Fantasy Football Start Or Sit Week 1: Rueben Randle


Fantasy football season is officially upon us, with the NFL opening up action Thursday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to take on the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. That will be just one of many games in Week 1 that have tantalizing fantasy matchups, with the New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football being another.

The matchup between the Giants and Cowboys should be a friendly one for fantasy football owners, as the two teams both have prolific offenses that should lead to plenty of fantasy points. Also, both have question marks on defense, which means there should be little resistance for the offenses to perform.

Also on Empire Writes Back: Who was the best Giant of 2014?

For the Giants, this will probably be a common theme throughout the season; their offense will have to score and score often to make up for a lackluster defense. That makes the Giants one of the most intriguing teams from a fantasy perspective this season as they should put up stats. But, should they be starting every week for your fantasy football team?

Odell Beckham Jr. will find himself in fantasy lineups week in and week out no matter the matchup, but the game cannot be said for his teammates. Eli Manning should finish around the top-10, but is not always a recommended option for your roster. The same goes for the running back corps, as no one knows how playing time will be split between Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Shane Vereen. The question marks in the backfield could cause the Giants to throw the ball a lot.

More from Fantasy Football

If that is the case, Beckham Jr. will continue putting up stats. But Manning can’t throw the ball to him every time he drops back. That brings his running mate, Rueben Randle, into the picture and for at least week one, it is a rosy one.

Randle, while sometimes lacking communication too often being on a different page from Manning, is actually a very consistent performer. He is one of the more steady receivers in the NFL, as he had one of the best catch rates in the NFL last season, dropping only four passes. While Beckham Jr. was all over the headlines, and rightfully so, Randle was lost in the shuffle last season.

He was never on the back page like his teammate, but he put together a very solid season for the Giants. Without Victor Cruz, Randle saw an increased role in the offense and he took advantage. He put up career high numbers in receptions and yards, pulling in 71 passes for 938 yards. While he left something to be desired in the touchdown department with only three, he definitely took a step in the right direction for his career.

Last season, Randle was solid against the Cowboys, but nothing jumped off the page. In the two games against them, he caught nine passes for 110 yards and no touchdowns. In standard leagues, that equals an underwhelming 5.5 points per game, but when taking a look deeper into the stats that is not as poor as it seems.

More From Empire Writes Back: Eli Manning Fantasy Projection Week 1

In 2014, the Cowboys were one of the stingiest defenses against wide receivers in the fantasy football world. They allowed the sixth least points per game to opposing receivers, so it was no easy task scoring positively against them. His 5.5 points per game were actually pretty strong for second receivers, as only two players, Beckham and Alshon Jeffery, scored over 15 points in standard scoring against them.

Those numbers would normally mean to avoid Randle unless you really have to, but the 2015 outlook is much brighter against the Cowboys. Without Orlando Scandrick, who was lost to an ACL tear in training camp, the Cowboys are relying on lesser players in Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. They are nowhere near as productive as Scandrick, and should be easier to pick on for Randle and other receivers this season.

Also, Cruz looks to be very questionable heading into Week 1, meaning Randle could be in for a bigger workload. The Giants are hoping to get Randle more opportunities to score, which may happen, but against the Cowboys the yardage and receptions will at least be there.

The matchup and health of his teammates make for a positive outcome for Randle in Week 1. Rueben Randle should be started with confidence as a FLEX/WR3, with WR2 upside depending on how much of a shootout the Giants and Cowboys get in, and if the Giants get behind early; something that could happen early and often this season with how their defense looks.

Next: Osi Umenyiora's 5 most memorable moments

More from Empire Writes Back