Pick-a-Player: Crabtree, Davis, or Edelman - Footballguys

Footballguys staff and Facebook answer a dilemma at the 6.08 spot

The premise of a Pick-a-Player question is as follows:

  • You need a player at that position and all three are available.
  • The draft is at a stage where these players are usually drafted, and none of their bye weeks are duplicated on your current roster.

We ask two groups of people: the Footballguys staff, and the great people following the Footballguys Facebook page. If you'd like to answer a future Pick-a-Player question, there are still some open ones on our page. Plus, there is a lot of other content there as well. Like and Follow us, and you can join the great discussions taking place every day.

In this case, it is a PPR league, and you are up at Pick 6.08. Would you take Michael Crabtree, Corey Davis, or Julian Edelman? Or would you pass on all three?

The Results

And the winner is Crabtree (mostly). See the percentages below.

Group
Percentage Picking...
Crabtree
Davis
Edelman
None of the Three
Footballguys Staff
46.2%
15.4%
15.4%
23.1%
Footballguys Facebook
41.7%
41.7%
8.3%
8.3%

The Reasons (from the Staff)

Daniel Simpkins: I want the upside of Corey Davis. I detailed why in this Spotlight. To summarize my findings, I believe the plan last year was to involve Davis from the get-go, but injuries took that plan off course. We saw him really come on in the back half of last year and show us that there’s great potential for this year.

The drumbeat on Corey Davis is already very positive in camp practices. My friend Travis May from Dynasty League Football was at Titans practice recently and reports that Davis is moving much quicker on routes than a man of his size should. Let’s keep listening as camp progresses, but if the news continues to be positive, Davis is a clear target at this point in drafts.

Jason Wood: I'm shocked, absolutely shocked, that Daniel opted for the young Titans receiver. In all seriousness, I appreciate his points and think Davis has the best chance of this trio to be a surprise top-15 fantasy receiver this year. He has the pedigree, and if you think the Titans offense can flourish under the new coaches, picking him makes sense. I'm not there. I don't have as much confidence in Marcus Mariota or the new offensive coaches, and I still see Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker as fixtures.

My choice is Michael Crabtree, and I've put my money where my mouth is, having rostered him many times thus far in early best ball drafts. Crabtree was a better player than Amari Cooper in Oakland. It's indisputable. But Jon Gruden wanted to understandably remove Crabtree from the equation to give Cooper the spotlight. Teams wasted little time in courting Crabtree and he signed in Baltimore, a team absolutely desperate for reliable playmakers. Even if you think Joe Flacco stinks -- and I do -- Crabtree was a fantasy commodity with Derek Carr, who isn't nearly as good as some think.

Will Grant: I was almost faced with this scenario in our recent Footballguys mock draft. The rules were slightly different, but the result would have been the same. In a 10-team league, and Corey Davis was already off the board but I would have taken Michael Crabtree either way. Crabtree had a disappointing season last year in Oakland, but now that he's in Baltimore, he is the clear No. 1 wide receiver in that offense. As long as he can stay healthy, he's going to get the lion's share of the passing game. As someone pointed out during the draft - Crabtree could have 30 more receptions than the next closest person on the Ravens. That opportunity alone makes him a guy I want to have on my team.

Matt Waldman: This is one where I'm usually passing on all three. Tarik Cohen, Cam Newton, and Sammy Watkins all have more appeal for me despite the fact that Davis is a fine upside play, and Edelman and Crabtree have been safe producers when on the field. Watkins is potentially in a video-game offense this year and Cohen is in store for a role that will involve a lot of big-play opportunities that new head coach Matt Nagy drew up for Tyreek Hill in Kansas City. And depending on my competition, Newton might be in my sights if my league is filled with craft beer-drinking, hipster-lite, podcast-listening, late-round quarterback proponents.

Chad Parsons: My first line of player filtration is their combination of passing game and depth chart location. All three projection as No.1 receivers with the notable differences being Julian Edelman out for four games to start the season and Tom Brady as the clear best quarterback of the group. The dynasty side of my brain is screaming Corey Davis as the Year 2 breakout star, but it is a tremendous leap of faith from Davis' sporadic flashes beyond the box score to an auto-start status in 2018. I will side with Julian Edelman, eschewing the opening month of the season, and backing the Patriots slot position which has produced high-impact fantasy production for years now. Over the past 10 seasons, the No.1 wide receiver for New England has been a top-12 fantasy option in PPG five of those seasons. Heck, 30% of those seasons the No.2 receiver for the Patriots has been a top-24 fantasy option. I will take those odds for Edelman over Michael Crabtree and Corey Davis for 2018.

Justin Howe: Edelman is probably the answer here; he'll be the 1A/B for a high-powered passing game, and he'll likely finish on a 90-catch pace. Presumptively, drafters will be fishing for a WR3/4 at this point, so there's no reason to think Edelman will be extraordinarily missed for four weeks. This is generally a Round 7 quandary, after all.

But I'll also throw a hat into the ring for Crabtree, who looks set to utterly dominate targets out wide in a high-volume offense. Few offenses take more snaps than do the Ravens, and over the past three years none have dropped back to throw more often. A healthy Flacco will likely throw 575 balls, and Crabtree looks, by default, like the recipient on 125 or more of them.

Bob Henry: At this particular draft spot, I'm probably passing on Julian Edelman 100 percent of the time - and not because I don't like him but I'm usually looking for another falling player there like Sammy Watkins, take a chance on a player with a similar ADP like Kerryon Johnson, or bit my tongue and break the don't-take-a-quarterback-earlier-mold with Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson is they're on the board.

If given the choice of these players, though, it's a tough call. But if I've gone with a higher risk strategy for my earlier picks then I'm grabbing Crabtree. If I've gone a little more conservative early on, then I'd have no hesitation snagging Davis at this spot.

In my view, Crabtree is the safer pick with what should be a target rich environment as the clear No. 1 wide receiver and possibly the best red zone target as well. He still has upside at this spot, but he's less likely to bust.

Davis easily has the most upside as a potential true WR1 with 70+ catch, 1200+ yard, 8-10+ touchdown potential if everything clicks for him, Marcus Mariota, and the Titans new offense. I definitely own more shares of Davis than the other two. In fact, I have zero shares of Edelman, opting for Chris Hogan (who can go as much as two to four rounds later).

Ryan Hester: I'm taking Edelman here on the it's-a-weekly-game tenet. Edelman will miss four weeks, but I'm willing to look past that for three reasons. First, when he returns, he'll be the most targeted wide receiver in an offense that is (conservatively) top-five in the NFL. Second, with this being Round 6, It's unlikely that Edelman will be my WR2 and, considering my personal drafting style that breaks ties in favor of running backs and wide receives over onesie positions, it's unfathomable that he'd be my WR1.

Lastly, there is no better time to overcome missed games than the first month of the season. There are no bye weeks to remove your depth players as fill-in options. And the players you've drafted are all at peak health to begin the season.

Taking Edelman might mean committing to taking another receiver or two shortly after you've selected him. But why should picking up high-volume players such as Emmanuel Sanders and Pierre Garcon be a bad thing? Or shoot for the moon and grab Will Fuller V, who could provide some high-ceiling games in his exciting offense.

Andy Hicks: With this pick you have options and the pick will depend on the rest of your roster to this stage.

  1. If you want stability and a solid second or third receiver, you take Michael Crabtree.
  2. If you need to take a player with a higher ceiling to help your team to win, then you will take Corey Davis.
  3. If you are likely to have depth and can handle a player missing for four weeks then you take Julian Edelman.

For me, Edelman not only has the suspension hanging over him he will be 32 when he returns. That is the age that his predecessor in New England, Wes Welker declined noticeably. Too risky for me.

Michael Crabtree is also aging but is on a new team and likely to be the clear number one receiver. What does the number one receiver in Baltimore mean anyway? Under Joe Flacco, not much. The last ten years have seen a declining Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin, and Derrick Mason. As well as Torrey Smith, Kamar Aiken and Mike Wallace more recently. The floor for Crabtree is likely to be safe, but his upside is limited.

The player with the best upside is clearly Corey Davis. The best version of Corey Davis can be seen late in the year against the Rams with seven catches for 91 yards performance. A double touchdown performance against the Patriots in the playoffs didn't hurt either. At his current asking price, if he ever becomes the player that most draft experts believed was the best prospect in the 2017 draft, this will be the year he makes a move.

Devin Knotts: These are receivers that you aren't going to feel great if you take them. I prefer to wait a few rounds and take none at the 6th round, but if I am taking a player here it is easily Michael Crabtree. Simply put if I am drafting a wide receiver at this position, it is because I am desperate for a wide receiver and therefore do not want a wide receiver that has risk.

Michael Crabtree is one of the more predictable players on the board as he is going to end up somewhere between 850-1,000 yards with 7-9 touchdowns. Crabtree is one of the best end-zone receivers in football and will provide a nice spark to this offense which has been desperate for receivers over the last few seasons. While Joe Flacco has his flaws, this is an offense that is consistently above average in passing attempts which should help Crabtree's floor remain high.

Julian Edelman is going to miss four games, is 32 years old, is coming off of a torn ACL, and you are going to have to bank on him having a career year again like he did in 2016 in order to pay off his price.

The biggest issue with Corey Davis is that if he is being drafted in this position because of one game against the Patriots. We all forget that he was essentially a non-factor in the 11 games that he played this past year. The biggest concern for Davis is that his catch percentage is simply not good enough when you factor in his yards per catch being only at 11 yards-per-carry. He has to be a volume guy unless he can stretch the field and catching only 52% of your passes last year is just not going to get it done.

Jeff Haseley: I will take Michael Crabtree. He is expected to lead the team in receptions by a large margin and with that will come plenty of scoring opportunities. Crabtree has cemented himself as a reliable veteran receiver who is capable of filling a complementary role or being the primary threat. I envision a strong, consistently productive season with Baltimore. He's a great WR3 option.