WR Michael Crabtree, Arizona Cardinals

HT: 6-2, WT: 215, Born: 9-14-1987, College: Texas Tech, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 10

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2014 Projections

David Dodds15.
Bob Henry16.
Jason Wood16.
Maurile Tremblay16.

Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]

Overall: R White (43), T Gerhart (44), Michael Crabtree (45), F Gore (46), V Davis (47)
Position: V Cruz (40-WR16), R White (43-WR17), Michael Crabtree (45 - WR18), C Patterson (49-WR19), P Harvin (50-WR20)
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PPR Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]

Overall: R White (40), M Stafford (41), Michael Crabtree (42), S Vereen (43), T Gerhart (44)
Position: V Cruz (39-WR16), R White (40-WR17), Michael Crabtree (42 - WR18), C Patterson (48-WR19), P Harvin (49-WR20)
Click here for a comparison of these players.


The tenth overall pick in the 2009 draft, Michael Crabtree is a big, athletic receiver who had improved each season he'd been in the league until he tore an Achilles tendon in last offseason's workouts. He missed the first 11 games of the season, and was eased back into the offense when he returned. Over his last five games, including the playoffs, he averaged 66.8 receiving yards per game, which is not far off his 2012 regular-season pace of 69 yards per game. Still, while Crabtree was a top-15 fantasy WR in 2012, there are reasons to doubt that he'll regain that status in 2014. Primarily, while Crabtree led the 49ers in targets by a huge amount in 2012, there will be more mouths to feed this season. Anquan Boldin had a terrific season last year, and he returns. Steve Johnson, acquired in a trade with the Bills, will also get playing time and eat into Crabtree's targets. Consider Crabtree a borderline fantasy WR2-WR3 heading into the 2014 season.

2014 Schedule

1 San Diego Chargers
2at New York Giants
3 San Francisco 49ers
Bye week
5at Denver Broncos
6 Washington Redskins
7at Oakland Raiders
8 Philadelphia Eagles
9at Dallas Cowboys
10 St. Louis Rams
11 Detroit Lions
12at Seattle Seahawks
13at Atlanta Falcons
14 Kansas City Chiefs
15at St. Louis Rams
16 Seattle Seahawks
17at San Francisco 49ers
18at Carolina Panthers

2013 Game Summaries

Week 13 - Playing in his first game since an Achilles injury in the offseason, Crabtree began the game with an offensive pass interference penalty and a block in the back penalty. Eager to engage with the physical St. Louis secondary, Crabtree found himself in constant battle to get off the line of scrimmage and free himself from the tight coverage. Often the St. Louis secondary won out, playing a great game against the newly healed corner. But on a double move in the second half, Crabtree completely fooled the defender and found himself wide open down the sideline. Kaepernick hit the receiver in stride and Crabtree fought off the pursuing corner with a stiff arm, battling his way downfield and getting tackled by the safety after a 60-yard gain. The play ignited the crowd into raucous cheers and the San Francisco offense was so busy congratulating Crabtree they didn’t even bother lining up for the next play, choosing instead to use a timeout as a way to continue the good cheer towards the receiver who had suffered such a long rehabilitation. Though the integration wasn’t smooth, Crabtree played most of the snaps and was physical throughout.

Week 14 - Perhaps the most important statistic for the San Francisco offense was Crabtree’s snap count: 60. Playing more snaps than Boldin, Crabtree continued to show rapid development in his return from an Achilles injury. Fighting against the tight Seattle coverage, Crabtree didn’t share the same success as Boldin in gaining separation. However, Kaepernick threw to Crabtree often and the receiver was engaged in tight battles for the pass. On one occasion in particular, Kaepernick rolled to the right and threw to Crabtree on the comeback as the receiver made a great break back to the ball, snatching it from the air. When Kaepernick threw low on a vital third down, Crabtree was able to pluck the ball from his shoelaces and twist forward for a first down. In the third quarter, Crabtree ran a delayed slant and found himself open with a hard ball coming. Crabtree caught the ball and sprinted through the open space, only to be gang tackled down field and his progress whistled stopped before the Seattle defense tore the ball from his hands. The non-fumble was not able to be reviewed. Repeatedly Crabtree was able to get enough space from his man to force a play on the ball, and repeatedly Crabtree was interfered with or held, including one egregious no-call where the corner tackled Crabtree in mid-air while the ball was arriving. As the receiver continues to play entire games without a physical setback, the performances are bound to improve. Though Davis had only two catches on the day, both were impressive in their own right. On a particularly cheeky play, Kaepernick rolled right along with most of the receivers and protection. This allowed Davis to sneak across the field in the opposite direction. Kaepernick threw across his body to the tight end open on the opposite side of the field, and Davis was able to grab the pass and cut up field for a 13-yard gain. In the red zone, Davis ran a slant across the middle and had tight coverage on his back. The ball Kaepernick threw was so hard and arrived so quickly that Davis’ ability to stop the ball with his hands, snatch it and tumble in to the end zone for a touchdown was a feat in itself. For most of the game, Davis found himself blocking and his routes bracketed by the coverage.

Week 15 - Playing the majority of the game, Crabtree’s Achilles’ tendon appeared fully healed. The receiver’s ability to make quick cuts to gain separation and use power to fight off jams at the line of scrimmage showed a receiver quickly playing his way back to high level of last year. His first catch of the game was a touchdown, as Crabtree cut to the right side of the end zone as Kaepernick rolled out of the pocket. Followed by the tight coverage, Crabtree cut back inside and the corner followed, but Kaepernick had a ton of time in backfield, allowing Crabtree to cut back to the sideline and gain the separation necessary for the ball to arrive for a 4-yard touchdown. Often Crabtree found himself adjusting to Kaepernick’s runs, as the receiver ran comebacks down the sideline to bail out his quarterback from heavy pressure. However, the day wasn’t all positive for Crabtree, as on one route down the field he had his man beaten badly and Kaepernick overthrew him. Crabtree then picked up the ball and heaved it in to the stands for a delay of game penalty. Crabtree also came off the field clutching his wrist in the fourth quarter, but the injury looked to be minor.

Week 16 - Crabtree is still finding his way back in to top form, though he had a number of great plays that displayed his physical progress. On one catch in the third quarter, Crabtree was able to beat the coverage on the sideline and adjust to a slightly-off ball by Kaepernick, then use his body control to regain his footing and speed to break down the sideline for a 47-yard gain. Two plays later, Crabtree ran a tight post route and separated from the corner with speed and precision, catching the ball in stride and cutting up field for a 19-yard gain. On the next drive, Crabtree made a sharp cut on an inside slant and caught the pass in stride. Boldin was able to set a pick on Crabtree’s corner and with no coverage, Crabtree was able to cut up the middle and sprint down the field for a 22-yard gain. All plays of great athleticism, speed and body control, but that’s not to say that Crabtree was completely back to his old form. He still caused a few penalties, including a blatant push-off that garnered an offensive pass interference call. He’s also still working back to gain the top-end fluid movement after the catch that allowed him to take short catches for long gains, but every week he looks closer and closer to that prime Crabtree of a year ago.

Week 17 - For a majority of the game, Crabtree was unable to separate from his coverage. With Arizona playing him tight, Crabtree tried to fight off the jam but found himself tangled, unable to outmuscle the corner. Crabtree never had the top-end speed to blow by coverage, and his quick cuts didn’t create enough space. The few times Crabtree was able to get a step on the coverage, Kaepernick struggled to hit him, overthrowing Crabtree on numerous throws. All of Crabtree’s catches came on the same drive in the second quarter. On his first catch, Crabtree was able to adjust to a wayward throw, snatching it from the air before the defense swarmed. Two plays later, Crabtree ran out route, getting position on his corner and catching a well placed ball in stride for an 11-yard gain. In the red zone, Crabtree caught a quick pass to the left, cut back inside as Patrick Peterson fell down, wrong footed by the sharp cut and Crabtree sprinted down the sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the 3-yard line. Though Crabtree didn’t look excellent, his numbers were soured by Kaepernick’s erratic throws.

Week 18 - It’s hard to overstate how vital Michael Crabtree has been to the San Francisco passing offense. With him back in the lineup, Colin Kaepernick has more weapons to throw to, Anquan Boldin can move to the No. 2 role, where he is more comfortable and Frank Gore can take advantage of less stacked fronts. All that was on display on Sunday, as the Packers were unable to come up with an answer for Crabtree’s size and athleticism. Crabtree did a good job gaining separation both by solid route running as well as speed and size, knocking defenders with physical play at the line as well as finding the holes in the Packers’ zones. Crabtree would have had a touchdown in the first quarter when he slipped behind the coverage on a vertical route, but Kaepernick put too much air under the ball. Davis had to slow down, then contort his body to make the catch and ended up falling short of the end zone. Crabtree seems to be heating up and was a huge mismatch against the Packers secondary during this game.

Week 19 - With the secondary playing Crabtree tight, the receiver was unable to break away, to gain any kind of separation. By far his best play came at the end of the second quarter, with Kaepernick under heavy pressure the quarterback heaved the ball to the seam. Crabtree broke away from his coverage and leaped in to the air, catching the ball at its highest point for a 20-yard gain. His other two passes were short throws that gave Crabtree an opportunity to run after the catch if he made a man miss, but unfortunately Crabtree didn’t have the same fluid motions that would force misses. There’s still a labor in his movements that restricted Crabtree from truly breaking free of the defense.

Week 20 - Crabtree was intimidated by Kam Chancellor on one target over the middle, and he was outplayed by Richard Sherman on the interception to end the 49ers chances to win. He did draw a holding penalty on Sherman earlier in the game and made a few catches to move the chains, but Crabtree was mostly a non-factor.