With all the reports of players missing time from injuries, it’s nice to have some good news to write about. San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree is expected to make his return to the field this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
Crabtree hasn’t played since the Super Bowl back in February roughly 10 months ago. Once he’s integrated back into the 49ers offense, Crabtree could make a huge fantasy impact. He was a staple for the 49ers’ offense, totaling 1,105 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. But how long will it take? Even by looking at other returning players who have missed six or more games it’s hard to tell.
Rob Gronkowski returned in Week 7 after missing the first six games from back surgery. He had a good first game back with 114 yards. However, in his second game he had just two catches for 27 yards. Gronk looks to be back on track, scoring a touchdown in three consecutive games.
The other player to look at is Percy Harvin. Harvin was out for the first 10 games. He returned in Week 11 but was under heavy restrictions, and he was on the field for only 19 offensive snaps. Now that the Seattle Seahawks had their bye week, all systems are go for the former Minnesota Vikings receiver.
Another aspect of Crabtree’s possible failure upon returning is the 49ers’ upcoming schedule. After the Rams they play the Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and both the Rams and Bucs have seven interceptions in the last three games. We all know how good the Seahawks’ defense is, but here’s a stat to make my point—they allow just 14.5 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, fourth in the league.
Crabtree is owned in 51.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues, so owners are expecting big things from him. However, I would want to see what he does in his first game back before inserting him into your starting lineup.