While he is immensely talented, the production of wide receiver Miles Austin has been overshadowed by his various injuries in the past several years. The 29-year-old receiver only played in 11 games in the 2013 season for the Dallas Cowboys, and he had his worst receiving totals since 2007 with 244 yards. Now that he has signed with the Cleveland Browns, however, Austin has a chance to be the featured receiver with the looming suspension of playmaker Josh Gordon.
When Austin can play a full season, fantasy football players have to find a spot for him on their rosters. Other than his second season in the NFL, the former receiver for the Cowboys totaled 3,304 receiving yards and hauled in 24 touchdowns in the three out of four seasons he played in 16 games. Austin almost has no competition for a starring receiver role in the offense, and he will see more targets than Nate Burleson, Earl Bennett and Andrew Hawkins. He currently has a competent quarterback in Brian Hoyer, but if rookie Johnny Manziel becomes the field general, the upside for Austin is unlimited.
Anytime the offense will falter, tight end Jordan Cameron will become the safety blanket for his quarterback. The Browns should also have a better rushing attack this year, as the organization brought in Ben Tate and Terrance West. If the rushing attack is strong, the starting quarterback may just be asked to be a game manager like Alex Smith. Austin will also face some stiff competition in the AFC North, as his new opponents all ranked in the top 12 against the pass in 2013. Finally, his injury history makes it hard to believe that he will be able to finish a complete season.
While his injury history may turn people away, Austin is a sneaky option to finish as a top-20 wide receiver. For the cheap price you are paying, he is worth taking a shot on. He has proven previously that he has the talent to produce a monster season, and he is currently the best wide receiver on the team. He has the potential to become fantasy relevant with the Browns, and he is currently going undrafted in most leagues.
Bye Week: Week 4
Projected Round: 15th Round
Auction Value: $1(fftoolbox.com)