Can Michael Crabtree Make A Fantasy Difference in 2014?

The biggest hindrance to Crabtree’s value is that he has to see Sherman twice a year.

Unfortunately due to a preseason ACL injury there isn’t a whole lot from this season to take for Crabtree’s value headed into next season. And our most recent memory of him involves being dominated when Richard Sherman was covering him. However, barring another freak accident Crabtree will actually have quite the productive 2014 for fantasy owners.

The single biggest thing going for Crabtree is that Colin Kaepernick has faith in him. We all still remember the post NFC Championship game presser where Kaepernick states that he would still throw that fade to TC. But any responsible fantasy owner needs more than a post game statement to base a draft pick on. So we dug up some stats: When Colin Kaepernick became the starter for the 49ers back in week 11 of 2012 he targeted Michael Crabtree on 40 percent of his pass routes that season. Brandon Marshall was the only wideout targeted at a higher rate. If there’s one thing that eases a fantasy football owner’s mind it’s knowing that a wideout he owns is targeted often.

That kind of consistency in looks from his QB can’t possibly be overstated. However, the numbers did take a slight dip in 2013. Crabtree was only targeted 6.6 times per game (5 GP this regular season) but in the postseason this jumped up to 9.3 (3 GP) pulling him to a 7.625 average in the 2013 postseason in total. Too many numbers being thrown around? All this means is that his targets steadily increased as 1) the stakes got higher for the 49ers and 2) Crabtree worked back from his injury.

So what does 2014 look like for King Crab? Pretty good as a matter of fact. He’s a top 20 WR no doubt and has top 12 upside and I have an nice argument for owning him: You know what you’re getting. Sure it’s not a hot headline grabbing reason but in fantasy that’s worth its word count in gold. 1200 yards and somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 TDs wouldn’t even sound gaudy if Crabtree had a full season with Kaepernick. However a safe low end prediction from me puts him at 1000 and 6 which would still make him the 19th ranked WR if those stats were applied to this season. To put it this way, I know that next year Michael Crabtree will be on nearly every team I own in 2014.

Not so impressed with Crabtree? Have concerns that the Niners offense won’t support three fantasy relevant pass catchers? Post a comment below and we’ll get the ball rolling!

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