A lot of times, winning your fantasy league comes down to finding late-round flier guys who come through when you need them the most. It’s pretty easy to open some rag mag off the stands, flip to the page where it says Sleepers and find a list of guys you’re going to have to reach for a few rounds early just to have a snowball’s chance of getting one.
Here is another one of my darling dark horse sleepers: Reuben Randle.
The New York Giants were so impressed with Randle that they drafted him 63rd overall in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He’s 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. He ran a 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day.
What matters most to you as a fantasy GM is that he has ascended to third on the Giants’ depth chart while running in the same route patterns as Hakeem Nicks. I hate to begrudge Nicks, but the guy has so far proven to be so fragile that he could get a concussion from a nasty sunburn. This means there is a very real chance that Randle will see time as a starter when, not if Nicks goes down.
So far, Nicks has looked clumsy, rusty and slow in the preseason, catching only three balls for 74 yards. Last year, Randle caught 19 balls for 298 yards and three touchdowns — one of which was a 56-yard bomb, so he’s got the wheels to take the top off a defense.
Consider his 15.7 yards per catch average, and you’re looking at guy who can get deeper faster than Nicks and look better doing it. Right now, Eli Manning is struggling to find chemistry with Nicks. Meanwhile, Randle has been getting extra playing time in place of the injured Victor Cruz and is earning more and more of Manning’s trust.
Even in the short time that Nicks is sure to remain healthy, Randle will still be occupying the slot, sucking up passes intended for the so far underwhelming Brandon Myers.
The reality is, if you don’t grab Reuben Randle in your fantasy draft with at least a late-round flier pick, you’re going to be kicking yourself when someone beats you to him on the waiver wire.