The Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree beef has been the only thing media outlets have been covering since Sunday night, and despite everything from race to intelligence being discussed because of Sherman’s comments, I have not seen anything that evaluates Sherman’s claims of Crabtree being mediocre.
Crabtree was the 14th highest scoring fantasy football wide receiver in standard scoring leagues in 2012, and fantasy owners who took a bet on him were rewarded with his nine touchdowns. The fantasy world was only able to see Crabtree in a few games in the 2013 season, so we are left with many questions on when to draft the wide receiver in 2014.
In order to evaluate this claim against Crabtree, you need to find a set of parameters that you are judging him against. Yes, Crabtree has not yet proven himself to be elite like Calvin Johnson, but comparing him to Johnson will not help you to determine if Sherman is right. I decided that I would take a look at some of the other wide receivers that were drafted the same year as Crabtree, and compare him to players from his draft class.
From 2009-12, Crabtree had 3,351 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. So, how does Crabtree stack up against other big names drafted in 2009, such as Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Mike Wallace and Kenny Britt?
Of the five players mentioned, Crabtree only has more receiving yards than Harvin and Britt. The touchdown totals are not much better for Crabtree, as he has only scored more touchdowns than Harvin.
There are many factors that determine the success of a wide receiver, but numbers don’t lie. Among these players in his draft class, Crabtree is near the bottom of the pack for the most important stats at his position. Crabtree posted the best numbers of his career in 2012, and it would have been great if he would have been able to play the full 2013 season.
If Crabtree is still available in the 12th round, I would pick him up. With that being said, I would still draft Maclin, Harvin and Wallace before Crabtree. If Britt finds a team that has a decent quarterback and will actually play him, I would consider picking Britt up earlier as well. I won’t be surprised if I see Crabtree in the top 20 next year for fantasy wide receivers, but I think there are other players from his draft class that will score more fantasy points than he will.
You may have disagreed with the way Sherman presented himself, but his claim of Crabtree being mediocre seems to be valid, especially for fantasy football purposes. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until the 2014 season to see if Crabtree can prove Sherman wrong.