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Over the course of the off-season we’ll be looking back at some of the major players who ‘broke out’ or outperformed their ADP by a drastic amount in the hopes that we can get a feel for what their 2013 fantasy football season holds and whether the break out is here to stay.  Today the review subject is Kyle Rudolph.

Kyle Rudolph

There were a lot of breakout Tight Ends in 2012 – Dennis Pitta and Heath Miller come to mind – but I don’t know if I will be covering all of them so I wanted to highlight a guy we talked about in pre-season as a 2012 fantasy sleeper in Kyle Rudolph.  Kyle finished tied for second for touchdowns scored on the year among tight ends with Jimmy Graham and only 1 ahead of Heath.  However, Kyle played the whole season unlike the other two so I’m going to say he really finished 4th.  But outside of the touchdowns, there was still plenty to like about Rudolph’s season and also plenty to hate.  With that let’s take a look back on his 2012 break out season and see how it holds up for 2013 fantasy football…

Weeks 1-4: 15 rec, 23 targets, 146 rec yards, 3 touchdowns, 40.1 total points – Rudolph really got off to a strong start in 2012, when he scored at least 9 points in his first three games with the crescendo one being a 2 touchdown performance against tough SF defense.  Of course, his 4 week was bordering on zero with only 2 catches for 8 yards.  I wish I weren’t about to write this nearly the exact same way 4 times but well…yeah.

Weeks 5-9: 12 rec, 24 targets, 96 rec yards, 2 touchdowns, 27.6 total points – Here’s where Kyle entered the dead zone for a little bit.  Though he more than made up for week 4’s paltry output with back-to-back games with a touchdown, he followed it up by dropping one of this three goose eggs on the season against the Cardinals.  Then made matters worse by turning a good matchup against the Buccs – a team that ranked 4th in points against for opposing TE – in a 2 catch, 17 yard effort.  The bloom of the start of the season started to wear off a little here.  It’s also good to note that the Cardinals game is the start of the Adrian Peterson end of season run.  AP would go on to average 159.8 yards per game over the final 10 games of the season which would have a huge effect on the passing game from then on out.

Weeks 10-13: 18 rec, 28 targets, 170 rec yards, 3 touchdowns, 44 total points – Oddly enough, the start to Rudolph’s best fantasy stretch of the season started with another of his goose eggs @SEA and probably led to him being sat or dropped in following weeks.  Of course, Percy Harvin went down during this game which led to 3 straight games with a touchdown and the most consistent stretch of the year.  However, it’s in his numbers during this span we start to notice a trend.  We notice that Rudolph becomes a third of Christian Ponder’s passing yardage (read: predictable) and that Ponder is only averaging 166 yards a game passing during that same time span.

Weeks 14-17: 8 rec, 18 targets, 81 rec yards, 1 touchdown, 18.1 total points – Clearly the predictability without Harvin in the lineup and the run-heavy offense led by AP’s run at Eric Dickerson’s record became a huge drawback for Kyle and his owners to finish out the year.  Kyle only had one more fantasy-worthy start to round out the year but given the tough slate – only Houston was a good matchup for opposing TEs and it’s the one he took advantage of – plus the aforementioned trends, it’s really hard to fault him too much.  Of course, that’s small consolation to anyone who started him during the playoffs.

Conclusion: Kyle’s going to need some help to build on this breakout season.  Christian Ponder needs to be a better quarterback overall.  Meanwhile, Greg Jennings needs to return to form and Cordarrelle Patterson needs to learn some of the intricacies of the game quickly.  Adrian Peterson’s skills should do more good than harm for Rudolph if Ponder can improve.  As it was, Kyle ranked high in a lot of key stats amongst Tight Ends: 5th for target percentages for his respective team (19.4%), tied for second for red zone targets (17), and was first in terms of red zone percentage targets for his team (28.3%).  All these numbers are a sign of someone who could and should be a top 5 Tight End for years to come if things can fall into place the right way.  Well I wish I could lie to you and say we’re seeing a sneak peak of things to come but I think we’re just seeing the peak if his team stays with Ponder.  Growth needs to come from QB, not TE for this Red-Nosed Viking so I can’t in good conscience push his 2013 numbers much higher than what we’ve seen.

Projections: 60 rec, 570 rec yards, 0 rushing yards, 10 total touchdowns

  1. Targaryen says:
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    Would you rather keep Gonzo in a Dynasty league that scores 1.5 ppr for TEs. I have a mind to trade him for Rudolph if I could get better draft position in the draft coming up. 3 round rookie draft is complete but the left over rookies& FAs draft is in August. I already have Gates & Stocker in my taxi. Your thoughts, Sky?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      In a dynasty I like that trade for you. Go Rudolph.

      • Targaryen says:
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        @Sky: Thanks. He wasn’t interested. I get it. Didn’t know his value had cloned do high. What about Davis?

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Hey Targaryen; since we’re still talking IDP, I’d still hit up Kevin on is post.

    • Murph says:
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      @Targaryen:
      Dynasty guy agrees, ADP in startup drafts has Rudolph way ahead of Tony G who’s looking at 1-2 years of production left. At 23 Rudolph is a long term guy that I want on my teams. Do it

  2. ncviking says:
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    That’s the million dollar question,is Ponder going to have that break out season?We have to remember that Percy played like gang busters and Ponder did to early in the year.They were even talking about how great Ponder was playing.Percy got hurt and Ponder went in the tank.AP carriedthe Vikings for the rest of the season until those last 4 games.I just think that Ponder and the offensive coordinator could not make the adjustments needed till the last 4 games of the season that the Vikings won to make the playoffs.Prediction.Because of the additions of Jenkins,Patterson and whoever else the Vikings add to the mix,Rudolph will have his best season to date and so will Ponder.The other question,will there be enough touches for Rudolph because of all the other playmakers on the Vikings Squad?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I wouldn’t go so far as to say Ponder was breaking out moreso than he played steady which isn’t all that bad of a thing. But given his best statistical games were against extremely weak secondaries early on in the year (TEN, WAS, IND, & JAC), I still don’t have a huge trust in Ponder in terms of having any form of breakout season.

      I think Percy being gone will actually help the team and Ponder in certain ways. The rumors were he put a lot of demand on Ponder to get thrown to. Could help Ponder mature by not feeling that type of pressure from inside the huddle and having a veteran WR like Jennings on board. Rudolph was still one of the top Redzone targets last year despite all that so in terms of touches and targets, I’m not too worried about Rudolph on that front.

  3. kalone says:
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    So now that Coples is classified as a linebacker, it seems like his value is shot to hell. I have an offer of the 3.10 pick in a 16-team dynasty league for Coples, and I’m leaning toward taking it. I’m also relatively deep at LB with Derrick Johnson, Von Miller, Dannel Ellerbe and Erin Henderson, with Nick Barnett, Daryl Smith and Brian Orakpo backing them up (deep rosters).

    Thoughts on the trade? Odds that Coples turns into a middle-class Von Miller?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I see you put this on our IDP expert’s – Kevin Kumpf – post. It’s really his area, I’ll let him take it.

  4. Billy Schwandt says:
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    Seems like the first part of the season went well for Ponder then after Harvin was lost and maybe a little before Ponder went in to a slump. The last 4 games that were a must win and all god teams he was 4 td and 1 int. So if he continues to grow and no reason to think he will not with his 3 year coming up this team the Vikings could be something !!! SKOL VIKINGS!!!!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Ha, I hear ya. I look at him more as a guy who if he becomes Alex Smith circa 2011, the Vikes should be happy and be a decent squad but for fantasy purposes, he’s off the radar except for really deep leagues.

  5. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:
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    sky, any good resource to show who is projected to act as each teams kick / punt returner? IDP dynasty league that we just added kick / punt return points for. Want to key in on some defensive players that return kicks. specifically cornerbacks.

    thanks

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I always do a new search every year for various depth charts to get a feel. If memory serves correctly, fftoolbox is pretty good with their depth charts but don’t hold me to that.

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