Scouting Notebook: 49ers' ultimate weapon

It seemed like old times with San Francisco and Green Bay on Sunday, just with a new cast of characters lighting up fantasy football scoreboards instead of NFL legends.

Anquan Boldin is the big story, asserting himself as a WR1 going forward. He never was fleet of foot and arguably has lost a full step, but that doesn’t matter much because he can find the voids and those are plentiful with defenses always wary of Colin Kaepernick taking off from the pocket.
I can’t name a quarterback I like more going forward, in fantasy or reality, than Kaepernick, who is the league’s new ultimate weapon. Never has one player had so many physical gifts plus the ability to play with poise and intelligence befitting his impressive Wonderlic score (37 of 50, far higher than the 31 median for chemists). Kaepernick owners have to be very happy by him showing he can be a dynamite performer without generating points with his legs.
James Jones owners have to be crushed about him not getting a catch while Aaron Rogers throws for 333 yards. But I have no confidence about past performance predicting future results among Green Bay targets.
Back in my earlier days watching football, it took two fumbles to get you benched. Now it takes one. And only when the opponent recovers, which has nothing to do with the running back, of course. These are not mental errors. So I do not know what purpose this serves. Thinking obsessively about not fumbling is ultimately counter productive when it comes to running efficiency, I would wager. But Eddie Lacy ultimately came through it and looks to be a three-down back. Expect him to finish 2013 as a top 10 RB.
Vernon Davis and Kaep have new-found chemistry. So much that it made the game seem even more postseason like, as we generally have to wait until then for Jim Harbaugh to take VD out of mothballs.
Jared Cook looked like a monster. He left a TD on the field, too, with a fumble crossing the goal-line. I didn’t think Brian Schottenheimer would find a way to leverage him that highly.
Carson Palmer will be a top 15 QB and probably top 12. It’s a shame no one has any real need for him in most formats. He has three good receivers. The four sacks are concerning until you realize that the Rams have a top five defensive line. It won’t get harder for Palmer and Arizona when it comes to protection.
I guess people are surprised by Larry Fitzgerald producing again. I don’t understand it. If you were, don’t be concerned anymore or at least as long as Palmer is healthy.
It looked like fantasy 2012 rewind with Adrian Peterson’s first carry. He then had 15 yards on his next 17 totes. Remember that when you want to throw about half the top drafted RBs under the bus for not producing this week.
Never saw Jerome Simpson’s day coming. I would not buy into it.
Is Calvin Johnson a decoy now for Reggie Bush? Is CJ’s knee still an issue or was this just a random bad day? Probably the latter, though Johnson’s value is tied to his ability to avoid bad days, period. Let’s wait for more data. Bush is easily a top 10 back in PPR right now but he’s not going to last 450 touches. Maybe Detroit doesn’t care if they run him into the ground, but I do think his owners should root for more moderation given championships are won in December.
Tom Brady looked like he missed his old friends. Remember, this was a depleted Buffalo defensive backfield. His 288 yards on 52 attempts are a joke. It’s not going to get much easier off a short week against a Jets defense that looked nasty for much of the day.
Shane Vereen over Steven Ridley today. Tomorrow? I have no idea.
I couldn’t believe how many people were running scared of playing Vincent Jackson against the Jets. Your good players are good because they can win tough matchups, too. Don’t play afraid. And play your best players, period.
I’d cut Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld. If you accuse me of overreacting, remember, I fade rookie receivers anyway and that’s the highly drafted ones. Both of these guys are undrafted.
C.J. Spiller is another back who looked bad but he’s always one play from turning his day around like Steven Jackson did on Sunday, for example.
Russell Wilson’s connection with Doug Baldwin was one of the great plays I’ve ever seen and I’m not prone to hyperbole. It was so good, it had to be lucky from Wilson’s perspective, unless he has some creepy sixth football sense. Baldwin’s catch seems to defy the laws of physics. Check it out at 1:30 of this highlight reel.
DeAngelo Williams looked very playable, one of the few Panthers you can say that about. But then he fumbled late to lose the game, basically. It wasn’t really his fault. But for all I know, he’s already been buried in a shallow grave in Charlotte.
Lamar Miller could not have been less impressive but, again, he’s not a grinder. He’s a big-play runner. So he needs volume. Remember what Peterson did after that first carry when you fight the urge to dump him now.
Mike Wallace isn’t good/versatile enough to beat Joe Haden, that was obvious before kickoff. It changes nothing about his value going forward, still a WR3.
I don’t understand the Browns’ playcalling, either. Yes, they should have tried to run more. But I didn’t have a lot of confidence in Norv Turner calling plays. He’s coordinating under a coach who was an OC, too. That’s weird. And Turner ran the Chargers offense and Phillip Rivers into the ground just last year.

Who would have thought that Terrelle Pryor would be the biggest story in the Raiders-Colts game. When a QB rushes for 100 yards, you empty the FAAB account if you must. I thought he was going to be a disaster and he looked like a faster Cam Newton.
I hate ignoring that amazing performance by Peyton Manning on Thursday night except to say that if the Broncos don’t find more balance in their offense, they are in big trouble. /sarcasm

What to Read Next