Last year, Rueben Randle was one of the hottest breakout wideouts in fantasy football. We knew there would be targets to go around in New York, and someone besides Victor Cruz was going to have a standout season. Many fantasy owners took a chance on Randle in the 8th or 9th round. But that “someone” turned out to be prolific rookie Odell Beckham Jr. as Victor Cruz went down with a devastating patellar tendon tear.
At least Randle would receive some red zone production, right? Wrong. Coming out of nowhere, Larry Donnell doubled Randle’s touchdown numbers- scoring all of them inside the 20-yard line. Even 5’11”, 198 lb. Beckham scored eight red zone touchdowns. So where exactly is the silver lining for the aforementioned 6’2”, 208 lb. Randle? Let’s take a look.
A Quick Note on Cruz vs. Randle Circa 2015
It’s a given that Odell Beckham is the go-to guy in the Giants’ offense. But who’s going to be number two? I’m not exactly ready to hand the job to Victor Cruz just yet. Victor Cruz suffered arguably the worst injury a skill position player can sustain- a patellar tendon rupture. It isn’t as common as a ligament (ACL) injury, so there isn’t too much data on long-term statistical effects.
One qualitative nugget though: it did derail the career of once-promising Cowboys RB Ryan Williams, who recently revealed he isn’t the same even after nearly four years. Let’s not go ahead and assume the Victor Cruz that returns in 2015 is going to be the same 2014 Victor Cruz (who was already statistically declining). NJ.com is already going on record saying they believe Randle, not Cruz, will be the number two receiver.
Even if Cruz does beat him out, there will be opportunity for Randle. Ben McAdoo brought the Packers’ offense to New York in 2014 (with resounding success). If Randle’s opportunity floor is going to be the old “James Jones” role, is that not a resounding steal in the 13th round of drafts?
2014: Not As Bad As You Think
Yes, it was buoyed by some late-season production but let’s take a look at Randle compared to some other wide receivers and compare their 2014 stats and 2015 ADPs according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com:
|Player||2015 ADP||2014 Targets||2014 Rec||2014 Rec Yds||2014 TDs|
|Eric Decker||10.11 (WR48)||114||74||962||5|
|Vincent Jackson||6.10 (WR30)||140||70||1,002||2|
|Mike Evans||3.02 (WR11)||123||68||1,051||12|
|Pierre Garcon||10.05 (WR46)||105||68||752||3|
|Mike Wallace||7.08 (WR33)||115||67||862||10|
|Sammy Watkins||4.12 (WR21)||128||65||982||6|
|Larry Fitzgerald||8.10 (WR38)||103||63||784||2|
|Rueben Randle||13.08 (WR61)||127||71||938||3|
Not as bad when you look at the numbers, right? According to Apex’s 2014 ADP, Randle was being drafted as WR39 and finished as WR32- that is also known as value. I’m not arguing that Randle is necessarily better than any of these guys, simply that he is comparable. If he scored a couple more times in 2014, maybe we’d be talking about him as a still-ascending player.
Take another look at the names up there. Besides Mike Evans (who is likely in for a jump in targets), show me another player above who’s situation and target potential drastically improved? Is it so far-fetched that given similar targets (which is very doable), Randle could beat out half the guys on the list? Just look at the ADP: you are investing so much less 2015 draft capital on him than on anyone else. It’s basically stealing, which brings me to my last point….
The WRs Going Around Randle’s ADP
I’ll use the RotoViz WR Similarity Scores app to show you how much higher of a ceiling and floor Randle has than other wideouts going around him.
Donte Moncrief, 2015 ADP: 12.10 (WR56)
Moncrief’s outlook is very negatively affected by the drafting of Phillip Dorsett and the acquisition of Andre Johnson. His ADP reflects that.
Cordarrelle Patterson, 2015 ADP: 13.03 (WR57)
As predicted, Patterson was a major flop in 2014. With the acquisition of Mike Wallace and the emergence of Charles Johnson, he is a fantasy afterthought this year.
Josh Huff, 2015 ADP: 13.05 (WR59)
Huff is an interesting case because his targets are bound to increase with the departure of Jeremy Maclin, but still has a very low floor.
Dorial Green-Beckham, 2015 ADP: 13.03 (WR58)
*Because he is a rookie, no similarity score is available
A raw rookie wideout as the number 3/4 option on the Titans with a rookie QB? Pass.
Marvin Jones, 2015 ADP: 13.06 (WR60)
*No similarity score due to missing all of 2014
Another interesting flier, but is going to have to compete with Sanu and Eifert for scraps behind AJ Green and Gio Bernard on a run-first offense. Good red-zone guy, but low floor.
Rueben Randle, 2015 ADP: 13.08 (WR61)
As we can see, Randle’s floor and ceiling blow all of his comparable ADP mates out of the water. His median PPR scores are higher than anyone else’s high PPR scores, and his situational analysis allows for the highest ceiling as well.
Although Rueben Randle didn’t produce like the WR2 owners wanted in 2014, he still didn’t do terribly. His statistics have drastically improved each year he’s been in the league, and if he had a few more touchdowns we could be talking about him in the same breath as Sammy Watkins. He is unbelievably cheap, has opportunity, and sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the guys he is being drafted around- qualitatively and quantitatively.
Go ahead and “reach” for him in round 11 or 12- that is still excellent value because like 2014, he is going to outperform his ADP once again.