by Ray Kuhn
Entering the season, there was a lot of buzz about the tight end position. Sure we all knew how good Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas are and for the most part they have lived up to expectations. If you decided to wait on tight end, though, the theory was that you would be perfectly fine. Draft boards were abundantly filled with young, athletic tight ends who had upside. However as we enter Week 11, that has not been the case. Unless you ended up with one of the Tier One options, chances are you have been going week to week.
One of the exciting options to fantasy owners at the beginning of the season was Kyle Rudolph. Instead he failed to live to expectations in the first weeks of the season before being sidelined with a groin injury. Prior to the injury, his first three games weren’t exactly worthy of starter status with 10 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
So then, why are we so excited about Rudolph’s return?
For one thing he is a new name. At this point owners streaming tight ends have been through all the usual suspects on the waiver wire and Rudolph is more talented than the majority of them anyways. Plus he does have a track record of past success and was also highly regarded entering the season, so that does work in his favor.
Early on Minnesota’s offense wasn’t exactly clicking and while it is still not an elite unit, Teddy Bridgewater has shown some signs of improvement. In fact Chase Ford, in place of Rudolph, has had success the past two games catching 11 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown (6/61 in Week 8 and 5/66/1 in Week 9). If Rudolph returned and produced at that level, fantasy owners would be pleased.
Another factor working in Rudolph’s favor for this week is Minnesota’s favorable matchup against the Bears. Bridgewater has had they bye week to reset and work with Rudolph, so it would not surprise me to see him to target his newly returning weapon.
If you have been streaming tight ends at all, Rudolph is worth an addition for this week. If you have been getting subpar production from the tight end position, then he is certainly worth a start as in few weeks he could regain TE1 status.