Player Profile: Michael Crabtree
Date of Birth: 09/14/1987
Weight: 215 lbs.
The change of scenery to Oakland did wonders for Michael Crabtree, so much so that the Raiders made sure to lock him up for the next four years. With four games remaining on the schedule in 2015 the Raiders signed Crabtree to a four year deal with $16.75 million in guarantees. He was a huge part of the Raiders’ 2015 success and will be a huge part of their offense going forward. This is good news for fantasy football purposes.
Crabtree had a 2015 preseason fantasy football ranking of WR54 and finished as the WR16. Those who were savvy enough to spend a late-round draft pick on Crabtree were rewarded. He came in shy of having his second career 1000-yard season, finishing with 922 yards, but he matched his career best nine touchdowns. He was also the 12th-most targeted receiver in fantasy football with 16 more targets than teammate Amari Cooper. Crabtree found a role in a system that suits his talents with young talent around him.
The Raiders’ offense goes as Derek Carr goes, and Carr improved upon his rookie campaign tremendously in 2015. He saw his completion percentage, yards, yards per game, yards per attempt, and touchdowns increase from 2014 to 2015. A glaring stat that emphasizes the jump he took from his rookie season would be his six 300-yard games in 2015 to his one in 2014 and his 32 touchdowns in 2015 to his 21 in 2014. His improvement played a huge role in Crabtree’s 2015 season.
Last season was both Crabtree and Amari Cooper’s first season with the Raiders and they proved to be a highly effective receiver duo. They found a groove and elevated each other’s play. Crabtree is behind Cooper on the depth chart but in any given game their role as WR1 and WR2 were interchangeable. The Raiders’ offense as a whole found a balance last season. Their run game was effective enough to open up the passing game. Their offense should only improve coming into 2016.
With Crabtree’s strong season it will be interesting to see where the fantasy football analysts have him in their 2016 fantasy football rankings. The presence of Cooper should keep Crabtree’s average draft position at a reasonable cost, possibly even in the range low enough for him to be had a value again this season.
2016 Outlook: Crabtree has the upside to be a steal in fantasy football drafts again this year. As I mentioned, he finished as the WR16 whereas Cooper finished as the WR22. The fact that both receivers finished in the top-25 will make them highly coveted. Despite Crabtree finishing ahead of Cooper I do think Cooper will be higher than Crabtree in consensus fantasy football rankings. It is worth noting that Crabtree’s FSV of 231.2 topped Cooper’s 215 FSV. Even if Cooper improves upon his rookie campaign, Crabtree should not be ignored. He is a weekly WR2 who could easily flirt with consistent WR1 finishes. He will be on my radar on draft day and it will be interesting to monitor his preseason ADP. If Cooper’s ranking were to rise over the course of the fantasy football offseason we could see Crabtree’s value continue to increase, especially in PPR-scoring leagues.