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2014 Fantasy Football Early Sleeper: TE Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, the tight end position is Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and then everyone else. However, with the emergence of Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron and Jordan Reed, fantasy owners don’t have to worry about drafting a bad tight end just because they have to fill that spot.

The tight end position is about to become even more crowded in 2014. Kyle Rudolph will be a tight end fantasy owners, who don’t have Graham or Gronk, will be going after. The Minnesota Vikings tight end is entering his fourth season with a lot of upside.

Rudolph had a career-year in 2012, hauling in 53 passes for 493 yards and nine touchdowns. He finished ninth in fantasy among tight ends. In 2013, Rudolph was on his way to eclipse his catches and yards totals. In seven games, he had 28 catches for 278 yards. During the Week 9 game against the Dallas Cowboys, Rudolph suffered an injury, which ended up being a broken foot and missed the rest of the season.

Fantasy owners shouldn’t worry about the injury as he will be ready for Week 1. There is one reason why fantasy experts are high on Rudolph — Norv Turner. As I mentioned in my article about Cordarrelle Patterson, Turner is a great offensive-minded coach. Rudolph will have a much bigger role in the Minnesota Vikings offense.

Turner has had great success with tight ends as well. He was with the Cleveland Browns when Cameron emerged. He also worked with a fantasy stud in San Diego. Does Antonio Gates ring a bell?

Heading into the 2014 fantasy football season, Rudolph will be ranked in the top 10. If you want Graham or Gronk, then be ready to use a first or second-round pick. However, if you wait for a tight end, Rudolph will be waiting for you in the ninth or 10th round. He will surpass his 2012 totals with 62 receptions, 512 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127.