2013 Fantasy Football Watch List: Michael Crabtree

By Charles Chan
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football’s No. 14-ranked receiver in 2012 is moving on up and should be on everyone’s fantasy radar heading into 2013 with the way this 49er finished the season.

In his fourth year, Michael Crabtree has established himself as the clear No. 1 option in the San Francisco 49ers‘ passing game. His strong finish can be attributed to the emergence of second-year QB Colin Kaepernick, as well as season-ending injuries to wide receivers Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams.

In Kaepernick’s seven starts this season, Crabtree amassed a team-high 66 targets, 40 more than any other 49er receiving option.  With nearly half the receiving group placed on injured reserve, Randy Moss playing like a shell of his former self. Also with a lack of chemistry between Kaep and TE Vernon Davis, Crabtree was destined to fill this role and is happy everything fell into place the way it did.

Crabtree couldn’t have ended the season hotter. He became the first San Francisco receiver to go over 1,000 yards in a season since Terrell Owens accomplished the feat in 2003. Crabtree wraps up 2012 fantasy season with a very respectable 85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns.

Kaep’s superior athletic ability and strong arm in comparison to QB Alex Smith offers Crabtree a much more promising fantasy outlook in 2013. In addition, his proven ability to extend plays in the pocket and fearlessness to strike the ball deep down the field further raises Crabtree’s ceiling.

Crabtree will be a hot commodity for many fantasy football owners heading into next season, and is looking like a WR2 with tons of upside.

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