of the league giving up fantasy points to running backs, and Dallas just outside the top ten. The Panthers who Brown rolled against last week are currently sitting 25th, so it’s hard to expect the same level of production the remainder of the year even if Brown starts the rest of the way.
One Year League: List Him. It’s maybe a gamble but I don’t see Brown performing at the high level he did last week. Use that hype to make a sweet deal, if your league’s trade deadline hasn’t passed yet. If you can’t trade him it’s a good idea to hang onto him if you can spare the bench spot. Depending on the other RB’s on your roster you could start him week 13 but I’d avoid it.
Keeper/Dynasty League: Love Him. Assuming Brown has his head on straight, and has dropped the questionable associates who led him astray in high school and college, he may still turn into the top prospect he was touted as back in the day.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 02 December 2012 09:06|