Player Points - Miles Austin
By Chase Stuart
May 4th, 2010

Miles Austin had one of the all-time great breakout seasons in 2009. After three seasons in the league, Austin had just 18 receptions, 354 receiving yards and three touchdowns. But last year, Austin caught 81 passes for 1320 yards and 11 scores, and ranked as the #3 fantasy wide receiver.

Austin had a VBD score of 111 last season. Not many WRs have reached such heights in their first season above the baseline. Since 1978, only 27 WRs have had a VBD score of 90 or more in their first season as a fantasy starter (top 36).

Player
Team
Year
Age
Rec
Ryd
Rtd
FP
VBD
Isaac Bruce
STL
1995
23
119
1781
13
317.3
187.6
Mark Clayton
MIA
1984
23
73
1389
18
284.9
170.2
Robert Brooks
GNB
1995
25
102
1497
13
280.8
151.1
Mike Quick
PHI
1983
24
69
1409
13
253.4
149.6
Sterling Sharpe
GNB
1989
24
90
1423
12
261.8
139.5
Terance Mathis
ATL
1994
27
111
1342
11
255.7
132.6
Steve Watson
DEN
1981
24
60
1244
13
233.0
131.5
Randy Moss
MIN
1998
21
69
1313
17
268.2
127.2
Michael Irvin
DAL
1991
25
93
1523
8
246.8
125.6
John Jefferson
SDG
1978
22
56
1001
13
206.8
114.6
Calvin Johnson
DET
2008
23
78
1331
12
244.0
114.5
Miles Austin
DAL
2009
25
81
1320
11
238.3
111.4
Anquan Boldin
ARI
2003
23
101
1377
8
238.2
110.3
Eric Metcalf
ATL
1995
27
104
1189
8
238.2
108.5
Ricky Sanders
WAS
1988
26
73
1148
12
224.7
106.6
Anthony Miller
SDG
1989
24
75
1252
10
224.8
102.5
Drew Bennett
TEN
2004
26
80
1247
11
238.2
101.0
Joe Horn
NOR
2000
28
94
1340
8
230.0
99.2
Kevin House
TAM
1981
24
56
1176
9
200.5
99.0
Al Toon
NYJ
1986
23
85
1176
8
207.8
97.4
Rod Smith
DEN
1997
27
70
1180
12
226.6
97.1
Marcus Robinson
CHI
1999
24
84
1400
9
236.0
95.7
Brandon Marshall
DEN
2007
23
102
1325
7
231.2
95.1
Sidney Rice
MIN
2009
23
84
1312
8
221.2
94.3
Tim Smith
HOU
1983
26
83
1176
6
196.7
92.9
Carl Pickens
CIN
1994
24
71
1127
11
214.2
91.1
Steve Smith
NYG
2009
24
107
1220
7
217.5
90.6

Austin was a particular surprise because he went undrafted. Ten of the above players were first round picks, and two-thirds of them were drafted in the first three rounds. Despite what you might think, most of the other late-round or undrafted receivers ended up having pretty solid careers.

Among the other eight late round or undrafted players, only two were one-year wonders: Marcus Robinson and Drew Bennett. Two -- Rod Smith and Mark Clayton -- went on to have very long, successful careers. Joe Horn had a slightly shorter peak but was a valuable fantasy player for a bunch of seasons. Brandon Marshall looks to be well on his way to having a great career. Even the other two, Terance Mathis and Steve Watson, gained over 200 points of VBD over the rest of their careers.

I'm not sure whether Miles Austin will become the next Rod Smith or the next Marcus Robinson. But as long as he's got Tony Romo throwing him passes, I think Austin will be just fine.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.