2013 Fantasy Football Dark Horse Sleeper: Michael Crabtree

By Dustin Manko
Michael Crabtree
Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in the fantasy football season owners need to be willing to sacrifice depth of roster to field the best possible team each week, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t keep an eye on the upcoming weeks. While he won’t play this weekend, Michael Crabtree is a wide receiver that could end up paying dividends down the stretch and into the fantasy playoffs for forward thinking owners.

Rumors are that the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver is due to come off the PUP list and rejoin the active roster sometime this week. Per NFL rules, if he isn’t activated by Nov. 28 then he will be unable to play this season. Right now, a week 12 return against the Washington Redskins (allowing third most fantasy points to wide receivers) seems like a possibility. While it is unknown how much of a factor he will be in his first game back he is definitely worth a roster stash if you have the space.

When Colin Kaepernick came on last season as the starter, Crabtree was one of the main beneficiaries. In the seven regular season games that Kaepernick started, Crabtree had 41 catches on 66 targets for 595 yards and five touchdowns. If you factor in their Super Bowl run, those numbers increased to 94 targets, 61 catches, 880 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games with Kaepernick as the starter. Clearly, Kaepernick trusts Crabtree and is the first read in his progressions. There is no reason to think that when Crabtree returns to full health that he won’t resume being the deep threat. Fantasy owners have to love a receiver who averages nine targets, six catches and almost 90 yards per week.

I’ve previously discussed the 49ers favorable schedule in relation to Mario Manningham, but it bears repeating that there are great matchups during the fantasy playoffs for the 49ers. In week 15 San Francisco travels to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who despite Darrelle Revis, have been leaky against the pass. In week 16 while most leagues are having their fantasy Super Bowls (I prefer a week 17 Super Bowl, but that’s another story) the 49ers host the Atlanta Falcons, who are allowing the ninth most fantasy points to wide receivers.

He was the main man with Kaepernick at the helm in 2012, and should resume those ways in a week or so for 2013. Michael Crabtree will soon be a hot commodity in fantasy down the stretch and into the playoffs, scoop him up before another owner does.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is an author at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Read more from Dustin here.

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