Dose: Miles Austin Ready to GoWednesday, November 20, 2013
Miles Austin hasn’t played in a game since Week 7 and hasn’t caught a pass since Week 3. He’s no stranger to hamstring injuries. They’ve done a fine job of torpedoing two of his past three seasons. Austin missed six games in 2011 with the soft tissue injury, and he’s basically missed the past seven games after yanking the hammy against the Rams in September.
On Tuesday, owner/GM Jerry Jones said Austin is ready to return to the lineup as the Cowboys are coming out of their bye. Austin practiced with the team last Tuesday and should be close to 100 percent after having eight days to rest up. He isn’t quite the burner he once was, but Austin runs good routes and can play on the outside and in the slot.
Austin, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and the gang have one of the easiest fantasy playoffs schedules of any receiver group in the league. The Weeks 13-16 schedule shapes up like this: vs. Oakland, at Chicago, vs. Green Bay, and at Washington. Some fantasy leagues play through Week 17. The Cowboys get the Eagles at home in the finale. There are a few potential shootouts in that group. Austin was dropped in a ton of leagues during his hiatus, but he needs to be owned in 12-team leagues as a potential WR3 down the stretch. It’s unclear if he or Williams will start opposite Bryant. Williams has struggled of late. Whoever gets the nod is going to see plenty of single coverage. Bryan Broaddus of the Cowboys’ official website believes Austin will be the guy. Even if Austin doesn’t supplant Williams, he’ll still be a factor in three-wide sets ahead of Cole Beasley.
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News Nugget #2
Mike Wallace has just 17 catches for 177 scoreless yards over his past four games. He hasn’t scored since Week 2 against the Colts, and that’s been Wallace’s only end-zone trip of the season. “60 Minutes” is averaging a paltry 4.4 catches for 53.4 yards per game in the first year of a five-year, $60 million contract. All of the blame can’t be placed on Wallace. He’s been getting loose deep.
Speaking Monday, OC Mike Sherman – one of the least creative offensive minds in the game right now – said “we have to get” Wallace and Ryan Tannehill on the same page in the deep passing game. The two haven’t been on the same page since Wallace signed, let alone reading the same book. Last Sunday, Wallace torched Chargers CB Shareece Wright down the sideline only to be badly underthrown by Tannehill. The previous week, Wallace burned Darrelle Revis by a good five yards on Monday Night Football. Tannehill aimed for his speedster but threw the ball out of bounds. This has been going on all season long.
Wallace clearly isn’t happy. On Tuesday, he acknowledged his first season in Miami could be going much better. "Sheesh, I got one (score)," he said. Sherman praised Wallace’s Week 11 effort, though Wallace seems none too pleased. "He raved about the game I had?" Wallace asked rhetorically. "I had 39 yards." Wallace made it clear he thinks the coaches need to do a better job of getting him more involved. We agree. But with Sherman’s vanilla play calling, Tannehill’s inability to hit Wallace deep, and the offensive line woes, we have a hard time seeing much improvement. Wallace is merely a WR3.
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News Nugget #3
Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone 16 days ago. This past Sunday, he threw pain-free ahead of the Packers’ Week 11 tilt against the Giants. Rodgers can also run without issue. He has yet to attempt to take a snap from under center since suffering the injury. While that’s all fine and dandy, Rodgers isn’t even close to being able to take a hit. He’d still be at an extreme risk of further injury.
"I think the biggest issue is not the pain at this point," Rodgers said. "It is the risk of taking a shot like that and what it would do if [the collarbone] displaced. Obviously, I'd be out for the season and worried about any type of complications going forward."
Rodgers isn’t going to play this week against the Vikings. He also didn’t sound overly optimistic about his chances of suiting up for Week 13 against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. "For that to happen, I would have to be on the field two days before the game," Rodgers said. “If that's the case, then there's a chance. If not, then I will be spectating." Rodgers still needs to be owned in all formats as an injured QB2, but we may not see him back on the field until Week 14. Scott Tolzien will continue to start. He’s a QB2.
Quarterback/Running Back Slants
Sam Bradford underwent surgery on his torn left ACL Tuesday. The surgery was delayed two weeks for unspecified reasons. … Michael Vick (hamstring) is expected to be 100 percent healthy coming out of the Week 12 bye. Nick Foles will remain the starter. … Marcus Lattimore (knee, NFI) was cleared to resume practicing. Don’t expect to see him this season. … Darren Sproles (ankle, knee) was downgraded to out for Tuesday’s practice. He was limited Monday. Keep a close eye on Sproles ahead of Thursday night’s game. … Jacquizz Rodgers (ankle) remained limited on Tuesday. … Trent Richardson believes he’s been playing good football. … Coach Dennis Allen reiterated Rashad Jennings will remain a big part of the offense when Darren McFadden (hamstring) returns.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants
Nate Burleson (arm) said there’s a chance he’ll play this week. … The Colts waived Griff Whalen. That could mean more opportunities for LaVon Brazill and Da’Rick Rogers. … The Titans failed to activate Kevin Walter (back) from the PUP list, ending his season. … Emmanuel Sanders’ foot injury isn’t believed to be serious, and he’s expected to play this week. … Stevie Johnson (groin) said he’ll definitely play in Week 13, following the Week 12 bye. … David Nelson is expected to replace Stephen Hill in the starting lineup. The Jets have decided to bench Hill. … Dez Bryant says the Cowboys have been working on double-team beaters the past week or so in an effort to get him the ball. … ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports Wes Welker (concussion) is expected to be okay. Consider him 50-50 for Week 12. Check back later this week. … Percy Harvin’s snap count will be lifted when the Seahawks come out of the Week 12 bye. … Coach Mike McCoy said Keenan Allen (knee) will play this week. … Jimmy Graham (elbow, foot) remained limited in Tuesday’s practice. … Tony Gonzalez (toe) remained sidelined at Tuesday’s practice. We tentatively expect him to play Thursday night.