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Fantasy Outlook: Eagles Sign Rueben Randle

Mar 25, 2016

Rueben Randle

What can fantasy owners expect from Rueben Randle in Philadelphia?

With free agency finally getting round to Rueben Randle, I look at his possible fantasy appeal in his new home of Philadelphia.

The Eagles moved to bolster their inexperienced wide receiver corps this week by signing former New York Giants receiver Rueben Randle. Randle had enjoyed very little interest since the beginning of free agency, and aside from the Eagles the only potential suitors were the Los Angeles Rams. Instead of travelling to the West Coast, Randle opted to remain in the NFC East, and joined the team he scored a touchdown against in what became his last game for Big Blue in January.

Randle is undeniably talented, and a clear upgrade over the now departed Riley Cooper and Miles Austin for the Eagles. But he brings with him a not undeserved reputation for laziness and immaturity. Back in December, he was called out by then Giants coach Tom Coughlin for his whining about a perceived “lack of opportunities.” He is the owner of a 57% catch rate through the first four seasons of his NFL career, and was the intended receiver on a number of Eli Manning pass attempts that resulted in interceptions due to a lazy or unfinished route. He has enjoyed some success as a red zone receiver, with 10 of his 20 career scores coming within the opposition twenty, but in 64 career games he has eclipsed 100 receiving yards just five times, and only once in 2015.

He is likely to offer some veteran depth behind Jordan Matthews, who is set to be given the chance to leave the slot and play outside this season. With Nelson Agholor pencilled in as the starter on the other side, it is highly unlikely Randle will see enough time to offer much as a fantasy option. Here are the percentage of snaps played by Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers in the last two seasons, under offensive coordinator (and now Eagles head coach) Doug Pederson.

2014 Dwayne Bowe 78.45%
2014 Donnie Avery 23.04%
2014 Albert Wilson 21.45%
2014 Junior Hemingway 25.32%
2014 A.J. Jenkins 24.53%
2014 Frankie Hammond 24.43%
2015 Jeremy Maclin 82.63%
2015 Albert Wilson 65.37%
2015 Jason Avant 34.23%
2015 Chris Conley 36.93%

Assuming Pederson brings the same mentality to the Eagles, the opportunity for a third receiver to make much of an impact is likely to be limited. The Eagles will run the ball and run it a lot, and will likely feature two tight ends, and even a fullback, predominantly under Pederson, and are unlikely to spread the offense out as much as Randle will be used to coming from Ben McAdoo’s system, or even Chip Kelly’s last season.

As already indicated, Matthews is likely to be the one wideout who can be comfortably accommodated within the offense, and his early career numbers stack up favorably against Randle. He has reeled in over 66% of his targets through two seasons (admittedly he has played most of his snaps from inside as the slot receiver), and 11 of his 16 career scores have been red zone chances. He will be the Eagles’ wide receiver to own this season, with Randle’s main chance of fantasy relevancy only coming if Matthews misses time.

From an Eagles’ perspective, this is the second Giants’ receiver to join the Birds as a free agent in the last five years. The last one didn’t work out, due to both poor play and a “perceived” lack of commitment to his team at key moments. As long as Randle puts a shift in, he’ll be tolerated by Eagles fans. But if your goal is to “just be better than Steve Smith,” you’re not exactly shooting for the moon.

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Neil Dutton is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Neil, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @ndutton13.

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