Is Michael Crabtree Worth Drafting in The 12th Round?

Michael WhooleySenior Writer ISeptember 2, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 01:  Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during practice as quaterback Alex Smith #11 practices during the 49ers Minicamp at their training facilities on May 1, 2009 in Santa Clara, California. Crabtree was the 49ers first round draft pick.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

With the third week of preseason in the books after Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Houston Texans by a score of 17-10, more and more is becoming clear in the world of the NFL. Position battles are winding down, teams’ game plans are coming to light, and rosters are being whittled down - all of which is crucial for fantasy football owners to pay attention to as all will have an effect on players’ draft value.

Speaking of draft value, it’s time to jump in and see which wide receivers are falling down the ESPN draft boards in the past seven days, leading to a decline in their ADP (Average Draft Position).

1. Mark Bradley (Kansas City Chiefs) - Just a season ago Bradley was on the verge of being a solid WR2 option in Kansas City after going for 294 receiving yards and three touchdowns during a five game stretch during the middle of the season. However, things have changed in Kansas City as the Chiefs signed veteran possession receiver Bobby Engram to challenge Bradley for the starting spot opposite Dwayne Bowe. In fact reports are surfacing that Bradley is on the roster bubble and might need to outshine his competition to secure a roster spot in Kansas City. Because of this fantasy owners have just about stopped drafting Bradley and he has seen a -25 ADP in standard ESPN leagues. Unless you are in a deep, deep league (14+ teams) you can cross Bradley off your cheat sheet.

2. Nate Washington (Tennessee Titans) - Before Washington strained his hamstring he was emerging as a solid under the radar fantasy football option and his ADP was showing a steady increase. That all changed when the Tennessee Titans reported that Washington could miss several weeks with a hamstring strain. With many fantasy owners panicking we saw his ADP drop from 151 overall to 164.5 overall for a grand total of -13.5 ADP. With Washington currently being drafted towards the end of Round 14 in 12-team leagues you still might want to take the gamble on the Titans’ best deep threat option. Another option would be to snag Justin Gage or Kenny Britt late in your draft and keep Washington in queue so you can snag him off waivers once he is healthy enough to produce on your squad.

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3. Mark Clayton (Baltimore Ravens) - What a wild two months it’s been for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mark Clatyon. Known for being a secondary option behind Derrick Mason in the Baltimore passing game, Clayton was about to become the go-to option after Mason announced his retirement on July 14 of this year.  The unexpected retirement of Mason led to Clayton seeing a instant spike in fantasy value and took him from being a fantasy afterthought to a legitimate threat as a WR4. However the Clayton hype lasted all but three weeks when on August 2nd Mason announced he would return to Baltimore for another season.

Instantly, fantasy football owners reversed their opinion on Clayton and his ADP has shown a rapid decline ever since. By the end of July, Clayton was owned in just about 75-percent of leagues and had an Average Draft Position of 120. Fast forward one month and Clayton has seen his draft spot slip to 180 and has a -10.4 ADP drop over the last seven days. Factor in a hamstring issues for the fifth year veteran out of Oklahoma and you have yourself a player to avoid on draft day.

4. Michael Crabtree (San Francisco 49ers) - It’s obvious as to why Crabtree’s ADP is seeing a consistent plunge week over week. He remains the lone unsigned rookie first rounder and seems to be set on wanting more than the $20 million the 49ers have put on the table. His -3.8 ADP in ESPN drafts has Crabtree sitting at the end of Round 12 in a 12-team league and until he inks the dotted line he remains a risky pick. With 49ers GM Scot McCloughan being confident that Crabtree will sign before the season opener we advise you snag him with your last pick and hope that he can make an impact by mid-season. It’s worth the risk in Round 16-17, but not Round 12 where his current ADP has him going.

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