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Fantasy football: Tavon Austin’s speed only gets him so far

St. Louis Rams wide receiver TavAustruns 65-yard touchdown first half an NFL football game against Chicago Bears Sunday Nov. 24

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin runs a 65-yard touchdown in first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)

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WEEK 13 OUTLOOK

Bye weeks: They’re over. Finally.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Packers at Lions: Even Matt Flynn should be able to take advantage of the Lions’ pass defense.

GAME OF THE MEEK

Jaguars at Browns: Josh Gordon and Maurice Jones-Drew are hot. Everyone else is cold.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

QB Cam Newton, Panthers: The Buccaneers have allowed multiple touchdown passes in seven consecutive games. They also have allowed three rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks.

RB Matt Forte, Bears: In the last five games, the Vikings have allowed an average of 110.6 rushing yards to running backs, plus five touchdowns.

WR Kendall Wright, Titans: He scored his first touchdown Sunday since Week 2. Expect another against the Colts, who have allowed nine to wide receivers in the last five games.

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

QB Andrew Luck, Colts: He has become erratic of late. Plus, the Titans have given up only two touchdown passes in the last seven games and haven’t allowed 300 yards to a quarterback all season.

RB Le’Veon Bell, Steelers: He’s averaging only 3.2 yards per carry, and the Ravens have allowed one touchdown run all season.

WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles: Lower your expectations because of his matchup with Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.

WEEK 12 PICKS

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 217 yards, 2 TDs

RB Andre Brown: 127 rushing yards

WR Vincent Jackson: 61 yards

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

QB Robert Griffin III: 127 yards, INT

RB Ray Rice: 30 rushing yards

WR Terrance Williams: 10 yards

Updated: November 26, 2013 8:45PM



All week before the Bears-Rams game Sunday, I heard nothing but praise for Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin, mostly because of his speed. And, yes, he’s very, very fast, which he showed on his
65-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

But he’s also very, very underused.

There’s no denying his 46 standard-scoring points in the last two games. Before his 15 on Sunday, he had 31 in Week 10, thanks to touchdown catches of 57 and 81 yards. But of the Rams’ 112 offensive snaps in those games, Austin was on the field for 45. That’s 40 percent.

I understand he’s a big play waiting to happen. But if you have to wait for him to get on the field, you shouldn’t be starting him in a standard 10-team league. At best, he’s a No. 3 wideout in a deeper league.

Plus, the Rams’ schedule doesn’t bode well for him. Their next three games are against the 49ers, Cardinals and Saints, all of whom rank among the top eight in fewest points allowed to wide receivers. Furthermore, playing Austin means you’re putting some trust in quarterback Kellen Clemens against those top-notch defenses, a risky proposition.

Austin is a flashy player, but he doesn’t get enough opportunities to merit your trust.

Box-score bits

Quarterback Carson Palmer is coming off back-to-back games with at least 20 points, but he might have peaked. On Sunday, the Cardinals face the Eagles, who have allowed four touchdown passes in the last five games after allowing 13 in the first six. Next are the Rams, Titans and Seahawks. The latter two rank among the top five in fewest points allowed to quarterbacks. Before Sunday, the Rams hadn’t allowed more than 14 points to a quarterback since Week 3.

◆ Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has proved worthy of a No. 2 spot. He totaled a season-high 144 yards with a touchdown (20 points) Sunday against the Texans. That’s three consecutive games with a score. The best part was his six yards per carry. He looked quick and tough. And you know he’ll be involved. Jones-Drew is averaging 18 touches per game and has caught 20 passes in the last four games.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com

Twitter: @JeffreyA22



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