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Fantasy football: Michael Crabtree is breaking out

This week in Higher/Lower/Over/Under our topics cover Sharks, but no Jets. LiLo, but not Stitch. Chris, but not Calvin Johnson. Peyton, but not Eli. And Wes, but not Frank Welker. Curious? Let's get to the digits.

3: The number of days this week I've been involved in Michael Crabtree conversations. Push. My desk at NFL Network is right next to one of our producers who is a huge 49ers fan, and he keeps telling me that Crabtree will have over 1,100 yards receiving this year. Try as I might to see things the other way, this finally looks like Crabtree's breakout season. In his last 13 games, Crabtree has 74 catches for 885 yards and four touchdowns (thanks to sfgate.com for the stats). He looks healthy and dominant, now that he has help on the outside to take the pressure off of him. He doesn't score touchdowns and doesn't break the 100-yard barrier too often, but he'll be a great bye-week fill-in, at least.

4: Trade offers I'll get this week for Chris Johnson. Under. Even the self-appointed fantasy 'sharks' aren't going to try to rip you off for Johnson, because THEY'RE not convinced he can become a big fantasy star again. "Why would I trade Martellus Bennett for Chris Johnson?" That's how far CJ2K has fallen. I own him in two leagues, and I'm pretty much stuck. He threw his offensive line under the bus this week, which is always a good development. He has one last chance for me. This week, he's playing Detroit. It's a great opportunity for him to break out, especially if somehow his comments fire his team up. But this is it. And this isn't a Major-League-Baseball-Steve-Howe last chance, it's his last chance. It's the fantasy equivalent of sleeping on your best friend's downstairs couch after getting kicked out of your house. This week, and then I'm done.

5: Number of times I'll give the following 'Twilight' piece of advice out through social media. Under. But it's important to say if you're in a Kristen Stewart fantasy league, Rob Pattinson is a must-start once again while Rupert Sanders is a sit 'em this week.

8: How many times we'll use the phrase "Matthew Stafford Buyer's Remorse" between now and Sunday. Under, but just barely. After two sub-par weeks, owners are growing restless over Stafford's slow start. He was expected to come back to earth a little bit from last year, but so far he's on pace for 16 touchdown passes this season. I'm not panicking on him. He's Matthew Stafford and he has a terrific matchup this week against Tennessee, who hasn't stopped anyone through the air so far this season. Now, if he struggles against the Titans, then we're having a conversation.

Greg Trott/Associated Press
Michael Bush will see an increased workload with Matt Forte's injury, but should he be in your lineup? (Click image for further analysis.)

9: How many times a blogger will compare the old 'Robocop' suit to the new 'Robocop' suit this week. Over. Yes, they've just started shooting a re-make of the 1987 classic, and pictures have hit the internet. Eventually, Hollywood will only do re-makes of films, and we'll be at the point where a movie will come out in the spring of 2015 and then get re-made for the fall of 2015 with a new, younger cast.

10: How often I've been asked if Dennis Pitta can keep up his production. Over. Pitta is for real. The Ravens offense has become Joe Flacco-centric, with Ray Rice as the complementary piece. Baltimore knows to advance further in the playoffs they need Flacco to step up, so his fantasy value increases as well. But Pitta is getting the targets and will keep producing solid tight end numbers. He should be starting for you unless you already have an elite tight end.

12: Number of days until the next Lindsay Lohan headline involving a car. Under. She seems to be on a big run right now. But that's her: she's streaky. She'll be in the news for like three weeks straight and then take a month off. She's the Ryan Fitzpatrick of Hollywood.

15: How many 'Are you concerned about Peyton Manning' conversations I'll be involved in before Sunday. Over. I don't know why the "Brock Osweiler was ready to throw a 75-yard Hail Mary" story bothers me so much, but it does. Oh wait, now I do. If Manning is truly having trouble throwing it deep, it will become evident for the entire league in another week or two. In which case you'll see defenses tightening up coverages and daring Denver to beat them long. If that happens, and Manning can't respond? Watch his production dip, Chad Pennington comparisons sprout up and we'll be asking "How long can you stick with Peyton as your starter?" Regardless, if you have Manning, make sure you have an ace backup just in case you have to make a change. And do it now.

30: Bloggers who will say 'Revolution' is the next 'Lost.' Over. Honestly, I was intrigued, but not a ton by the TV show with the most buzz this week. For a post-apocalyptic-type show (with a little bit of 'Hunger Games' thrown in), it was too slickly produced. After 15 years of no electricity, your heroine cannot look like she just stepped out of a salon. Post-apocalyptic by nature is gritty and harsh. This was like 'Burn Notice' or one of those other generic USA Network dramas. And going with a cast of no-names (not counting Gus Fring of course) is too dicey. You run the risk of the viewer saying "I don't care about any of these characters" after the pilot. (Like me.)

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50: The number of times the same friends of mine who asked me about Wes Welker last week will ask me about him this week. Over. Look, Welker is in for a reduced role in the offense. It's that clear. He's not seeing the snaps and New England is increasing Stevan Ridley's carries. However. And it's a big Marisa-Tomei-My-Cousin-Vinny-However. While Aaron Hernandez is out, Welker (along with Brandon Lloyd) has increased fantasy relevance. Welker had a nice game Sunday - but didn't get a pass until after Hernandez' injury. Try as he wants to, even Bill Belichick knows he can't just trot out tight end replacements and expect to dominate. Welker's role will return - for now.

Jason Smith hosts NFL Fantasy Live on the NFL Network and writes fantasy and other pith for NFL.com. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on nfl.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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