I hate saying this, but before week four started, I wrote a sleeper article that focused on both Tavon Austin and Duke Johnson Jr. I never finished the article, so it never got published, and then both Austin and Johnson went on to have big games. Does it really mean anything? No, but it’s just something I could’ve used to pat myself on the back with.
Regardless, following Austin’s breakout week four performance against the Cardinals, a lot of people are asking the same question. Can he keep this up?
Well, as the title says, I believe that Austin is going to have fantasy value for the rest of the season. Just to reiterate, Austin caught six passes on seven targets for 96 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals.
Before that, the last time Austin caught a touchdown was November 10, 2013. Yeah, it’s been a while since Austin has done anything.
Additionally, Austin hasn’t had any success during the first three weeks of the season, but he was seeing consistent snaps on offense. According to Football Outsiders, Austin has been on the field for 81.9 percent of the Rams snaps this season. So, he’s been on the field, but he just hasn’t been doing much with his snaps or targets.
Austin’s breakout is something that has seemed like a very long time coming. The Rams traded up with the Bills in the 2013 NFL Draft to select Austin with the eighth overall pick, and since then everyone has been expecting him to be the next great slot receiver. Unfortunately, his breakout never came, and he’s endured two subpar years.
Now, following his big game, why should people finally believe in Austin? Well, it goes without saying, the Rams have a lack of offensive weapons. We also saw Todd Gurley breakout against the Cardinals, but at receiver the team is very weak. Kenny Britt and Stedman Bailey have their moments, but it never turns into anything, and Brian Quick is somewhere in Jeff Fisher‘s doghouse.
Austin is going to be successful in this offense because his skill set is the perfect match for this offense. The Rams offensive line is horrible, and Nick Foles is going to have to continue to get the ball out as quick as possible. With Austin moving around formations, he should be able to get open on a variety of intermediate routes.
It’s probably hard to stomach having to count on Tavon Austin as a fantasy contributor for your team considering his past, but if his week four performance is any indication, the Rams may be finally getting the Tavon Austin they expected when they drafted him.