We have been waiting years for the Kyle Rudolph fantasy football breakout after his nine-touchdown 2012 campaign. Now he has seemingly rewarded fantasy owners who have kept the faith in him. Through the first four weeks of the season, Rudolph is the #2 scoring tight end, just behind the Panthers’ Greg Olsen. He has proven that once again he is among the tight end elite, or has he?
There is no doubting the Rudolph is getting the opportunity for production this season, with eight, eight, 10 and seven targets in the first four weeks of the season. The issue is he is not consistently returning production on those opportunities, catching only 19 of those 33 targets. When he catches his targets, he isn’t doing much with them outside of coming down for scores. He’s gone above 65 yards just once this season and has caught 50% or fewer of his targets twice this year. The reason he has returned so much value for his fantasy football owners is due to scoring touchdowns. Rudolph has come down with a score in the last three games.
Getting into the end zone has been the major issue for tight ends starting against the Texans thus far this season, and that is a big reason why they have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game this year to the position. They have taken on three of the better tight ends in the league: Travis Kelce, Delanie Walker and Martellus Bennett, and have allowed them only 78 yards total and completely out of the end zone. In the last three games, Bennett has gone over 100 yards twice, and the Texans kept him to just ten yards. Other than when he took on the Texans and had only 34 yards on seven targets, Kelce has averaged 62 yards per game and scored in two-of-three contests. The Texans defense is incredibly adept at shutting down opposing tight ends, and Rudolph will not be an exception.
Thus far this season, Rudolph has been extremely productive and has been one of Bradford’s preferred targets. He is not, however, a transcendent talent. He is in the right places at the right times and able to take advantage of what is given to him by coverage. This week as he takes on a Texans squad that has proven to be one of the best at shutting down tight end production, he is a player that you should keep out of your fantasy football lineups.