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Miles Austin 2013 Projection

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At NBC, I projected Miles Austin for 2013:

If we can properly predict Austin’s targets, it’s fairly easy to project his bulk stats. He had 118 targets in 2012—a number I think will remain steady as defenses focus more and more on stopping Dez Bryant. Further, those targets should be of a higher quality than ever before—Austin figures to see a whole lot of man coverage—so a jump in catch rate from 57.4 percent to 61.9 percent isn’t out of the question. If that happens, Austin will have 73 catches in 2013—his highest total since 2009.

Austin has averaged 14.4 yards per reception over the past three seasons. Working more and more on underneath routes, Austin’s average might drop just a little because Bryant is the primary deep threat. Plus, Austin is 29 years old—three years past the typical peak season for receivers. If Austin’s YPR drops to 14.0, he’d be good for 1,022 yards.

One of Austin’s most underrated traits is finding the end zone; he’s converted 12.3 percent of his catches into touchdowns over his career. That number will decline in 2013 because the Cowboys acquired a bunch of red zone threats. Plus, they should be able to run the ball better in short-yardage situations. At an 11.0 percent touchdown rate, Austin would score eight times.

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