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Offseason Extra: The Crabtree effect

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Michael Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles on Tuesday during an offseason workout, and he already underwent surgery Wednesday. He's expected to be out a minimum of six months, and that's a terrible loss for the 49ers and Fantasy owners.

In the four drafts I've done following the NFL Draft at the end of April, Crabtree was being selected on average at the end of Round 3. He finished 2012 on a tear thanks to the addition of quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the starting lineup, and he was looking like a No. 1 Fantasy receiver coming into this season.

In the seven starts Kaepernick made in 2012 in the regular season, Crabtree had 41 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. If you project that over 16 games, Crabtree would have finished with 94 catches for 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns. That equates to 202 Fantasy points, which would have made Crabtree the No. 3 Fantasy receiver last year in standard leagues behind Calvin Johnson (214) and Brandon Marshall (210).

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Now, all that potential is gone. Crabtree could still return this season, with the timetable getting him back on the field sometime in November. And keep in mind Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and Tampa Bay's Da'Quan Bowers came back last year from Achilles injuries suffered around the same time.

But they play defensive line, which isn't comparable to the starting and stopping a receiver has to do while running routes. This is basically a lost season for Crabtree, who is only worth drafting in deep Fantasy leagues with a late-round pick.

His absence will have a huge impact on the rest of the 49ers, especially Kaepernick. We had Kaepernick as a Top 7 quarterback prior to Crabtree's injury, but now he's barely a Top 10 option. He should still be considered a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, but he will miss his No. 1 receiver.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that in the 10 starts Kaepernick made last season, including the playoffs, he targeted Crabtree 94 times. The next most-targeted option was a tie for Vernon Davis and Randy Moss with 39.

The 49ers could look at a free agent to replace Crabtree, with Brandon Lloyd the most attractive option based on experience. Moss could also be brought back, or the 49ers could explore a trade. Otherwise they will just bump everyone up on the depth chart.

Anquan Boldin, who was acquired in a trade from Baltimore, is the likely No. 1 option, although you should use that term loosely. He's 32 now and is not the dynamic playmaker he once was in Arizona, despite his big playoff performance with the Ravens last year (he had 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns).

Boldin clearly gets a boost in Fantasy value if he is the top receiver, but he's just a No. 3 option at best worth a mid-round pick. He told me in April at his charity event that he was looking forward to playing with Kaepernick, but he obviously was expecting Crabtree on the field with him.

"I embrace change," Boldin said. "For me, I think it's a great opportunity. I feel like the job that I was brought to Baltimore to do, I accomplished that. I feel good in that aspect. It's on to another challenge in life."

Davis might benefit the most with Crabtree out. When Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith, Davis struggled. He had one game with double digits in Fantasy points with Kaepernick under center in the regular season, but they looked great together in the playoffs. In his final two postseason games Davis had 11 catches for 210 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons and Ravens.

Davis was always a No. 1 Fantasy tight end, but he's now at the top of Tier 2 behind Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez. Plan on drafting Davis as early as Round 6 or 7 in the majority of leagues.

As for the other San Francisco receivers, there are question marks. Mario Manningham is coming back from a torn ACL and PCL in his left knee from Week 16. He might not be ready for training camp. Second-year receiver A.J. Jenkins went his entire rookie season without a catch. And fourth-round rookie Quinton Patton is considered a raw talent. Maybe even Ricardo Lockette gets a look following this injury.

Jenkins has the best chance to improve of this group, and he should be considered a late-round flier in all formats. If the 49ers don't add another receiver, Jenkins could start opposite Boldin and make some plays.

Also, we know the 49ers are a run-heavy offense to begin with, and this should only increase the workload for Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. Gore remains a solid No. 2 Fantasy running back, and he might also see a few more receptions this season to help replace Crabtree in the passing game.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Redskins unveil inactives for Saturday's game vs. Eagles
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:08 pm ET) The Redskins listed Jason Hatcher, Keenan Robinson, Gabe Miller, Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Kenny Okoro and Josh LeRibeus as inactive for Saturday’s game against the Eagles.

Broncos unveil final Week 16 injury report
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:57 pm ET) The Broncos released their final injury for the Week 16 game against the Bengals and listed C.J. Anderson, Chris Clark, Cody Latimer, Will Montgomery, Jacob Tamme, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas as probable.

The following players are listed as questionable: Ryan Clady (thigh), Ronnie Hillman (foot), Peyton Manning (thigh), Emmanuel Sanders (illness), Juwan Thompson (hip/knee) and Kayvon Webster (shoulder).

Linebacker Brandon Marshall (foot) and offensive tackle Paul Cornick (toe) were ruled out of the game.


Broncos list Peyton Manning as questionable vs. Bengals
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:04 pm ET) Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is listed as questionable for Monday’s game at Cincinnati.

Manning is dealing with a thigh injury which caused him to briefly leave Week 15's game against the Chargers.

While Manning is listed as questionable, coach John Fox told reporters Manning received a similar amount of reps in Saturday’s practice as he did the rest of the season.

The Broncos are 3-point favorites.


Report: Raiders to place cornerback Tarell Brown on IR
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:26 pm ET) Sources indicated the Raiders will place cornerback Tarell Brown on injured reserve, reports the CSN Bay Area.

Brown has been dealing with a foot injury.


Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders misses Saturday's practice
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:12 pm ET) Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was not able to practice Saturday while dealing with an illness.

The Broncos listed Sanders as questionable on the final Week 16 injury report. The Broncos will play at Cincinnati Monday.


Report: Cowboys expect DeMarco Murray to play Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:56 pm ET) While the final decision won’t be made until Sunday, the Cowboys are expecting running back DeMarco Murray to play Sunday against the Colts, according to ESPN.

Murray has been medically cleared to play, but the official decision won’t be made until Murray tests his injured hand in pre-game work outs.

The Cowboys are 3 1/2–point favorites over the Colts.


Report: Browns place safety Tashaun Gipson on IR
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:55 am ET) The Browns have placed safety Tashaun Gipson on injured reserve, reports ESPN.

Gipson has been bothered by a knee injury and has not played since Nov. 23. To replace Gipson on the roster, the Browns elevated linebacker Scott Solomon from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. 


Packers upgrade Bryan Bulaga to probable
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:44 am ET) Packers offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga was upgraded from questionable to probable for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.

Bulaga sustained a concussion during Week 16's loss to the Bills, but by being upgraded to probable, it appears Bulaga has passed concussion protocol.


Report: Falcons' Julio Jones will determine playing status Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Whether or not Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones plays Sunday against the Saints will be determined during Jones’ pre-game workout Sunday, reports NBCsports.com.

Sources indicated Jones will work out before the game and his playing status will depend on how his injured hip reacts. Jones is listed as questionable heading into the game.

The Falcons are 6-point underdogs to the Saints.


49ers promote NT Mike Purcell Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The 49ers signed nose tackle Mike Purcell off the practice squad Friday, the team announced. He has been on the team's practice squad since the beginning of the 2013 season.


 
 
 
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