In 2009, Miles Austin took the NFL by storm ranking in the top 10 fantasy players overall and booking a trip to Honolulu. The ensuing year, he was the 12th ranked WR in the league. Since then, he’s been a disappointment to fantasy GMs and the Dallas Cowboys alike.
In 2011, he ranked 42nd among wide receivers, but he only played 10 games due to his first of many hamstring injuries. But based on his average production that season, had he played all 16 games that season, he would have ranked 13th in the league. So fantasy owners were able to benefit from his play while he was around.
In 2012, he would play all 16 games, but had lingering hamstring injuries that only put him 26th among WRs — a solid WR3 option. Then, finally last season, he was outside of the top 100 WRs and was unable to find the end zone during his 11-game stretch.
His dip in production, albeit partially to injuries, worries me. But it’s the injuries themselves that concern me the most. Maybe it was the slippery turf so many complain about that hurt him, and his move to the Cleveland Browns will help him stay healthy? That’s probably not the case — he’ll likely be injured again this year.
However, I see new life in Austin now that he’s found a home in Cleveland. That life is Johnny Manziel. Now that it appears Josh Gordon will be out for the season, Austin can jump back into the WR1 spot that Austin succeeded with Tony Romo down in Dallas before injuries became a nuisance for him.
And like in Dallas, he’ll be receiving balls from a play making QB. A lot of Austin’s success came from Romo stretching plays out with his mobility outside the pocket and creating plays that should have ended in a sack. The same goes for Manziel, who’s one of the most athletic QBs in the NFL now. He makes plays when it seems that the whistle already blew.
They haven’t even tossed the pigskin around yet, but I see Austin and Manziel really making the pair together for fantasy owners and the Browns organization alike. However, as great as they may be together, it’s Austin’s injury proneness that concerns me.
As of right now, you can typically land Austin in the 8th round. Is that worth it? If you like taking risks, and he stays healthy, you just landed a steal. But even if you’re more conservative, you should strongly consider drafting Austin…but around the 10th round if he’s still available because of the likelihood of him missing out on a quarter of your season.