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What to do with Irv Smith Jr., Kyle Rudolph in Week 1 fantasy football

If his name isn’t “Cook” or “Thielen,” you probably don’t want them starting on your fantasy team this week.

Irv Smith Jr. #84 and Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrate a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings made headlines this offseason when they shipped one of their best wide receivers, Stefon Diggs, to the Buffalo Bills. With their “1a” option now a Bill, that made their “1b” option, Adam Thielen, now alone at the top of the wide receiver room. This looked like it could mean good things for the receiving numbers for someone like tight end Kyle Rudolph - or even 22-year-old Irv Smith, Jr. - but an incoming rookie and an uninspiring game script likely mean it’s best to avoid the Minnesota tight ends Week 1.

Fantasy Football analysis: Minnesota Vikings, TEs, Irv Smith Jr., Kyle Rudolph

Stefon Diggs might be gone, but the Vikings added former LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and Jefferson was an elite possession receiver in college who hopes that can translate to the NFL.

Even still, the Vikings are not a team that wants to rely on Kirk Cousins’s arm to win football games, and instead hopes to keep games close and lean on Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota rushing game. The Vikings’ Week 1 opponent, the Green Bay Packers, were 26th in the NFL against the run last season, so this bodes well for someone like Dalvin Cook, but looks ominously dooming for players like Rudolph or Irv Smith, Jr.

But between Rudolph or Smith, Rudolph is still the better option, and it’s not particularly close yet. Rudolph could find a cheap touchdown if Cook gets stopped at the goal line.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Start Rudolph in the deepest of leagues. Sit Smith.