Michael Crabtree made a splash in his 2013 debut, offering hope he can quickly regain top form after an offseason Achilles injury. He marked his return to the San Francisco 49ers lineup with two catches for 68 yards, including a 60-yard catch-and-run in the second half of a 23-13 win over the St. Louis Rams. The San Francisco 49ers with his help has beaten the Seattle Seahawks crippling their win streak. In fantasy football leagues, Crabtree represents huge value potential on some crucial moments. Can he find his stride quickly enough to help in the fantasy playoffs?
Background history: Fifth-year wide receiver who made a triumphant debut with two catches for 68 yards in a Week 13 win over the St. Louis Rams. As the 49ers’ leading receiver a season ago, he missed the team’s first 11 games after tearing his Achilles tendon in OTAs. Off to a slow start, he started to figure out the NFL games last season after first struggling to live up to the fans expectations as the No. 10 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.He had a monster two-year career at Texas Tech, catching 227 passes for 3,067 yards and 40 touchdowns in 2007-’08. Michael has been more of a force in the intermediate game and red-zone during his pro career, as he’s averaged 13.0 yards per catch in five seasons.
2013 stats: 2 rec., 4 targets, 68 yards, 0 TDs in 1 game.
Some numbers: Have you seen his catches, targets and receiving yards rise in each of his first four seasons. Hauled in 85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns last season as the 49ers made a run to the Super Bowl. For everyone’s rejoice he established a connection with the QB Colin Kaepernick as the season went on, finishing with 11 touchdown grabs in his last 12 games, including the postseason. He got 55 targets in his last four regular-season games, becoming the focal point of the 49ers’ attack. Dynamic has since changed with veteran Anquan Boldin now in the fold as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver.
His strengths: Michael Crabtree is a proven producer at a time of the fantasy season when few such options exist. His tear late in the 2012 season bodes well for the final four games, assuming he continues to get healthy and earn more snaps. Two catches, including a 60-yarder in the second half, and four targets in his first action of the season are a good testament to his improving condition.
Risk factors: Michael Crabtree must prove that he is healthy enough to take on the field, and get into a rhythm in the 49ers’ offense along with Boldin and Vernon Davis both in the fold and the 49ers leaning more on the run, it remains to be seen how much work Crabtree will get over his final four games. With San Francisco in the playoff hunt, there’s an outside chance a spot is locked up early and starters get rested in Week 17.