Scouting Notebook: Austin limits

Michael Salfino
Yahoo! Sports

You can find more from Michael Salfino at Comcast SportsNet Washington

Miles Austin(notes) heads up this week's expanded Scouting Notebook, as we focus on players whose valuations may reasonably change in light of the Week 5 action.

Austin had a Cowboys record 250 receiving yards and caught two long TDs, the final one in overtime. But he also dropped two TD passes and had another one sail through his hands in the end zone. What now for Austin? He's not going to be in the X-position when Roy Williams gets back next week. So don't dare trade for his numbers. But if he's free as in free agent, go for it.

I'm tired of looking at Jerry Jones' stretched skin in the press box. Is that required in the NFL TV contract? Worst face-lift ever, by the way. Men: don't get face-lifts.

Deeper thinkers can still grab Hakeem Nicks(notes) of the Giants. Beyond the box score, Nicks looked best on a long completion down the left sideline when he arm-barred and beat Raiders Pro Bowl corner Nnamdi Asomugha(notes) one-on-one and hand-to-hand. (He didn't get the second foot down, but the point was made.) Nicks will soon be the Giants No. 1 receiver, either in '09 or '10.

Time to put "All Bills" on the "Do Not Play" list. I love Trent Edwards(notes) checking down at his own 40, down a field goal with no timeouts and 23 seconds left like I love watching "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and "Cocktail" – for unintentional comic absurdity.

The Bucs have made a lot of receivers look like distance-scoring stars. Don't deal for Jerry Maclin. Get him if he's a free agent. And hang in there, DeSean Jackson(notes) owners, while noting the big plays have come with Kevin Kolb(notes).

I'm saying it one last time: Cedric Benson(notes) is Michael Turner(notes) 2009. If you can get him cheaper than that, do it. If you own him, hold.

The selling window is open for Clinton Portis(notes) and Dwayne Bowe(notes). It won't be open for long given those two sorry offensive units. Matt Cassel(notes) has no time for downfield throws.

You don't still own Larry Johnson(notes), do you?

Joe Flacco(notes) is not a top-tier fantasy QB. He can be a piece in the puzzle but will not carry you anywhere. He missed Mark Clayton(notes) all alone down the left sideline on his way to the end zone to put the Ravens up 11 in the final minutes.

I don't want to eat a taco that costs 89 cents and I'm tired of hearing about it all day every Sunday.

Marion Barber(notes) needs to put the team ahead of his desire to show the world how tough he is by playing through a groin strain. Wade Phillips finally wised up and benched Barber before Tashard Choice(notes) busted one for 24 yards to start the winning drive in overtime – three quarters too late, which is pretty good for Phillips.

Ray Lewis(notes) was flagged for unnecessary roughness with 50 seconds left for trying to take Chad Ocho Cino's head off on what was clearly an uncatchable ball. All because Ocho Cinco said this week he was going to punch Lewis in the face. Revenge first, ball game second for Lewis, I guess.

The Niners are the new Jaguars – brutal to watch for anyone but the purists. And what about Josh Morgan(notes) slowing up to begin a touchdown celebration and getting caught. Later, Dre Bly picks off a pass and starts the Deion Sanders move with the hand to the earhole about 60 yards from pay dirt, gets caught by Roddy White(notes) and fumbles it back to Atlanta. These are our media darlings?

Consider your Falcons fully fixed.

I'm very tempted to put the Jaguars back into the "Do Not Play Any" column off the unconscionable shutout in Seattle.

I want to give myself 40 lashes for passing on Nate Burleson(notes) in the 10th round of a redraft on Wednesday. Burleson entered Week 5 third in the league in targets and finally had production to match the opportunities. I discounted too steeply for Matt Hasselbeck's(notes) durability issues.

The Colts went into Sunday Night averaging 18 yards per completion when Dallas Clark(notes) and Reggie Wayne(notes) are lined up on the same side. Note the all-time record for average yards per completion in a season is 17.5 by Greg Cook of the Bengals in 1969.

Randy Moss(notes) and Tom Brady(notes) were not on the same page again with Brady missing him wide open on another bomb into the end zone. Things are not going to get better for the downfield passing game for the Pats with left tackle Matt Light(notes) out with a leg injury, probably until 2010 by the looks of it.

Brady badly missed Welker on a simple slant with no one home that would have been about a 60-yard TD and won the game for the Patriots. He's thrown 200-plus passes, so the rust should be gone by now.

Eddie Royal(notes) showed some signs of life. But Jabar Gaffney(notes) is still looking better because he gets downfield looks, too.

Willie Parker(notes) can't be given the starters job back, can he? Do the right thing, Mike Tomlin.

How do the Texans let Chris Brown lose two games for them – once with a goal-line fumble and on Sunday by not getting a yard on two attempts to send the game into overtime.

Hey, Matt Schaub(notes): your second progression can never be an out route on the far sideline. Result: Pick Six. Ball game: Arizona.

Let's settle on one name and make it "The Wildcat" for everyone, please. The Broncos used their "Wild Horses" (sigh) differently by lining Kyle Orton(notes) out wide, forcing the defense to set up for a run and then racing him back under center right at the snap. Then, they pass while all the defenders point at each other. I like it.

Knowshon Moreno keeps putting the ball on the ground – he got away with one late that would have been critically bad. Hold on to Correll Buckhalter(notes) (ankle).

Clowns wouldn't be caught dead in those Broncos throwbacks. The NFL must really think we're rubes who will buy anything with their logo on it.

Michael Salfino’s work has appeared in USA Today’s Sports Weekly, RotoWire, dozens of newspapers nationwide and most recently throughout Comcast SportsNet and NESN. Michael also covers the Jets and Giants each week for