Rueben Randle has been on a slow steady build with the Giants, climbing from fantasy WR84 as a rookie to WR45, WR37, and last year peaking at WR29. Over this span he’s never been the team’s top target, instead running as wingman to Victor Cruz and then Odell Beckham Jr. His per-game averages since becoming a regular work out to roughly a 60-800-6 season, which last year would have landed him in the Randall Cobb/Marvin Jones/Golden Tate neighborhood—and last year he finished ahead of all three of them in fantasy scoring.
However it wasn’t enough to keep the 2012 second rounder in New York. Whether it was a lack of productivity with his 217 targets over the past two seasons or, as the soft-spoken Randle told CSN Philly, his laid-back personality and quiet demeanor led the Giants to believe he “wasn’t fully invested” and was “out of it”… whatever the case, the Giants didn’t make an offer to bring Randle back and he landed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Eagles.
In Philly, Randle will battle Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor for targets. Working in Randle’s favor is the fact that while both Matthews (second round, 2014) and Agholor (first round, 2015) are high draft picks, both were Chip Kelly picks and Kelly is now coaching in San Francisco. Additionally, while the Eagles gave Matthews a look-see on the outside during OTAs, new coach Doug Pederson recently admitted that his best position is in the slot.
Still, Randle is shaping up to be at best the Eagles’ third receiver—and that’s assuming he beats out Josh Huff and Chris Givens for the job. In New York Randle may have been able to provide fantasy productivity as a third wheel because the Giants have thrown the ball more than 600 times each of the past two seasons, with wide receivers accounting for 60 percent of the passing game’s receptions. That is unlikely to be the case under Pederson, who studied under Andy Reid in Kansas City. The Chiefs threw the ball fewer than 500 times each of the past two seasons and averaged more than eight fewer passes per game less than the Giants in that time frame. The offense Pederson is familiar with also targeted tight ends and running backs with more frequency, as wide receivers accounted for less than half of the Chiefs’ receptions over the past two seasons.
As a third receiver in an offense that throws significantly less and targets backs and tight ends more, Randle will be hard-pressed to replicate the numbers that punched his ticket out of New York. Last year’s numbers look to be a best-case ceiling more than something Randle can build on, and there will be plenty of other receivers around Randle’s ADP with a more direct path to fantasy upside.