The ability of Raiders TE Clive Walford to attack defenses down the middle should take some of the pressure off receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Walford had 28 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns in an injury-riddled rookie season and easily could double those numbers this season.
“He has a lot of ability, so we’re looking for him to be a big part of what we do,” Musgrave said.
A 56-658-6 season would have made Walford the #12 TE in PPR formats (#9 in standard), so those are high expectations for the second-year tight end. He played at a 2.3-26.5-0.27 pace over the final 11 games. Those are solid TE2-type numbers from a rookie tight end, and rookie tight ends are notoriously disappointing. He’s playing in an ascending offense with an up-and-coming quarterback, so there’s potential here.
Seth Roberts knows his role and how to thrive in it. He's expected to be the Raiders slot receiver in 2016, a role earned last year and kept with a solid campaign that featured 32 receptions 480 yards, five touchdowns and several clutch catches.
Who could forget the game-winning touchdowns caught against Baltimore and Tennessee? He was a red zone target, clearly trusted by Derek Carr to make big plays even with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree on the pitch.
Big plays didn’t build chemistry with his quarterback. Consistency was the key there.
“I always go back and study last year’s film, one thing I continued to see over and over again is when he was man-to-man, he won his route,” Carr said. “That is huge. And he’s not just winning, he’s creating separation.”
“We don’t number our receivers but when he comes in, he’s the third guy in,” Carr said. “When you have that and the third corner guarding him or a safety coming down guarding him and have that guy consistently winning, it just opens up so many things. … It just takes pressure off of everybody. His role is huge, then you put a guy like (Andre Holmes), knowing the big play ability he has and you put Seth next to him, now safeties and defensive coaches have to make decisions because Seth continues to win on his routes.”
Friday, November 6, 2015, 6:19pm
Jaguars WR Allen Hurns (ankle, thigh, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 9. Hurns is good to go for the Jets. He’ll likely draw Antonio Cromartie in coverage while Allen Robinson deals with Darrelle Revis. Over the last two weeks, WR2s Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola posted 7-102-1 and 8-86-1, respectively, on the Jets.
Friday, October 9, 2015, 6:11pm
Raiders WR Michael Crabtree (ankle, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 5. The probable tag means that Crabtree will play, but it’s a tough matchup against a talented Denver defense.
Thursday, October 8, 2015, 6:11pm
Some Raiders notes from beat writer Jerry McDonald:
• Once the preseason begins, it should be one series and out for Derek Carr.
The Raiders simply can’t afford a third quarterback flip-flop in three years, and the only way this happens is if Carr gets hurt. It’s impossible to know how good Carr will be, but he’s light years ahead of Christian Ponder and Matt McGloin, who look to be in a dead-heat to be the backup.
Really interested to see Taiwan Jones in a game situation. Back at running back, he’s had some sensational moments in camp. But beware - speed backs can dominate in non-tackling situations (see Darren McFadden, any year).
• Michael Crabtree has caught everything in sight and seems to have an immediate connection with Carr. Amari Cooper, despite the odd snaps when he looks like a rookie, is even-money to be a legit playmaker in his first season.
After that, it’s a jumble. Rod Streater is out with an illness the club has yet to diagnose. Andre Holmes has had his moments, but so has 6-foot-5 Kris Durham, third-year player Brice Butler and Kenbrell Thompkins. Plus anyone who can excel on special teams.
Many felt it was a good bet Murray would be the lead back and it doesn't seem like Richardson, or anyone else, will pass him. Helu appears like he'll get his normal third-down role like he had with the Redskins. Crabtree has had a good camp to this point and looks like a nice signing. Meanwhile Cooper seems to be up and down.
Raiders WR Michael Crabtree has gone from “third option” to potential superstar.
Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the former 49er has been the early “star” of camp for the Raiders.
As the story pointed out, and as we've said in a lot of fantasy impacts over the last week or so, there’s a long way to go until Crabtree becomes a star during games that count. Drops and limited opportunities punctuated his last season in San Francisco, which ended with 68 catches for 698 yards. Crabtree is just 66th on our WR list and is only getting late-round flier action in 12-team leagues in early drafts.
It's a lot to put on the fifth-year quarterback who has struggled with consistency for much of his career, especially when he'll be without coach Jim Harbaugh, and teammates Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Mike Iupati, Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and Justin Smith, who are either playing elsewhere or retired.
A season ago, when the 49ers finished 8-8, Kaepernick had career bests in attempts (478), passing yards (3,369) and rushing yards (639), but he also threw more interceptions, took more sacks and lost more fumbles than at any time during his four years in the league.
But according to offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, Kaepernick didn't take a step backwards in 2014.
"And then last year, you're playing with some different sets of challenges," Chryst said, via the MercuryNews.com. There was more change within the offensive line than he had experienced the last couple of years. How does that affect your production as a quarterback? You're behind more often in games. How does that affect your production as a quarterback? I cite the fact that we had six touchdowns nullified by penalty. You plug that back into his formula, he really wasn't ... he didn't regress off his line as much as perceived."
First-year coach Jim Tomsula said in March that Kaepernick not only didn't regress in '14, but he had his best season as a professional, according to the story. The piece added that Kaepernick ranked eighth in QB efficiency in 2013 and 13th the season before that, but none of that matters now because this 49ers team barely resembles the ones that had so much success under Harbaugh. Kaepernick ranks just 14th among QBs on our list. He could turn out to be a nice late-round QB2 who ends up having a bounce-back year, especially if the offense moves to more of a read-option.
49ers.com writer Joe Fann calls Torrey Smith the team's best free agent addition:
The 49ers needed a compliment to Anquan Boldin, and they found the perfect man for the job. Smith is far more than a one-trick pony. Yes, he excels at stretching the field and getting behind defensive backs, but he’s already shown the ability to catch balls in traffic on short and intermediate routes as well. On two specific minicamp plays, Smith caught the ball on a stopping route, then spun away from his defender and accelerated away from everyone in pursuit. I’m not sure I saw him drop a ball this offseason.
Smith got off to a slow start in 2014, posting just six catches for 85 yards in the first three games. Over the final 13 games of the season, he averaged 3.3 receptions for 52 yards and 0.85 touchdowns, which equates to #20 WR-type numbers in PPR formats. As it stands, he finished as the #29 WR in PPR and #19 in standard formats (thanks to the high touchdown rate), which is the fourth time he has finished in the top 23 (in standard formats) in his four-year career. He joins a 49ers receiving corps that has lost Michael Crabtree and has a still-effective Anquan Boldin as a possession receiver. Smith will serve as a deep threat for QB Colin Kaepernick, though this move has to be considered a downgrade from an offensive/quarterback standpoint since the 49ers are typically run-heavy and Joe Flacco is pretty adept at putting touch on the deep ball. Throwing with touch has not been one of Kaepernick's strengths, though he has been working on his passing technique his offseason.
49ers WR Torrey Smith has indeed added a new dimension to San Francisco's pass game. With Smith in the fold, the 49ers were able to attack all levels of the defense. Smith's home-run ability was most evident when he hooked up with Colin Kaepernick on a 40-yard jump ball down the left side line at the expense of second-year cornerback Dontae Johnson. Kaepernick and Smith routinely connected in the minicamp, but on the final day, the deep throw showcased the budding chemistry between the two. Johnson had great coverage on the play, but Kaepernick was able to put the ball up with enough loft for the fifth-year veteran receiver to go up and get the ball. Smith caught slants and intermediate routes for most of the camp, but it's hard not to overlook his ability to stretch the defense and compete for the football at its highest point. Smith's speed and leaping ability was on display throughout the camp. The 49ers will surely tap into those talents come training camp.
Smith got off to a slow start in 2014, posting just six catches for 85 yards in the first three games. Over the final 13 games of the season, he averaged 3.3 receptions for 52 yards and 0.85 touchdowns, which equates to #20 WR-type numbers in PPR formats. As it stands, he finished as the #29 WR in PPR and #19 in standard formats (thanks to the high touchdown rate), which is the fourth time he has finished in the top 23 (in standard formats) in his four-year career. He joins a 49ers receiving corps that has lost Michael Crabtree and has a still-effective Anquan Boldin as a possession receiver. Smith will serve as a deep threat for Kaepernick, though this move has to be considered a downgrade from an offensive/quarterback standpoint since the 49ers are typically run-heavy and Joe Flacco is pretty adept at putting touch on the deep ball. Throwing with touch has not been one of Kaepernick's strengths, though he has been working on his passing technique this offseason.
The Raiders signed veteran Michael Crabtree from San Francisco on April 13 and then used the No. 4 overall pick on Alabama receiver Amari Cooper in the first round of the draft last Thursday night. Cooper and Crabtree are both expected to start.
Crabtree hasn't been himself since his Achilles injury, but there is opportunity in the Raider receiving corps. The problem is that he's not markedly better than Andre Holmes or Rod Streater, so Crabtree could end up anywhere from second to fourth in the pecking order by the time preseason rolls around.
The team selected Alabama receiver Amari Cooper with the No. 4 overall draft pick in last week’s draft.
The article didn't mention Andre Holmes, but he's also in the mix for snaps. Jones led the team in receptions and touchdowns, and was second to Holmes in receiving yards. The only receiver we would trust in Oakland is Cooper, since he's likely to be immediately thrust into a starting role. Crabtree, Streater and Holmes will battle for playing time.
Raiders WR Michael Crabtree admitted he has a chip on his shoulder after a frustrating free-agency experience left him with a one-year, prove-it deal that guarantees him only $1.3 million. (He can make another $400,000 for 70 catches or 900 yards, $1.4 million for 100 catches for 1,400 yards and $400,000 for being named to the Pro Bowl.)
“I have a lot to prove,” Crabtree said. “A lot to prove. Ain’t got nothing to lose and have a lot to prove.”
“I would say the year prior to last year was me recovering, trying to get back right,” Crabtree said. “This year I don’t feel a thing. Just go out there and play.”
Crabtree hasn't been himself since his Achilles injury, but there is opportunity in the Raider receiving corps. The problem is -- he's not markedly better than James Jones, Andre Holmes or Rod Streater, so Crabtree could end up anywhere from first to fourth in the pecking order by the time preseason rolls around.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 10:22am
The Ravens still will likely draft a wide receiver pretty early and they still are monitoring the markets of veteran free agents like Greg Jennings and Michael Crabtree. But by now, it’s pretty clear that they want to give every opportunity for their own young receivers to step into bigger roles.
With the departure of Torrey Smith to San Francisco, and Steve L. Smith another year older, a few of the young WRs mentioned above look like they will get a chance at more snaps in 2015. Still, the Ravens remain a run-first team, so in terms of fantasy value, a lot remains to be seen concerning these guys heading into fantasy draft season.
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