Friday, June 1, 2012
Look who shows up on impressive WR list
By Mike Sando
Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson show up on K.C. Joyner's list of "matchup busting" wide receivers based on 2011 production.
No surprise there.
Mild surprise here: Michael Crabtree, a favorite target for criticism since a contract dispute nearly wrecked his rookie season, appeared among six players in the "honorable mention" category. Fitzgerald and Crabtree were the only NFC wideouts to earn mention (two former ones, Laurent Robinson and Anquan Boldin, appeared).
Joyner defines matchup busters as receivers with high yards-per-attempt averages when facing cornerbacks who typically allow low YPA numbers (minimum 35 such matchups per receiver). There is some subjectivity in determining the true responsibilities for a cornerback on a given play, but when you see the company Crabtree kept by this metric, the results should be encouraging for the 49ers.
Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Bowe joined Crabtree in the honorable mention category.
This is where we could work in a clever remark about Crabtree supposedly having the best hands around, and I'm sure someone will come through in the comments section below. We might instead reduce that over-the-top characterization as a positive sign, at least, when backed with independent analysis suggesting Crabtree might be better than we might realize initially.
Crabtree's receptions and yards have increased every year. He had 72 receptions for 874 yards and four touchdowns last season.