Tavon Austin, WR St. Louis Rams

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 11:56am

ESPN - [Full Article]

When it comes to Rams receivers, Kenny Britt isn't the only one with something to prove. Brian Quick, who flashed some promise in the first half of 2014, is recovering from shoulder surgery that prevented him from enjoying a potential breakout season. Quick figures to be the other starter opposite Britt on the outside if and when he returns to full strength.

Beyond that duo, the Rams have a pair of former West Virginia Mountaineers still looking to break out in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. That pair will likely battle for playing time in the slot. Chris Givens, who might be in his final go-around with the team if he's unable to offer more in 2015, projects as the fifth wideout.

Fantasy Impact:

While it's not an impressive group in terms of potential fantasy numbers and rankings, the team hopes having stability at QB with Nick Foles will help the passing game. There were also heavy investments made in the offensive line - and at running back with draft pick Todd Gurley. As a result, the story said, the Rams believe this is the year for at least one or two of the wideouts they've been so patient with to emerge. The offense figures to be run-first, so the Rams don't need a wideout to post stud numbers, the team instead needs receivers to make big plays when presented with an opportunity.

Scouting Report

Fantasy Upside
Thanks to his speed and overall explosiveness, Tavon Austin is the one player in the Rams receiving corps with the skill set to be a game-changer. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are big targets and solid possession receivers, while Stedman Bailey runs the best routes on the team. But none of them have Austin's ability to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer never quite figured out how to best utilize Austin, which was evident by the times Schottenheimer had the 174-pound receiver take handoffs and run between the tackles. If new OC Frank Cignetti can design ways to consistently get Austin in open space, there’s a chance the third-year pro could finally start to deliver on the high expectations he had entering the league.

Fantasy Downside
Schottenheimer was a lightning rod for criticism last year in St. Louis, but the fact remains that he did try to get the ball in Austin’s hands. Austin just couldn’t find creases between defenders when he received opportunities. He finished as fantasy’s WR83 last year after catching 31 passes for 242 yards with zero touchdowns. Even with a switch at offensive coordinator, Austin remains a gadget player in the Rams run-first offense.

Bottom Line
Austin ranks as our WR79 in standard formats and is being undrafted in 10 and 12-team leagues. He has the skill set to be an explosive player, but he is not an ideal fit for the Rams’ run-first system. When the team traded into the top 10 to draft him in 2013, the plan was to open up the offense for quarterback Sam Bradford. Austin was viewed as a great fit for St. Louis’ spread attack Fisher ditched the philosophy four games into the season to go back to his roots of pounding the ball on the ground. That is one of the reasons why Austin had fewer targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2014 than he did during his rookie year in 2013. Despite a switch at coordinator and the addition of Nick Foles at quarterback, it’s doubtful the light bulb suddenly comes on for Austin this season.

2015 Strength of Schedule - STL
W1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9W10W11W12W13W14W15W16W17
1
SEA
32
@WAS
31
PIT
7
@ARI
24
@GB
BYE14
CLE
26
SF
6
@MIN
20
CHI
30
@BAL
3
@CIN
7
ARI
12
DET
27
TB
1
@SEA
26
@SF

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

2014 Game Stats
WeekOppRecRecYdsRecTDTgtsYPCRuAttRuYdsRuTDFumYPRSnaps%
1MIN3340311.3335001.6729/6743%
2TB0001-2210010.5010/6116%
3DAL------------
4BYE------------
5PHI2330216.500000-22/7430%
6SF435058.75316005.3325/7434%
7SEA36042.00516003.2022/4945%
8KC212026.0027003.5033/5263%
9SF211035.5027003.5032/5558%
10ARI2200310.001100010.0041/6266%
11DEN210045.00211005.5049/6575%
12SD311033.67327109.0050/6478%
13OAK211055.502241012.0031/5161%
14WAS214027.00546009.2041/6266%
15ARI214047.0018008.0058/6392%
16NYG1150215.00325008.3344/6370%
17SEA213026.5021000.5047/6276%
Totals322390457.4736224206.22534/92458%

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