Kyle Rudolph Fantasy 2014
Tight ends are becoming more valuable in the fantasy world since players like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski have made otherwise average fantasy teams into league champions. In a position that you would often don’t think to draft in until the later rounds, you are seeing people take Graham in the first round. Tight ends have been given more opportunities to produce offensively in today’s NFL. Kyle Rudolph is going into his fourth year in the NFL and is coming off a shortened season due to a broken foot. He is due for a breakout year.
You could argue you that he already had his breakout year in 2012 when he had:
- 53 receptions
- 493 yards
- 9 Touchdowns
He was also the pro-bowl MVP in 2012. Yes, it was a great season for the second year tight end, but this was not Rudolph’s breakout year. Rudolph showed this kind of production in his second year with an indecisive coach, a vanilla offensive coordinator, NO wide receivers and Christian Ponder throwing him the ball. Rudolph is entering the 2014 season with a brand new gutsy head coach in Mike Zimmer, a guy with a very impressive offensive history and playbook in Norv Turner, Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings to line up with and anyone other than Christian Ponder throwing him the ball. If he can stay healthy and be integrated effectively in the passing game (which he will), I think he could easily match his 2012 production.
What Norv Turner Means[ad id=”Ad1″]
Norv Turner may not have succeeded as a head coach, but he always finds work as an offensive coordinator. Why? Because he knows what will get the maximum production out of his players. Turner has been a successful offensive coordinator for over 13 years. He was the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator for 3 years and won back-to-back Super Bowls with them in 1992 and 1993; he is also given credit for shaping Troy Aikman into the quarterback he became.
Turner has been successful with running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks, but he is known for implementing his tight ends. What does that mean exactly? Just a little tid-bit: in his 2006 stint with the 49ers as their offensive coordinator, he led his tight ends Vernon Davis and Eric Johnson to top 10 in rankings if combined, with 54 receptions and 5 touchdowns; the year before he was there, San Francisco’s tight-ends combined for a whopping 9 receptions and 0 touchdowns. He turned Jordan Cameron into a fantasy stud last year with 3 different quarterbacks, those being Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell.
Bottom line, everyone on the Vikings offense should benefit from Norv Turner’s hiring, but Rudolph will be relevant again in that offense. If you miss out on Graham, I think you can solidify your line-up with top running backs and wide receivers and still get Rudolph in the later rounds. Don’t panic if you miss out on one of the “elite” tight-ends. You can still end up with someone like Kyle Rudolph who has “elite” potential. I think he could be one of the steals at tight end this year for fantasy and we will finally get to see the production we have been waiting for.