Raiders Sign Michael Crabtree
After wallowing on the open market for just over a month, former top-10 overall pick Michael Crabtree settled on a one-year, $3 million dollar contract to stay in the Bay Area with the Oakland Raiders, who passed on him in the 2009 draft.
Crabtree enters a wide open Oakland receiving depth chart that saw 599 attempts thrown their way in 2014 from rookie Derek Carr, good for seventh most in the league. While Oakland is still expected to take either Amari Cooper or Kevin White as their future No. 1 receiver in the upcoming draft, the former 49er should not have much trouble carving out a decent percentage of those targets given the dearth of talent the Raiders have at the position.
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Crabtree actually saw a healthy 108 targets in 2014, but the abysmal 9.0-yard average depth of target (aDOT) he received from Colin Kaepernick led to a career low 10.3 yards per reception. He had averaged 13.3 YPC in his five years prior to that. Derek Carr’s leading wide receivers last year, James Jones and Andre Holmes, had aDOTs of 9.4 yards and 15.1 yards on their 108 and 99 respective targets. Given that the team tendered Holmes at the lowest level, it is clear that he and his sizeable portion of deep targets are up for grabs.
As you may have guessed, I think that Oakland is a decent landing spot for Crabtree. He has more talent than Jones and Holmes, more experience than whatever rookie Oakland brings in, and the motivation of a one-year prove-it contract while playing in a high-volume passing game. It’s fair to assume he will get something in the range of 100 targets given Jones’ and Holmes’ totals from last year, with the potential for more. Crabtree needed only 127 targets in 2012, mostly from a first-time starter in Kaepernick, to finish as the No. 14 wide receiver in standard leagues
Currently being drafted as the No. 56 wide receiver (117 overall) in dynasty leagues at age 27, I think Crabtree is criminally undervalued at the moment. He is going after Duron Carter (No. 54 receiver), who has yet to play a down in the league. I think it is an excellent buy-low opportunity for a player of his potential. He has never relied on speed to get open, and I’m willing to write off his inefficient 2014 numbers as a function of the 49ers anemic offense. At the very least, you should be able to sell him in-season after a big game for more than he is going for now.
For redraft leagues, he is going off the board even lower overall (173) as the No. 57 receiver. That means he is being drafted in the range of the 20th round, which is highway robbery for a player easily capable of putting up WR3/flex numbers given his talent and situation. I’d expect that to rise as we get closer to actual draft season. Needless to say, I am buying everywhere I can as his price is dirt cheap in every format.
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