After hitting the scene in his sophomore campaign in 2012, many fantasy owners may be looking to target tight end Kyle Rudolph in their drafts this summer. Sure, he posted solid numbers, catching 53 balls for 493 yards and nine touchdowns.
However, I for one, am not quite sold.
His nine touchdowns were very impressive and enticing for fantasy owners, but if that doesn’t happen again, where is his value? I mean, nine of his 53 catches were scores. That number of catches ranked 15th among the tight end position. Between the 20′s, he isn’t much of an option in the passing game. His aDOT (Average Depth of Target) last season was a mere 6.1, which ranked sxith-lowest of his position. However, the five games that ranked below him aren’t even starting tight ends. Also, his average yards-at-the-catch (3.7)ranked 32nd among qualified tight ends in the league. Rudolph reminds me of a more talented Scott Chandler. Unless he scores a touchdown, he will be completely irrelevant when it comes to fantasy football. And I know the tight end position as a whole fluctuates quite a bit, but Rudolph has been as inconsistent as they come. Let’s look at his game-by-game stat log for the 2012 season:
In my eyes, outside of the touchdown potential, there is hardly any upside here. He never eclipsed 67 receiving yards in a single game, and with his three contests in which he scored zero fantasy points, fantasy owners could have potentially lost their matchups because of his absence on the scoresheet. Believe me, I know how talented this guy is. Standing at a whopping 6’6″, 258 lbs, Rudolph makes for one of the better red zone tight ends in football. He tied for fourth among tight ends with 16 red zone targets last season, and when the Vikings get down there, you can expect him to be looked for. Of course, that would require the Vikings’ offense to actually move up and down the field, something I am not entirely sure they can do on a consistent basis. I mean, as inhuman as Adrian Peterson, not even he can always move that offense all the way. Why do you think rookie kicker Blair Walsh broke out last season? He got a boatload of opportunity, making a league-high 35 field goals on 38 attempts, which tied for third-most. Needless to say, outside of AP, I’m not a firm believer in this offense.
Right now, Rudolph is being selected as fantasy’s number eight tight end, compliments of Fantasy Football Calculator. Behind him are guys with just as much upside, in my opinion, such as Jared Cook, Owen Daniels and Martellus Bennett. It’s not that I hate Rudolph, I just feel like he isn’t as safe of an option as some of the other guys being drafted after him. Clearly, he was a touchdown or bust candidate last season and that’s juts not something I’m interested in investing in at the tight end position.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.