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Michael Crabtree: The Go To Guy

NFL Draft Prospects Atop Radio City Music Hall Marquee

It’s just a small sample but Michael Crabtree was actually practicing and snagged the first four passes at the San Francisco 49ers camp opener. Just the fact that Crabtree is a 49er and is in camp ready to build on his impressive rookie season (when you factor in what he was up against) should make fans in the Bay Area happy.

While Crabtree should be active in camp, fans and fantasy owners are hopeful that the ultra talented receiver is ready to produce weekly.  Given that Crabtree has a below average quarterback (to say the least) throwing to football his way, his odds of producing 100 catches this season isn’t likely.

Still, outside of star tight end Vernon Davis, the team will need to lean on Crabtree as the main source of production in the passing game. With Davis and Frank Gore on the team, Crabtree should have enough star power around him that defenses can’t lock down on him.

I wouldn’t be surprised if defenses leave Crabtree in one on one coverage early in the season to see if he can beat it consistently. If the 49ers have any hopes of making the playoffs this season, you can bet this second year talent needs to be active all year.

Fantasy Outlook

Maybe Crabtree will never be a great deep threat like DeSean Jackson, but he should be a reliable source for at least four receptions every week. This should make Crabtree’s value strongest in PPR fantasy football leagues as you get rewarded for each reception he acquires.

If Crabtree is to be an every week fantasy play this season, he will need his quarterback to not only throw his way and hit him in stride. Crabtree has a gift for racking up yards after the catch but if his quarterback can’t locate the football on the run he won’t be able to rack up as many yards or touchdowns.

Because of Alex Smith’s struggles and his lack of aggressive play, it’s hard for me to see Crabtree having a big time breakout season in 2010. Still, look for Crabtree as a very good third receiver in twelve team leagues and a reliable option to produce fantasy points in PPR leagues all season.

NFL fantasy football player rankings writer Sean E. Douglas:

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