The 2 Point Conversion

The Complete NFL Scoop

Split Decision: Michael Crabtree vs. Chad Ochocinco


In today’s edition of Split Decision, Michael Crabtree and Chad Ochocinco will do battle. On average, they are being drafted in the fourth round as #2 receivers. Should you go with the emerging but unproven 49er or the established but regressing Bengal when you are on the clock?

Michael Crabtree’s rookie season was really a waste because of his contract dispute, and he consequently caught barely five times as many passes as the first receiver drafted, Darrius Heyward-Bey. He missed the first five games of the season and did not participate in any offseason workouts. Still, he caught 48 passes for 625 yards despite the fact that he had no chemistry with his quarterback(s), whoever they were. Project those totals over a 16 game schedule, and Crabtree hauls in 70 balls good for 909 yards. Again, that’s with Alex Smith under center, who he has absolutely no rhythm with running routes. This season, Crabtree is a prime breakout candidate. With probably the softest schedule in the league, regular season experience, and an offseason under his belt, all the signs point to a much more impressive season for the second year man out of Texas Tech. Crabtree should also get many of Vernon Davis’ touchdowns since the latter’s 13 touchdown season was a fluke. Even with a shaky quarterback and a coach that likes to pound the rock, Crabtree will win one-on-one battles in the secondary and impress this season. He is an underrated receiver worth a selection between 35th and 40th overall as a top flight #2 receiver.

Prediction: 80 catches, 1,050 receiving yards, 7 receiving TDs. 147 FPTS (9.2 per game)

After a supremely disappointing 2008 season, Chad Ochocinco rebounded nicely last year to grab 72 passes and find the endzone 9 times. He was Cincinnati’s only real receiving threat, but that will change this year after the Bengals added Antonio Bryant via free agency and spent their first round selection on tight end Jermaine Gresham. Those arrivals coupled with the probable suspension of Cedric Benson and departure of Larry Johnson signal a more heavy reliance on the passing game, at least in the early parts of the season. However, Ocho may end up getting fewer targets because of the signings of other legitimate targets. Also, Chad is almost 33 and has been publicly criticized by Carson Palmer for his lack of focus on football during the offseason. He will see more single coverage, but that alone won’t compensate for his decrease in targets and potentially fracturing relationship with his quarterback. Still, Ochocinco presents little risk and is worth taking in the fifth round as a mid to low end #2 receiver. Just don’t expect him to best his numbers from ’09 or even duplicate them.

Prediction: 65 catches, 950 receiving yards, 6 receiving TDs. 131 FPTS(8.2 per game)

Decision: Michael Crabtree. Both are locked in as #1 receivers on run-first teams, but Crabtree is much younger and talented than Ochocinco. Antonio Bryant will steal more targets than Josh Morgan, and Crabtree should find the endzone much more often. This is not that close of a call.

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July 11, 2010 - Posted by | Fantasy Football

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