After being selected eighth overall in the 2013 draft, St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin had a disappointing rookie season, with 40 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games played. He missed the final three games of the season with an ankle injury, but he still only played around half of the Rams’ offensive snaps and head coach Jeff Fisher has hinted about an expanded role for Austin next season.
Should fantasy football owners expect a breakout season from Austin in 2014?
The Rams’ quarterback situation is a bit shaky right now, with Sam Bradford working his way back from a torn ACL and recently signed backup Shaun Hill coming off offseason foot surgery. Hill is a more viable option than Austin Davis if Bradford is not ready for the start of the season, with a 13-13 career record as a starter, but he has only attempted 16 passes over the last three seasons.
The Rams may look to May’s draft for wide receivers, with Brian Quick, Austin Pettis and Chris Givens failing to assert themselves in recent years. The only wide receiver currently on the roster that looks likely to have a guaranteed roster spot and role is Austin, which is good news for him in the grand scheme of things if any notable changes come.
Austin should benefit from another offseason of work, and there’s no reason for him not to see the field more next season as long as he stays healthy. I don’t expect him to suddenly become an elite fantasy option next season, but with 2013 as his floor Austin looks like a WR3 or WR4 with upside in PPR leagues and he’ll have extra value in leagues that count return yardage.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.