I'm just starting up on tying next seasons crabs. Some will be on circles as an experiment, but I've never experienced much of a problem with deep hooking stripers with crab flies. Maybe one or two fish a year that really take the fly down to the crushers.
If you are finding that you're catching fish that deep on crabs I would recommend using a strike indictor. I did this for many seasons and you'll be surprised at how early you can set the hook and how many stripers you can lip-hook with crabs. I like a small piece of neon yarn tied directly to the leader about 4' from the fly.
Try this, it will be an education on when stripers really have eaten the bug.
As for the popularity of crabs, you're making me weep, it used to be so simple. Like every season, the search is on to find a "new" pattern that the fish won't be offered by every other angler on the flats.
I had good luck with shrimp patterns last year, but I'm not certain the fish thought that they were eating shrimp. Steve