A.J. Jenkins

Who’s got it better (at WR): 49ers or Raiders?

The history of the NFL is replete with iconic moments: Joe Namath’s guarantee of victory prior to Super Bowl III, Dwight Clark’s catch, Franco Harris’s immaculate reception, and Kellen Winslow’s performance in 1982 AFC divisional playoffs.

But for every monument of greatness, there are the not-so-great. Perhaps none speak to this as perfectly as the infamous Raiders fan’s breakdown after the Al Davis drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey (DHB) over Michael Crabtree.

It goes without saying that the NFL Draft tends to bring out the worst in fans. When it comes to talent, everyone is an expert — except the actual experts, that is. In the case of DHB, Al Davis might have known something that wailing Raiders fans did not: DHB may be better than Crabtree.

According to Football Outsiders, Michael Crabtree is the better receiver, but not by much. Explanations for these stats can be found here.

49ers DYAR DVOA Passes Yards EYds Catch Rate AV
M. Crabtree 167 6.3% 114 880 962 64% 9
K. Williams 61 12.3% 31 241 287 65% 3
M. Manningham 53 -4.2% 77 523 584 51% 4
T. Ginn 10 -8.7 33 220 222 58% 0

 

Raiders DYAR DVOA Passes Yards EYds Catch Rate AV
D. Heyward-Bey 145 3.6% 115 975 942 56% 8
D. Moore 84 0.9% 76 618 627 56% 5
J. Ford 31 -0.9% 33 279 262 58% 3
L. Murphy 6 -10.1% 33 241 212 45% 2

 

Crabtree edges out DHB in all statistical categories except for yards gained. Where Crabtree has had the benefit of playing with the same quarterback for three seasons, DHB did not. The best season of DHB’s career was one in which the Raiders’ offense underwent a major upheaval mid season after losing starter Jason Campbell. Sure, Campbell’s replacement, Carson Palmer, was a better quarterback. But is Palmer’s presence enough to explain DHB’s significant improvement?

Though I don’t believe that one mediocre season is enough to crown DHB the better receiver, Pro-Football Focus (PFF) does. According to their projections, PFF believes both DHB and Denarius Moore will have better seasons than Crabtree.

Rk Player Targ Rec Yds TD Fum Pts
34 D. Heyward-Bey 105 58 945 5 1 182
35 D. Moore 110 47 869 7 1 177
49 M. Crabtree 93 60 744 4 0 156
55 J. Ford 89 46 690 4 1 142
61 M. Manningham 70 43 636 3 1 127
85 R. Moss 47 27 427 4 1 95
106 A. Jenkins 33 21 256 1 0 53
110 L. Murphy 31 16 246 1 0 48

 

 

 

 

Given PFF’s projections and Palmer’s seeming ability to make lemonade out of lemons, I would say the Raiders have the better receiving corps. Granted, Randy Moss might have a breakout season, but that seems as likely as Juron Criner doing the same. Mario Manningham too could become a prolific receiver. But if he wasn’t able to do so in New York, what are the odds he does with the run-happy 49ers?

Fortunately for the 49ers, receivers aren’t the only ones allowed to catch passes. The tight end position has become as vital to the passing game as lensless, black-rimmed glasses are to Lebron James’s hipster aesthetic. As it happens, the 49ers have one of the best tight ends in the league.

49ers DYAR DVOA Passes Yards EYds Catch Rate AV
V. Davis 94 7.7% 95 792 737 71% 10
D. Walker 0 -7.5% 35 198 183 54% 4

 

Raiders DYAR DVOA Passes Yards EYds Catch Rate AV
B. Myers -39 -28.1% 27 151 72 59 3

 

There is no need for discussion here. Davis reigns supreme. In fact, Myers would likely be unable to crack the 49ers roster. Kevin Boss wouldn’t though.

Raiders DYAR DVOA Passes Yards EYds Catch Rate AV
K. Boss 105 36.2% 39 368 434 72% 5

 

Boss’s role with the Raiders was minuscule, but he filled the role much better than any replacement level player could. It should be interesting to see how well he will do with the Chiefs.

Anyways, PFF’s projections certainly do not shock.

Rk Player Targ Rec Yds TD Fum Pts
6 V. Davis 114 82 891 6 1 214
38 B. Myers 42 28 307 3 0 77
48 D. Walker 23 16 181 1 0 44
54 Richard Gordon 21 14 162 1 0 33

 

 

 

Because the 49ers have the better tight ends while the Raiders have the better receivers, it would appear as though the two teams are at a stalemate.

Who’s got it better at receiver? Neither.

8 Comments
8 comments
Stan
Stan

The Raiders have it all over the 49ers in coolest uniforms...that nerdy red and gold of the niners compared to bad ass silver and black of Oakland (and OAKLAND sounds cool too)..I mean, when the 49er head coach wears black and silver 49ers hats..it tells you who he admires as real cool..not Disney character miners...

Tru
Tru

Good breakdown. I'm biased, but I think the potential of the Raiders' core is larger. Granted, potential guarantees you nothing, but I haven't seen a WR like Moore on the Raiders in quite some time. His catch in the Buffalo game was absolutely thrilling.

Blaster
Blaster

As a Raider fan, I will openly say that I absolutely ENVY the Niners TE's. I would love to have either one in the Silver & Black. Boss is decent and a hell of a blocker, but c'mon, there is no comparison to Walker and Davis. At WR, I was in the majority that was furious when the Raiders took DHB over Crabtree. I think coming out of college, Crabtree was heads and shoulders above DHB. I think that DHB will have the better pro career when they are both done. Crabtree comes off as a bit of a diva and kind of lazy and DHB just gets better and better. I hope this DUI doesn't put him on the bench too long. The Niners have upped their receiver core, as a whole, but they've got nothing on this young Raider crew. These guys are going to be monsters with a consistent coaching staff and QB that can air it out. Smith is serviceable, but still looks weak on simple patterns and seems to get happy feet. I'm not going to lie. I think the Niners have a way better TEAM. But I think the Raider WR's will completely outperform the Niner WR's this year. Unfortunately, the Raiders are still a few years from really competing, IMO.

Scott
Scott

Stan = Bay Area Fashion Guy

Scott
Scott

It will be interesting to see if Knapp can maximize his potential. He certainly presents a unique combination of hands and speed.

Scott
Scott

Niners have two really good tight ends, which is why it is so surprising that Walker is largely under-utilized in the passing game. But then again, I suppose all receivers have been under-utilized on the 49ers.

Snoop
Snoop

Moore and Ford are damn good and getting better. Boss isn't even a Raider anymore. He's a Chief thankfully.

Blaster
Blaster

Whoops. Bad knowledge on my part. I'm still jealous of the Niners for having Davis and Walker.

What is Bay Area Sports Guy?

It is the top independent sports site covering the teams that play in the best sports region in the United States. BASG is not an ordinary fan blog. It is a place where sports news is broken and analyzed by writers with access who are not afraid to question the status quo, writers who also produce original content in the form of videos, photographs and podcasts.

Questions/Comments? Email basg@bayareasportsguy.com

Sign up for our mailing list.



Copyright © 2016 - Bay Area Sports Guy. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Terms of Use and BASG Shop Terms

To Top