Head to Head: Two AJ Jenkins 2013 Projections

From Richard Janvrin(@RichardJanvrin);

According to reports, San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree has torn his Achilles tendon during OTA’s a few weeks ago. He has had surgery and is expected to miss 6 months.  This is a huge blow to not only the 49ers, but to Fantasy nerds, too. This affects Crabtree’s fantasy prospects as well as Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin and Mr. AJ Jenkins.

Who the heck is AJ Jenkins?

AJ Jenkins was selected in the 1st round (30th overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers out of Illinois. He did not catch a pass last year.  Jenkins had a pretty stellar senior season at Illinois in which he posted a 90-1276-8 season.  Jenkins isn’t the biggest guy physically, but he can flat-out fly. At the combine in 2012, he posted a 4.41 40-yard dash time.

Some weaknesses are; It is said he’s not the greatest jump-ball receiver and he needs to hit the weight room.  This is AJ Jenkins’ time to prove that he is indeed not a bust.  The 49ers are not only dealing with the Crabtree injury, but the injury to Mario Manningham also. Remember, Manningham tore his ACL and PCL.

So that leaves the 49ers with Anquan Boldin and now, seemingly, AJ Jenkins.  In my opinion, based on his size, Jenkins might be more suitable out of the slot. He can create plenty of yards after the catch and should provide something explosive to the 49ers offense.  Given Crabtree’s estimated time for arrival of around Week 12 of the NFL season, we should get a pretty good look at Jenkins.

On my board, I had Crabtree in the high-20’s, obviously not anymore, but I’ve actually slid AJ Jenkins in to my top-50 (48th to be exact).  Come Draft Day keep an eye on the 23-year-old wide-out.

Projections: 41 receptions, 562 yards, 3 TDs.

From Matt Lane(@FFMattLane);

Since Michael Crabtree was felled by his torn Achilles tendon a few weeks ago, A.J. Jenkins, a first round WR selected by the 49ers in the 2012 draft, has been on everybody’s tongue. But how much of Crabtree’s lost looks will go to him? What skills does he bring to the 49ers team? Can you trust him in fantasy? These are all questions I’ll look to answer in this ‘head to head’ feature.

 

The 49ers are blessed with a strong receiving corps, and last season Colin Kaepernick quickly homed in on Crabtree as his #1 target after taking over the starting job from Alex Smith. Crabtree saw around ten targets per game on average whilst Kaepernick was the QB, so that extrapolates to around 140ish targets going spare, depending on when Crabtree is back.

 

Jenkins himself is regarded as the front-runner to take the majority of those looks, but the 49ers receiving corps will be fighting it out to get a piece of the action. Despite this, both Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are returning after recent injuries, and aside from Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin (expected to become the WR1 for the 49ers) Jenkins’ only healthy competition are rookies Vance McDonald (TE) and Quinton Patton (WR).

 

Jenkins has a further edge because he has been working with Kaepernick closely this off-season (since February) to try and build a rapport between the two young athletes. Jenkins clearly felt underutilised in his rookie season (no catches in the regular season), and wanted to develop a working relationship with Kaepernick to give himself a better shot next year – with Crabtree gone he’s got big shoes to fill, but he’s leading the way from the looks of things.

 

The 2012 rookie possesses great speed and acceleration, something which gives cornerbacks trouble. However he is not known for being particularly elusive with the ball. To me he is not the same mould of receiver as Crabtree, and since Boldin isn’t either he doesn’t fill the ‘player-type’ gap in my opinion.

 

Nevertheless, I think A.J. will start the season as WR2 for the 49ers, and could see upto 100 targets next season.

 

Projections: 47receptions, 697Yards, 4 TDs.

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