Fantasy Files: Group Hug (with Beer) for Michael Crabtree

What is fantasy football without other people? It is solitaire. The only downside to this people theory is that some of them are actual football players and some of their body parts don’t always perform the way you’d like to.

Michael Crabtree was a revelation last year. It took me a while to get the memo. I didn’t start Crabtree until Week 11. He had three 10+ point performances in the season, and that’s pretty good in a non-PPR league. I started him in weeks 11, 15, and 16. His 6.5-point performance in my championship game was typical of my underachieving squad that got blown out.

What’s interesting about the MFL page on him is that the stats page shows a projection for 2012. Crabtree was projected for 70/850/5, where he finished with an 85/1105/9 line. Sometimes when a breakout happens, we don’t believe it’s happening. Oh yeah, thanks for the 8/172/2 in Week 17. Really helped.

My slow fantasy brain caught on, and he was locked down as one of my three starting wideouts for 2013. Crabtree was my only rostered WR who had a 2012 that was above or even at expectations.

We can start between 2-4 wide receivers and here are the receivers and the number of starts:

Victor Cruz: 15 (that’s every week)
Michael Crabtree: 3
Hakeem Nicks: 9
Denarius Moore: 11
Kendall Wright: 3 (and I never chose the right week)
Andrew Hawkins: 3 (hello spackle)
Ryan Broyles: 2 (and scored a whopping 1.9 points in those starts)

You have to prepare for injuries and ineffectiveness. I thought that the Rice/Murray/Forte combo at RB was all that. I started that group three out of the first four weeks and never again the rest of the year.

Instead of having my fourth and below wideouts play bye-week fill-in, I get to play wide receiver roulette. It’s not one of the more fun positions to play that, since they get so few targets a week. The waiver wire is picked clean (I just picked up Kenbrell Thompkins of the Patriots). Vincent Brown, he of zero NFL snaps last year, Kendall Wright, Denarius Moore and Sidney Rice, he of zero starts on my injury-depleted 2012 squad, are the top possibilities. Justin Hunter or Stedman Bailey could surprise as rookies, and maybe Ryan Broyles makes a comeback.

One (slight) upside of the Crabtree injury is that I can put him on my team’s IR and save a roster spot for one of the lottery ticket players I picked up. Here’s my final rookie haul:

Zac Stacy, Justin Hunter, Stedman Bailey, Kiko Alonso, Kerwynn Williams, Chris Thompson, and free agents Kenbrell Thompkins, Nick Kasa, Gerald Hodges, D.J. Swearinger, and Earl Wolff

Yep, that’s 11 rookies on a roster that currently has 59. I’ll probably have another one in a day or so. Last year I picked up 13 rookies between the draft and free agency and all but two are still on my roster. At this point I have my rock-solid veterans and the youngsters. And Crabtree, gosh darn it.

Let’s all raise a glass to the eternal frustration and occasional fun that is fantasy football.

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