Kyle Rudolph is too inconsistent to be trusted with the tight end spot of your playoff fantasy football roster. The Minnesota Vikings sophomore tight end finished as a top-10 tight end for the regular season in ESPN.com standard scoring, recording 53 receptions for 493 yards and nine touchdowns.
The touchdowns are easily the reason that Rudolph’s production tops that of yardage guys like Cincinnati Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham (737 yards, five TDs) and San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (548 yards, five TDs). Unfortunately, touchdown production is less predictable than yardage output.
Moreover, relying on TD output is entrusting the outcome of your week to a more volatile fantasy performer. If Rudolph scores, he had a decent tight end fantasy week. If he doesn’t, he’ll get you next to no points.
Because Rudolph stands 6’6” and is a red-zone target for Christian Ponder in the Vikings offense, he’s the epitome of hit-or-miss under the above scenarios: His average stat line in the last six games in which he scored a touchdown was 5.5 catches for 48 yards and a TD. In his last seven without a score, his average stat line was 1.3 catches for 9.6 yards.
He was shut out three times—and the Vikings went 2-1 in those games.
None of his zero-catch performances took place against the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota’s first playoff opponent. Rudolph had one TD against the Packers this season, and his TD-vs.-no-TD game stats fall in line with the average of the remainder of his appearances.
Week 13 at GB: 6 rec, 51 yards, TD
Week 17 vs. GB: 2 rec, 20 yards
Rudolph’s season-high game in terms of yardage took place in Week 1, when he recorded 67 yards on five catches against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since, he topped 60 yards one time—and scored a touchdown in that game.
Green Bay has only allowed two touchdowns to tight ends since Week 6.
Gresham and Jermichael Finley are less risky, but also perhaps less spectacular options at the tight end position this week. If you’re looking to maximize cumulative postseason statistics, the New England Patriots tandem of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are each far more desirable than is Rudolph.
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