Dark Horse Fantasy Football Sleeper for Week 4: Kyle Rudolph

By Greg Sulik
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was one of the breakout stars of fantasy last season, catching 13 touchdowns. This season however, Rudolph has struggled to find that same level of production (though in his defense, so has everyone on the 0-3 Vikings). Week 4’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers could bode well for Rudolph, however, and this could be the week he finally breaks out.

The Steelers are allowing an average of 61 yards a game to opposing tight ends, and if Rudolph were to reach that figure it would nearly double his yardage total from the first three weeks combined. Rudolph remains one of the most targeted receivers on the Vikings, so he and quarterback Christian Ponder could still find the chemistry they had last season.

Rudolph’s value has always been heavily touchdown based, and nothing has changed in that regard. Unfortunately, with the inaccurate Ponder throwing him the ball and Adrian Peterson getting the majority of the red zone touches, Rudolph has only managed to find the endzone once this season.

However, he still remains by far the Vikings’ best red zone receiving threat, and he will certainly find the endzone several more times this season. The Steelers rank just 21st in the NFL in scoring defense, so there are certainly points to be had for the Vikings. The Vikings should have several opportunities close to the goal line, and there is a good chance Rudolph will convert one of them.

Obviously, Rudolph is not a star at tight end, but he is better than a lot of options available. He is lower risk than some of the other borderline starters at the position, and with Greg Olsen and Jermichael Finley off this week there are certainly owners looking for a replacement.

60 yards and a touchdown would be a great week for Rudolph and his owners, and those statistics seem like a very real possibility. As always, it is risky to bank on a player finding the endzone, but things seem to be set up well for Rudolph to be a viable starter at tight end this week.

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