What Does Miles Austin's Week 12 Injury Mean for Cowboys, Fantasy Owners?

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIINovember 22, 2012

Miles Austin left Dallas' Week 12 game without a catch.
Miles Austin left Dallas' Week 12 game without a catch.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin left his Thanksgiving matchup with the Washington Redskins due to a hip strain.

According to ESPNDallas.com’s Todd Archer, “Austin was hurt on the first play of the Cowboys’ second series” and Dwayne Harris took his position in Dallas’ base offense. Austin was eventually ruled out:

So Miles Austin is out for the remainder of the game with a hip injury. And a donut in one of my leagues...

— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) November 22, 2012

Austin had zero catches on two targets in Week 12.

If he is forced to miss time with his injury, Harris may be the target for fantasy owners wishing to invest in Dallas’ wide receiving corps. Prior to Dez Bryant’s three-game fantasy tear (23 catches, 377 yards and four touchdowns in his last three) this season, Austin was easily the most consistent receiver for the Cowboys—in fantasy and in reality.

In Austin’s absence, Bryant should be Dallas’ No. 1 receiver, hands down. Jason Witten will continue to see a high volume of targets, and Cole Beasley may also be heavily involved in the offense from the slot position.

While the Cowboys were playing catchup against the Redskins, Beasley was second on the team in targets (13). He caught seven passes for 68 yards. On a team-high 15 targets, Witten caught nine passes for 74 yards. Harris had four catches for 71 yards on seven targets.

For the third game in five weeks, Romo threw 50 or more times with 62 attempts on Thursday. Thanksgiving also marked the second time in five games that Romo threw 62 times.

According to Todd Archer, Dallas’ defense has suffered injuries to Bruce Carter, Orlando Scandrick and Jay Ratliff, forcing the Cowboys into more passing situations on offense.

The absence of DeMarco Murray does the same thing. Dallas has been—and without Murray, will continue to be—a passing-oriented offense with room for multiple aerial fantasy options. The team totaled 11 rushing attempts on Thursday.

Austin will have 10 days of rest before a matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, but if he’s unable to go, Beasley would be worth a look in PPR leagues, and Harris could be a No. 3 fantasy receiver in standard formats. 


Follow Jamal on Twitter