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Fantasy camp notebook: Austin ready to explode

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  • By John Juhasz NFL.com
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So, this past weekend was a pretty big one for me. I had a fantasy draft on Friday night, then graduated from business school on Saturday morning. The most memorable moment? Not when I got my degree, but when I made a fantasy trade on my mobile phone while standing in line waiting to get it.

Moving onward.

Rest your wings


The Falcons have decided to keep WR Julio Jones and OLB Sean Weatherspoon out of Atlanta's preseason opener this Thursday against the Bengals. Jones is nursing a sore hammy, and the team is just taking precautionary steps -- it's a story you've probaby heard 100 times so far this preseason. No need for any concern here.

Weatherspoon's injury, however, is keeping him out indefinitely since it's quite a bit more gruesome. He suffered an "open dislocation" on a finger on his left hand, and if that isn't at the bottom of the list of "Things I hope to experience some day" list, it's got to be pretty close. Weatherspoon has continued to make a bigger impact for the Falcons in each of his three years there. His 2012 season was cut short by three games, but he still recorded 95 total tackles, three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. He has the ability to emerge into an elite IDP option, although I'm a little concerned about his hand injury. Ever try tackling someone or something without having a strong grip in both hands?

Here, catch!


Mike Mayock recently gushed about the playmaking ability of rookie WR Tavon Austin. Austin said his heart is at running back, but it's sinking in that he's going to earn his keep as a slot receiver. However, Austin is anything but a traditional workhorse running back. A good number of his runs between the tackles during his time at West Virginia were the result of audibles. Austin did most of his damage on sweeps and reverses, and a big reason it worked so well was that Geno Smith's mobility gave WVU two very mobile players who could gain large chunks of yardage at a time.

Well, no one is confusing Sam Bradford with Geno Smith when it comes to mobility, so the Rams couldn't emulate WVU's playbook even if they wanted to. Howewver, comparing Austin to Percy Harvin is valid in the sense that both players use their speed to simply make things happen in open space. Of the 13 games Austin played at West Virginia last year, he had receptions of 38 yards or more in nine games. So with a logjam at running back in St. Louis, wouldn't it make sense for Bradford to dump the ball off to Austin fairly often and just tell him to go do his thing? Austin is going to be a valuable fantasy asset in just about any league format you can imagine -- PPR, standard scoring, yardage-oriented -- you name it.

Quick hits


» If bad things really do happen in threes, then Packers fans can at least take some solace in that they reached their limit. It was certainly a painful weekend in Green Bay -- by now, you've heard about starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga tearing his ACL, which will keep him out for the year. On Monday, we learned Packers wideout Jordy Nelson will miss the rest of preseason after having a procedure done on his knee while Randall Cobb hurt his bicep in practice, and the extent of that injury is still unknown. Head coach Mike McCarthy is hopeful Nelson can return in time for Week 1. Much to the dismay of Andy Dufresne from "Shawshank Redemption" though, hope is not always a good thing. We'll know more as the season approaches, but now the possibility that Nelson might miss regular season time seems very real. These injury bugs are like a pack of disgusting locusts who go from camp to camp and wreak havoc before moving on to their next victim.

» Jets QB Mark Sanchez will be starting New York's preseason opener against the Lions. When all is said and done, It's inevitable that both Sanchez and Geno Smith will see action at some point this season. Pass on both of them in your leagues, though. Regardless of who is starting, this Jets offense is going to struggle to score.


John Juhasz is a fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnJuhasz
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