St. Louis Rams rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin missed last week’s upset win over the New Orleans Saints with an ankle injury, and he wasn’t able to practice at all that week. Austin wasn’t able to practice at all this week either, leaving his status in plenty of doubt for today’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirms that Austin is unlikely to play today, and it will be interesting to see if he’s healthy enough to play in Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks. Even though the Rams haven’t ruled Austin out yet, I would be beyond shocked if he played this week. Not only hasn’t he played or practiced for two weeks, but he’s also a rookie who hasn’t played or practiced for two weeks. Teams don’t risk rookies, especially top ten picks who are 5’8″, 174 pounds. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rams held Austin out of the season finale, even if he is healthy and the Rams would love to upset the rival Seahawks (and hey, they beat the Saints without him).
It’s been a disappointing rookie campaign overall for Austin, but there’s plenty of hope that he’ll make good on his top-ten billing in the future. I mean, he showed a lot of flashes as the season wore on and has amazing speed and playmaking ability. Hopefully he’ll become a more consistent pass-catcher and route-runner who can combine possession ability with playmaking ability, and he’s definitely someone to watch closely in 2014.
At this point, absolutely no fantasy owner should be starting Austin this week.