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Is Tavon Austin Wes Welker 2.0?

Matthew J. Stein March 13, 2013 5:36PM EST

Wes Welker has been a unique talent in the NFL since he was brought in by the New England Patriots.  He’s recorded at least 100 receptions in five of the last six seasons and gained over 1,100 receiving yards in all five of those seasons.

Even though Welker doesn’t possess elite size or strength, he’s still an extremely effective receiver.  He’s consistently a top-performing player in Fantasy Football, especially in PPR leagues.

With Welker’s future unknown in New England, the NFL could be ready for Welker 2.0. Enter West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, one of the premiere playmakers in the 2013 NFL draft.

Today we’ll break down just how special a talent Austin is, and how he can help you win your Fantasy Football league in year one.

 

Strengths

The first word that comes to mind with thinking about Austin is versatility.  He’s not just going to make an impact as a wide receiver; he’ll make plays out of the backfield and on punt and kick returns.  Defenses aren’t going to be able to hone in on one aspect of Austin’s game because he’ll just figure out how to beat them a different way.

Once Austin has the ball in his hands, he’s going to be one of the hardest players to stop.  Even though he only stands 5’8” and 174 pounds, he’s got elite speed and quickness in the open field.  He ran a blazing 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and had a short shuttle time of 4.01.  Both of those numbers prove that Austin will consistently win in the open field against defenders.

If defenses allow Austin to get into space, the probability of him making a huge play is high.  He’s got sure hands and rarely drops passes that he gets a hand on.

One aspect of Austin that will surprise people is his toughness.  Rarely does he shy away from contact and he is willing to do whatever it takes to pick up the extra yards.  He’s always aggressive with the ball in his hands and hardly ever finds himself losing yards on a play.

All in all, Austin is going to be a special weapon in the right type of offense.  His versatility and open-field skills will make him one of the most productive and enjoyable rookies to watch during the 2013 season.

 

Weaknesses

Even though Austin is an extremely versatile player, as a wide receiver he will be limited to use as a slot receiver.  He simply doesn’t have the size or ability to break press coverage to play on the outside.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Austin won’t be your traditional NFL receiver like Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green.

Austin’s overall size is also going to cause some concerns for teams.  At only 5’8”, Austin doesn’t have the frame to add much weight to his 174-pound body.  The big question will be whether or not Austin can handle the physicality of the NFL.

What could make or break Austin’s career is the first huge hit he receives in the middle of the field.  That’s where teams are going to want him to get the ball, but his ability to take a massive hit from Dashon Goldson or Kam Chancellor is a huge question mark right now.

 

2013 Fantasy Football Outlook

What makes Austin such a dynamic option for Fantasy Football is the fact that teams are going to want to get him the ball as often as possible.  That’ll make him an elite option in PPR leagues as a rookie.

However, even in standard-scoring leagues, Austin’s versatility and big-play potential make him a fantastic option.  In the right offensive system, it isn’t crazy to think that Austin could lead all rookie receivers in receptions and receiving yards.

If Austin can find the end zone a handful of times as a rookie, he could even become one of the best Fantasy Football receivers in the league.  A truly special and unique talent like Austin needs to be a priority for your Fantasy Football roster in 2013 and beyond.

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