After bursting onto the scene mid-way through the year in 2012, expectations for Kaepernick were sky-high heading into 2013. He finished the year with 3197 passing yards, 21 PaTDs, 524 rushing yards, 4 RuTDs and a QBR of 91.6 (only 6.7 points below his 2012 mark). Overall – a pretty good year in his first full season as a starter, ranked as the 13th best starter to end the year according to CBS. He was selected on average as the 7th QB off the board last year, but is going a full 2 rounds later as the 11th option at the position in this year’s drafts. The 8th round is just too late for a guy with his kind of talent. In my books, he is absolutely a top 8 option and has the potential to perform as a top 5 fantasy QB thanks to his big arm and ability to run the football. Don’t forget how high we all were on him heading into the year at this point last season. With one more year of experience under this belt, he’s primed for big things. Like Gerhart, he is high on my list this year.
Our very own Brads.Got.Moxy profiled Newton earlier, calling out that he’s still a top 5 QB option despite all the negatives surrounding him heading into the year. Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn may no longer be Panthers, but he still has Greg Olsen and a couple new, sure-handed WRs to throw to in Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant. Not to mention what we all know he can do with his legs. There are concerns about the offseason ankle surgery he had, but reports are very positive in the early going and there’s reason to believe his mobility should be even better as a result of the operation. With less of a threat coming from his receiving corps this year, the Panthers will be relying on their franchise player to make plays – something he was able to do very well in 2012 but was discouraged from doing last year. We should see a version of Newton much more along the lines of what made him so dangerous 2 years back – and I expect him to be safely in the top 5 QB conversation the entire year.
Staying in Carolina, I’m feeling like Olsen should be getting a lot more love on draft day than what he’s currently receiving. He’s going on average as the 8th TE off the board, on average in the 8th round. He had his second consecutive 800+ yard season and has truly emerged as Newton’s go-to receiver in the passing game. As I mentioned with Newton above, his importance to the team’s offense is bigger than ever before. Simply put – this means more balls are coming his way and more stats for your fantasy team. He should push for 900+ receiving yards and will approach double-digit TDs. He’s currently going 3 rounds after Jordan Cameron and 2 rounds after Jason Witten. Olsen is higher on my list than both of these players and makes for great value 2-3 rounds later on draft day.
Green is a common name I’m seeing on all different fantasy sites as a draft day value at the tight end position. He’s currently being taken in the 11th round on average, but I’ve seen him fall as late as the 13th or 14th round in some drafts. We were able to witness evidence of what he’s capable of bringing to the table for fantasy owners last year, making big plays with Philip Rivers on a number of occasions. 9 of his 17 receptions went for 22 yards or more, 5 of which were 30+ yards. With Antonio Gates still in town, Green’s upside is capped as long as Gates is on the field. Heading into the season at 34 years of age, it’s a matter of when and not if Gates’ body is going to start keeping him off the field more than he’s able to stay on – which is where Green’s value will skyrocket. If you take a chance on Gates this year, make sure you bring Green on board as well.