Let's hope Tavon Austin didn't have a third-year breakout in 2015 because we hope he still has room to improve this season. Last year for the Rams, Austin played well with 52 catches for 473 yards and five touchdowns and 52 carries for 434 yards and four touchdowns. He set career highs across the board, and he actually finished as the No. 25 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues. But Austin's production was extremely deceiving since he scored double digits in Fantasy points just four times, and he had five points or less in seven games. He only had two games with more than 50 receiving yards and none with over 100, and it's hard to trust a player like this in most Fantasy leagues. Now, maybe the addition of rookie quarterback Jared Goff helps Austin take the next step in his career, but we would only invest in Goff with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues.
Austin's fifth-year contract option has been exercised by the Rams, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports. Austin was drafted eighth overall in 2013 and has been used as an all-purpose weapon through his first three seasons. Last year, Austin caught 52 passes (on 86 targets) for 473 yards and five touchdowns, and rushed 52 times for 434 yards and four more scores. The shifty wideout has also returned one punt for a touchdown in each season since entering the league. Given his dynamic versatility, it's of little surprise that the Rams decided to exercise Austin's option, keeping him under contract through 2017.
Austin rushed six times for 32 yards and added 30 yards receiving on five catches in a 19-16 overtime loss to the 49ers on Sunday. The Rams made a much more concerted effort to get Austin the ball this season, and it helped get them some wins. Austin finishes the season with 52 catches for 473 yards and five touchdowns to go with 52 rushes for 434 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. All in all, it was a pretty good season for Austin despite the fact that St Louis had terrible quarterback play much of the year. He's not as valuable in PPR leagues, but his versatility does give him an uptick in value heading into 2016.
Austin caught three of seven targets for 16 yards and had three rushes for 12 yards in Sunday's 23-17 upset win at Seattle. Austin was actually the team's second leading receiver Sunday, as Case Keenum completed just 14 of 23 passes for 103 yards in rainy and wet field conditions. The third-year wideout has generally been a touchdown-dependent fantasy player this season, although the Rams have been creative in trying to get him the ball on jet sweeps, reverses and traditional hand offs. Looking towards next year, it's possible Austin turns into more of a fantasy asset, especially if he can see a bump in targets (just 79 looks in 15 games), as his playmaking skills are no longer in question. In any event, he's got one more game left in 2015, and that will take place next Sunday at San Francisco.
Austin caught all three of his targets for 41 yards and a touchdown, adding 32 yards and another touchdown on four carries, in Thursday's 31-23 win over the Buccaneers. Austin took a screen pass for a 17-yard touchdown on the opening drive, later scoring from 21 yards out on an end-around. It was his third multi-touchdown performance of the season, but there have also been quite a few duds along the way, as he's yet to see more than seven targets in a game. Austin's touchdown-dependency isn't necessarily a bad thing on the whole, but it doesn't bode well for his prospects in a Week 16 road matchup with the red-hot Seahawks.
Austin rushe for 40 yards on four carries and added three catches off of five targets for 19 yards in Sunday's win over Detroit. Sunday marked the eighth time this season that Austin accumualted more rushing yards than receiving yards. The peculiar trend has been a blessing in disguise as the young receiver has topped 75 total yards four times and has scored seven touchdowns despite St. Louis' inability to pass the ball consistently. Austin is a solid get for teams struggling with receiver depth coming down the stretch, but it's tough to put too much faith in a target who has failed to catch a touchdown or top 50 yards receiving in six straight weeks.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||@San Francisco 49ers||18||22.38|
|3||09/25||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||24.63|
|7||10/23||New York Giants||23||23.88|
|10||11/13||@New York Jets||19||22.75|
|12||11/27||@New Orleans Saints||28||25.13|
|13||12/04||@New England Patriots||22||23.78|
|16||12/24||San Francisco 49ers||18||22.38|
|3 Year Avg||66||41||378||3||17||9.22||94|