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Kyle Rudolph has been a TE1 throughout this year, having played in all 13 games this year. He has totaled 98 targets, 58 receptions, 573 yards and 6 TDs. While Minnesota isn’t an offensive juggernaut, they have been a solid source of offensive fantasy points for Rudolph. He hasn’t been targeted less than 3 times in any game this year and has posted five catches in 7 of 13 games this year. Thus, in a PPR league, Rudolph has a decent floor. He also has the highest chance at a TD, as he represents one of the Vikings’ best red zone options. Rudolph uses his large frame, soft hands, and crisp route running to get open on short slants in the red zone. Matt Asiata, who just happens to fall into the end zone occasionally, is tied with Rudolph for the team lead in touchdowns with six. In fact, Bradford has only thrown for 14 TDs on the year, so Rudolph is definitely looking like the preferred red zone target of Bradford. Coupled with his steady targets, Rudolph has a great chance to produce points each week.

 

Consensus Ranking and Projected Stats

For week 15, Rudolph is ranked as the 8th tight end overall. His projections for the week:

Receiving:            4.3 catches, 45.4 yards, 0.4 TDs

Total Points:       11.0 PPR points

 

Current Week Match-up

This week, the Minnesota Vikings host the Indianapolis Colts. The total Vegas over/under is set at 45.5, which is a middling total on the week. Both teams have a lot to play for in week 15, with the Colts still having a chance (somehow) at the AFC South title, and the Vikings are looking to catch Detroit in the NFC North. The Colts have the 9th highest average points per game scored at 25.7, while Minnesota has the lowest NFL team points per game allowed at 17.3. Thus, something will have to break during this game. I would put my bet on a decent amount of points scored during the game, as Indianapolis surrenders an average of 377.8 yards per game, which is the 29th overall. Bradford and company will have ample opportunity for offensive output. As for Rudolph, there is a great opportunity for points this week. The Colts have given up the 10th most fantasy points to tight ends. Rudolph has 45 yards in his last 3 of 4 games, and the Colts have surrendered 23 total passing touchdowns on the year. With the aforementioned propensity of Rudolph being targeted in the red zone, this week represents a great chance at a TD for Rudolph.

The Vikings have as much to play for as the Colts, which will lead to a hard-fought game by both teams. Indy’s offense has been clicking recently, which may force the Vikings to keep pace with their scoring. Rudolph is a key component of the Vikings’ offense, and I expect him to do well this week as the Vikings’ search for their eighth win.

 

Comparable Flex Starters

I’ve analyzed some comparable starters, along with a brief description of why I like them more or less:

 

TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys. Projected PPR points – 10.0 PPR points

Witten has had some big games for the Cowboys this year, but they have been sporadic and hard to predict. The future Hall of Famer is on the tail end of his career and has been utilized as a blocker for many plays. While he is still a staple of the Cowboys’ offense, having drawn 80 targets on the year, he only has 2 TDs out of his 56 receptions. Look for the Cowboys to use Ezekiel Elliot to his full potential against the soft Tampa run defense, as opposed to throwing often with rookie Dak Prescott. Witten has failed to top 40 yards in the past four games, and will likely be utilized as a blocker in the Sunday night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Conclusion: Start Rudolph over Witten

 

TE Dennis Pitta. Baltimore Ravens. Projected PPR points – 8.8 PPR points

Pitta had an absolutely huge game in week 13, posting 9 receptions for 90 yards and 2 TDs. However, he had a dude of a week afterward, posting 4 catches for 18 yards. In week 15, Pitta goes up against the strong Philadelphia Eagles defense, who have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. Pitta was not performing particularly well prior to his breakout game either, having failed to hit 50 yards in a game since week 5. The inconsistent usage coupled with an unsolidified spot in the game plan, Pitta will not likely have a good game against the Eagles.

Conclusion: Start Rudolph over Pitta

 

Record to Date:

Player Projections: 5 – 8, 1 N/A

Start/Sit Recommendations: 16 – 9, 3 N/A

Accountant by trade, I enjoy stats and numbers far more than anyone ever should. Despite being born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, I’ve somehow become a Dallas Cowboys fan (praise Romo). While I love all fantasy sports, fantasy football is my favorite. Twitter @TFA_Andrew

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