Kyle Rudolph Fantasy: Should You Start or Sit Vikings TE?

Kyle Rudolph

Getty Kyle Rudolph runs away from Detroit's defense.

The 5-2 Minnesota Vikings will be home on Thursday night against the Washington Redskins. The Vikings seem to be putting it all together while the Redskins are looking at a top-three pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Kyle Rudolph has been a staple on the Vikings for quite some time. This is his ninth season in Minnesota and it is not going like the first eight. Rudolph has just 14 catches through seven games with one touchdown. He has three games this season with just one catch. Once the main option on offense has taken a backseat to the exceptional duo at wide receiver.

The Vikings selected Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of the 2019 draft. He has impressed in Minnesota and has taken away targets from Rudolph. Is Rudolph worth the risk of starting on a short week?

Kyle Rudolph Fantasy Outlook: Matchup vs. Washington Redskins

The Redskins are 1-6 and have not done much right this season. If there is one thing, it could be the way they have defended tight ends. In seven games, Washington has not allowed an opposing tight end to eclipse 60 yards. They have only allowed one touchdown to opposing tight ends.

The Vikings offense is starting to click. Kirk Cousins has thrown for 300 yards in three straight games and it could become four against one of the league’s worst defenses.

Smith Jr. has 12 catches on the season on 14 targets. Despite having more catches, Rudolph has less yards than his rookie teammate. He is coming off his best game of the season. Against the Detroit Lions in Week 7, Rudolph finished with five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, his only of the season.

Adam Thielen has been ruled out for this game against the Redskins. He is the Vikings’ No. 1 option on offense so this could open things up for the tight end position.

Should You Start or Sit Kyle Rudolph in Week 8?

The Redskins rank sixth worse in the NFL allowing 134.4 yards per game on the ground. Dalvin Cook leads the NFL in rushing with 725 yards. Cook has been the heartbeat on offense for Minnesota and he should be in line for another monster game on Thursday night.

The lack of production from Rudolph is extremely concerning for fantasy owners. Even with Cousins’ recent string of success, the tight ends have suffered. The days of Rudolph being an every week fantasy starter are long gone. But with Thielen out of the lineup, Rudolph could play a bigger role. He will immediately turn into a top red zone target and could see more throws on third down.

Even with the Thielen injury, it is a risk to play Rudolph. If he is the top tight end on your team then it is an easy decision. If there is a player on the waiver wire that is attractive, that might be the best option here.

Heading into Week 8, Cousins, Cook, and Stefon Diggs should be the only must start fantasy options. Both Rudolph and Smith should be started in emergency situations.