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Rueben Randle: Post Hype Sleeper Sensation

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While Odell Beckham ascended to the top of the depth chart for the New York Giants last year, Rueben Randle quietly displayed some of the early promise that had football fans raving about him.  Randle now has a chance to build on the momentum that he had at the end of last year.  The negative energy swirl around Rueben Randle has become an irrational storm.  Fantasy owners now have a chance to get him for a near free price as he has been drafted as WR65 for the whole offseason and WR63 since August 15 behind the likes of Percy Harvin, and almost 30 receivers later then his injured teammate, Victor Cruz.  Regardless of his past inefficiency, demonstrated by a -13.5 Production Premium (No. 78) on PlayerProfiler.com, sitting in the No. 2 receiver chair on a team with a top-12 quarterback alone justifies scooping up Randle immediately.

LSU Doppelgänger

In terms of size, athleticism, college metrics, and even college attended Brandon LaFell is the football doppelgänger for Rueben Randle.  While it took a change of scenery for LaFell to become a productive NFL receiver, he had more fantasy points on less receiving yards than Randle this past year.  The ability for him to produce touchdowns to help bolster his fantasy production sheds nice light on the remaining potential surrounding Randle’s value going forward.  Just like New England has Rob Gronkowski as their big target taking red zone opportunities (21.5 percent Red Zone Target Share) and producing touchdowns, New York has that with Larry Donnell (21.2-percent Red Zone Target Share).  Even though both tight ends command a high amount of their teams red zone opportunities and receiving touchdowns, the bigger receivers on their teams still have good opportunity to produce in these areas as LaFell had a 19.5-percent Red Zone Target Share and Randle had a 20.2-percent Red Zone Target Share.  The primary difference between LaFell and Randle was that LaFell took advantage to the tune of scoring seven touchdowns while Randle scored three touchdowns.

[BrandonLaFell]-Wide Receiver-New England Patriots

Brandon LaFell Advanced Metrics Profile

After showing minimal signs of an impending breakout in2013 and finishing as WR63 on a per game basis, Brandon LaFell finished as WR20 after being selected as the 78th WR in 2014.  Rueben Randle showed more potential early in his career than LaFell, finishing his third year as fantasy’s WR39.  Yet, Randle’s current ADP in MyFantasyLeague.com money leagues is No. 63, similar to LaFell’s 2014 cost.  Eli Manning’s No. 2 option will likely outperform his draft position in 2015.

Serendipitous Opportunity

While it is not wise to rely on injury and other’s misfortunes, Victor Cruz has a scary injury history that now has him out until at least week 4, and possibly longer.  Additionally, the Giants moved on from the other Rueben Randle lookalike, Corey Washington, this offseason showing that Randle has secured his role as the big receiver on the team.  Now it is up to Randle to show that he will fully excel in this role.

[RuebenRandle]-Wide Receiver-New York Giants

Rueben Randle Advanced Metrics Profile

While Rueben Randle only had a 91-percent snap share last year, this is attributed to the three game span where he was benched for each first quarter for being late to meetings.  Randle’s snap share should rise to at least 95-percent this year given his current position on the New York Giants depth chart.  In addition to a high snap share, Randle finished 2014 with 127 targets, 18 less than Kelvin Benjamin, and is in line to see a target uptick this year.  The Giants ran the 10th most pass plays last season, which means Randle will enjoy a significant target total.  A target smorgasbord will ensure that Randle eclipses his 938 yards on 71 catches last season.

Although Rueben Randle posted an abysmal negative Production Premium this past year, the previous year he posted a +13.7 (No. 30) Production Premium.  As his impressive College Dominator Rating suggests, he should move back toward the positive number and produce a better year in terms of efficiency.  This was also noticeable in his 1.44 Fantasy Points Per Target that was down 0.21 from the year before.  Finally, Randle faces the sixth most favorable schedule for wide receivers this year, and that on top of his College Dominator Rating should help lead to an improvement for him.  This improvement is coming from a receiver who produced at a near WR3 level last year, and is now being left for dead.

Conclusion

While Rueben Randle has not yet lived up to the promise that he showed while at LSU, his opportunity and cost provide an excellent potential return on investment at a low-risk price.  Last year he quietly produced a solid year, and this is falling on deaf ears everywhere as fantasy owners are buying his injured teammate, Victor Cruz, about five rounds earlier than Randle. In dynasty he can be bought for pennies on the dollar, and in redraft leagues he is available late in drafts or even on many waiver wires.  Randle will never exceed Odell Beckham‘s fantasy production for the Giants, but he only needs a top-30 fantasy season to completely blow away his average draft position.

BUY.