2016 Fantasy Football: Colin Kaepernick and Chip Kelly

Now that Chip Kelly is the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Fantasy players have a natural curiosity of what that means for Colin Kaepernick.

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Obviously, it’s too soon to tell…

Kelly was able to string together 20 wins in two seasons with quarterbacks he didn’t really want in Philadelphia, so people’s imaginations are running wild with what he could do with a mobile quarterback.

As I said two years ago, Jim Harbaugh always seemed like he wanted to turn Kaepernick into a game manager, which didn’t make sense. If he wanted that, he should have just stuck with Alex Smith.

But when you look at his stats, Kaepernick’s rushing stats actually increased year-over-year since 2012:

2012: 63 carries, 415 rushing yards *Played in 13 games*

2013: 92 carries, 524 rushing yards

2014: 105 carries, 639 rushing yards

The only stat that didn’t increase were his rushing touchdowns, which declined every year.

Kaepernick actually finished 2014 with the second-most rushing yards among quarterbacks. He would have finished with the fifth-most rushing yards among quarterbacks in 2015 if he had played a full 16-game season, based on his average of 28.4 rushing yards per game.

It’s clear that Kaepernick can post some pretty good numbers running the ball as long as he can stay healthy. And this makes it seem as if Kelly will unlock his full value.

But it’s more important to look at Kaepernick’s weapons in the passing attack, because his touchdown passing totals have been limited. He’s never thrown for more than 21 touchdowns in a season.

Anquan Boldin is a 35-year old receive who is now a free agent, Torrey Smith is a deep threat but wasn’t able to build a connection with any quarterback on the 49ers this year and  Vernon Davis was shipped off to Denver.

Tight end Vance McDonald stepped up in Davis’ absence, but this offense is looking even bleaker entering 2016 than it did entering 2015.

Even though it’s extremely early, it’s still hard to imagine Kaepernick significantly increasing his passing touchdowns in 2016 with the current receivers on the 49ers. If Boldin leaves, Kaepernick’s best options to target are Smith, Quentin Patton, Bruce Ellington and Jerome Simpson.

That doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

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Categories: 2016 Fantasy Football

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