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Nov 30

Michael Crabtree set to return against St. Louis, but what can we expect in Week 13?

It’s the moment the San Francisco 49ers have been waiting for all season – or, at least since it became apparent that no one behind Anquan Boldin was ready to step up and make the most of the opportunity afforded them by the Achilles injury that Crabtree suffered in August.

We don’t need to recount San Francisco’s struggles but suffice it to say there hasn’t been a lot of production from the receiver position. Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis have all of the team’s receiving TDs, and at 113 yards Kyle Williams is the next highest receiver on the team, behind Boldin’s 724 which land outside the league’s top 20. No other SF wideout has more than nine catches.

Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh, others around the organization adn the fan base are all understandably excited by Crabtree’s return. The 5th year wideout himself is excited, too. Noting that his return has been a long time coming. Still, if Percy Harvin‘s debut and subsequent doubtful status have taught us anything it’s that a spot on the game day roster does not guarantee production or longevity.

While it is possible that Michael Crabtree could make an immediate impact against the Rams it seems more likely that he'll slowly work his way back into the mix in San Francisco (Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images).

While it is possible that Michael Crabtree could make an immediate impact against the Rams it seems more likely that he’ll slowly work his way back into the mix in San Francisco (Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images).

While it is conceivable that Crabtree could make an immediate impact for San Francisco, owners are wise to leave him on their bench until we see how his use, and snap count will play out. Even if he plays at his peak, Crabtree is in for a tough matchup against St. Louis – he’s ranked outside our WR top 50 for the week.

The Rams have done a nice job in getting after the Quarterback and while they’ve played just one QB who started the season as number one on the depth chart (Andrew Luck) over the past month they’re allowing just on passing touchdown per game compared to 2.33 interceptions. Just one of those touchdown passes have gone to wide receivers. While San Francisco did put up 35 points against the Rams earlier this season, most of their damage came on the ground (two touchdown passes, Boldin and Davis, of course).

The short answer for Week 13: temper expectations, sit back, and watch. If you’ve been stashing Crabtree all season what’s one more week? If you like what you see, then get him in there during your fantasy playoffs… but if you’re fighting for seeding, be wary a potentially quiet week in his return.

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