It has been a disappointing 2013 season for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin, with 15 receptions for 125 yards in five games played. He has missed the last three games with a hamstring issue, but coming out of the Cowboys’ Week 11 bye he is expected to return to action against the New York Giants in Week 12. Austin was clearly limited by his injury before missing each of the three games before Dallas’s bye week, and he does not have a catch since Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams.
Austin’s injury came at a time when a lot of fantasy football owners could not justify hanging onto him, with bye weeks going and roster depth a continuous issue, but can he be added for the stretch run?
Austin had his best game of the season against the Giants in Week 1, with 10 receptions for 72 yards, and if not for allowing just four catches for 51 yards to the Oakland Raiders’ wide receivers in Week 10 New York would be much more generous to the position (19.8 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring). After that, favorable matchups will come for Austin in Week 13 against the Raiders, Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers and Week 16 against the Washington Redskins, who all enter this week in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing wide receivers (ESPN scoring). In Week 17 another favorable matchup will come against the Philadelphia Eagles, who enter Week 12 allowing the most receptions (187; 17 per game) and yards (2,384; 216.7 per game) to wide receivers as well as by far the most targets (308, 28 per game) to the position.
Terrance Williams has a touchdown in five of the last six games with Austin hobbled, but he has just five catches for 118 yards over the last three games combined. So Austin, if back to full health, could usurp the rookie in the Cowboys’ wide receiver pecking order and take advantage of the attention Dez Bryant gets from opposing defenses.
Williams’ presence, particulary in terms of touchdown production, puts a ceiling on Austin’s fantasy potential and keeps him from being an every week fantasy starter immediately. But with wide availability (27 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues) and some upside potential, particularly in PPR formats, Austin is worth a speculative add as a WR3 or WR4 in 12 and 14-team leagues.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.