Trepidation is a common personality trait among the fantasy masses. It's no surprise. In a virtual game when championship aspirations can be snatched away by one muscle tweak or legal misstep, apprehensive feelings are justified. As a result, question marks Michael Vick, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Andre Johnson and every cop's best friend, Kenny Britt, have slipped in drafts.
Add Dallas' Miles Austin to the list.
On Sunday, the former Kardashian canoodler pulled up lame at practice, suffering a hamstring strain, the fifth Cowboy to be sidelined with the setback since camp opened a little over a week ago. He is expected to miss at least a week. Additional details from ESPN Dallas:
Austin has had a number of hamstring issues through his career, which coach Jason Garrett said could be a result of how hard he works in practice.
"We just have to learn from that experience (from last season), and he has to learn from that experience," Garrett said. "Making sure he's getting all the hydration he needs, getting all the treatment. He's been doing all that stuff, but we have to make sure we're somewhat cautious with him in making sure we're not getting him back too soon and then when we get him back making sure we continue to monitor that ... Sometimes when you're an undrafted guy from Monmouth University and a Jersey tough-type guy you don't want to tell the coach anything like that. You say, 'Coach, I'm fine,' and that's one of Miles' greatest strengths. Sometimes it can creep up in a negative way as well."
Last year, Austin, similar to another Texas-based WR (Johnson), was an incredibly frustrating commodity to own. Recurring hammy problems limited him to only 10 games. And, outside of his nine-catch, 143-yard, 3-TD scorgasm Week 2 at San Francisco, he was marginally effective, surpassing the 75-yard mark just one other time. His 10.0 per game average, though the 18th-best among receivers, was the second consecutive season Austin experienced a value decline. His 7.3 targets per game and 13.5 yards per catch were also three-year lows.
As discussed earlier this summer, Jerry Jones and company have made it abundantly clear they want Dez Bryant to emerge as the 'Boys' No. 1. Provided the talented but troubled wide receiver doesn't again use his ball-cap as a weapon, he is certainly capable of finally living up to expectation. Many insiders have boasted about his improved film-room dedication, route-running and on-field maturity. If that work ethic carries over, watch out. In a potentially explosive offense generaled by Tony Romo, he could top out at 80 receptions, 1,300 yards and 10-12 touchdowns.
In Austin's case, he is becoming increasingly avoidable at his current 43.5 ADP (WR15). Let his painful 2011 be a reminder. After all, tender hamstrings often do linger, particularly at a position that demands constant sprinting. Brandon Lloyd (46.2 ADP, WR18), Percy Harvin (49.6, WR20) and Jeremy Maclin (53.1, WR21) are cheaper, more attractive options.
Because of his recent history and current trends, the Capital of Texas could levy a crippling tax on investors this year.
Fearless Forecast (12 games): 58 receptions, 818 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns
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