Tavon Austin, WR Los Angeles Rams

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Rams extend WR Tavon Austin

Saturday, August 27, 2016, 7:07pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

After a career year in 2015, Rams wideout and former first-round pick Tavon Austin has earned himself an extension.

Austin has signed a four-year extension to stay in Los Angeles, the team announced Saturday. The new deal is worth $42 million with $30 million in guarantees, a source with knowledge of the deal told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The extension keeps the wide receiver under contract through the 2021 season.

The 25-year-old speedster will be invaluable over the coming seasons, adding another layer to a Rams offense that is desperate for playmakers.

Fantasy Impact:

In 2015, Austin caught 52 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 434 yards with four more scores. His 907 yards from scrimmage nearly doubled his previous best -- 569 during his rookie season. He was #23 in standard formats and a #28 finish in PPR leagues. Given his 8.35 YPC, the Rams don’t have any reason to stop giving him regular touches in the running game, and HC Jeff Fisher said that he could “double the catches over what he had last year,” indicating that Fisher thinks Austin could catch 100 balls. While we’re not projecting him to anywhere close to that number of catches, if rookie QB Jared Goff can raise the team’s wholly inefficient passing offense to a respectable level, Austin should benefit. He’s a post-hype sleeper in the 8th round.

Scouting Report

Fantasy Upside
Tavon Austin is coming off his best season as a pro. He caught more passes (52) for more yards (473) and scored more touchdowns (5) in 2015 than at any point his career. He also rushed for more yards (434),and more touchdowns (4) on more carries (52) than at any point in his career. Austin finished as fantasy's WR25 in 2015 after ranking as the WR87 a year prior. Why the sudden success? Some will point to Austin maturing in his third season, but the biggest reason for the bump in production came from a change at offensive coordinator. Frank Cignetti replaced Brian Schottenheimer, who left to become the OC at the University of Georgia before the season. Schottenheimer struggled with how to best utilize Austin, who at times was foolishly asked to run between the tackles as a running back. Cignetti did a better job of creating opportunities for Austin to flash his speed and athleticism by designing ways to get the receiver into open space. Cignetti was fired in December and replaced by current OC Rob Boras, who continued to get Austin involved as both a runner and receiver. Along with Todd Gurley, Austin is one of only a few weapons in L.A.'s offense. The Rams will once again be forced to design ways to get Austin the ball and thus, his targets and carries should mirror the overall touches he had in 2015. He should also benefit from an upgrade at quarterback, as rookie Jared Goff is expected to start over Case Keenum.

Fantasy Downside
Despite posting career numbers in 2015, Austin remains limited in fantasy. He isn't the type of player who can transcend any offense; he needs play-callers to manufacture touches for him given his inability to use his body to create separation from defenders. If L.A. had better receiving options than Kenny Britt, Lance Kendricks and Brian Quick, maybe Austin would be more dangerous because defenses couldn't key on him in coverage. But opponents know they can stack the box to defend against Gurley and bracket Austin in coverage because those two players are all the Rams have offensively.

2016 Bottom Line
Jeff Fisher believes Austin can double his catches in 2016 after the receiver caught 52 passes a year ago. That's a major stretch given the Rams run-dominated attack. Another 50-plus catches seems reasonable, with 8-10 total touchdowns mixed into his final stat line. Austin ranks as our WR46 heading into training camp, which would make him a WR4/5. While he does have some upside, it would be wise not to draft Austin until the later rounds. He's worth a late-round flier, but counting on him to be anything more than receiver depth would be a gamble.

2016 Strength of Schedule - LA
W1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9W10W11W12W13W14W15W16W17
18
@SF
1
SEA
17
@TB
9
@ARI
24
BUF
25
@DET
22
NYG
BYE12
CAR
20
@NYJ
28
MIA
27
@NO
16
@NE
2
ATL
1
@SEA
18
SF
9
ARI

Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.

2015 Game Stats
WeekOppRecRecYdsRecTDTgtsYPCRuAttRuYdsRuTDFumYPRSnaps%
1SEA2-205-1.00417104.2548/6080.00%
2WAS16036.004400010.0039/5275.00%
3PIT538057.600000-44/5284.62%
4ARI6962716.002200010.0047/5388.68%
5GB26153.00322007.3355/7177.46%
6BYE------------
7CLE4430710.751210021.0034/5364.15%
8SF4981724.50321117.0049/6971.01%
9MIN415073.75866008.2554/7472.97%
10CHI25042.50318006.0044/6369.84%
11BAL15055.001160116.0049/6180.33%
12CIN633065.504631015.7546/7363.01%
13ARI1240324.00214007.0045/5090.00%
14DET319056.334400010.0042/5576.36%
15TB3411313.67432108.0043/5282.69%
16SEA316075.33312004.0044/5383.02%
17SF530086.00632005.3361/7185.92%
Per game3.2529.560.315.449.103.2527.130.250.138.3546.50/60.1377.82%
Totals524735879.1052434428.35744/96277.82%

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