Play Colin Kaepernick if you got him

      November 23, 2012 @ 17:06:54 PDT


Will he or won't he start in Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints? Yes, Alex Smith (concussion) has been informed that Colin Kaepernick will make his second consecutive start for the Niners.

That was earlier in the week. Now, Jim Harbaugh is denying that conversation ever took place. So who starts, then? Well, Harbaugh apparently prefers to keep the surging Saints in the dark when it comes to game planning for a certain QB.

San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith
Smith's job in danger?

Smart. Most clubs seem to be moving in this direction when it comes to naming a starter or declaring which player will see more playing time on a weekly basis. But in this case, it seems pretty damn certain that Kaepernick will get the start over Smith.

Kaepernick flashed his intriguing upside in a surprising performance against the steady and ferocious Chicago Bears defense last Monday, throwing for 243 yards and two touchdowns without tossing an interception. He completed 69.6 percent of his passes (16-for-23). That was a shocker since he wasn't lauded for his accuracy or throwing ability coming out of Nevada - he displayed qualities similar to Tim Tebow.

Smith isn't fully healthy yet; he took part in non-contact drills today, meaning he hasn't been cleared by team doctors or an independent neurologist for game action. A possible last step to getting him cleared could come tomorrow, but it's no guarantee. With the way the league has taken extra precaution regarding concussions this year, San Francisco has every reason to sit him out another week, especially after what they saw in Kaepernick last week.

Kaepernick has much more upside than Smith. That much is obvious. Smith has been an adequate game manager and has done nothing to lose his job, though, other than getting injured. However, it may be an unwise decision to toss Smith aside altogether, including for another playoff run. Not many rookie QBs achieve much success in their first postseason showing, let alone ones that haven't played in a full season.

Kaepernick will start in Week 12. I'm pretty confident in that assumption. You should be, too, if you snatched him up on waivers this week. If you did so, it probably means you either have Big Ben on your roster or are left with other questionable quarterback propositions. In that case, you should be starting Kaepernick. The Saints present one of the best matchups for opposing QBs to boot.

Although I'm quite certain Kaepernick will start over Smith, it wouldn't hurt to check back tomorrow or Sunday morning to make sure Harbaugh has made up his mind. You can never trust head coaches these days it seems.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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