Rueben Randle had an up-and-down season in 2013, with a 101-yard effort in Week 1, four touchdowns over a three-week span from Week 5-Week 7 and four games where had one or zero catches. But the New York Giants look ready to give him a bigger role in his third NFL season, with Hakeem Nicks being allowed to leave via free agency and a hamstring injury continuing to hamper rookie Odell Beckham.
Randle has nine touchdowns on 60 receptions in his career, and he has the size (6’2″, 208 lbs.) to become a more prominent red zone target than he has been (12 red zone targets over his first two seasons). Randle looks likely to be the clear No. 2 option for Eli Manning, behind Victor Cruz, which puts him in line for a lot more targets (79 in 2013; 4.9 per game) and a more consistent role.
The change to a West Coast offense under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo looks like good news for Randle, who often struggled to get on the same page with Manning in Kevin Gilbride’s system. Randle should be able to use his physical tools more effectively in a more structured offense, and his catch rate (52 percent in 2013) could rise substantially as a result.
Randle currently carries an average draft position in the ninth round, and he’s the 40th wide receiver going off the board (via Fantasy Football Calculator.com). Fantasy owners seem to doubt Manning’s ability to rebound after a bad 2013 season, which hurts Randle’s ADP along with any lingering skepticism that he’ll be able to emerge this year.
Randle should not be drafted with the intention of using him as an every-week starter right out of the gate this season, but it’s safe to say most fantasy owners don’t regard him that highly. But I think he can easily set career highs across the board when it’s all said and done, and that gives him more upside than a lot of other options in the WR3 or WR4 range. I’m still hesitant to fully buy-in to Randle as a breakout candidate this year, but all things considered he is a solid value pick in drafts and auctions.