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What to do with Irv Smith, Kyle Rudolph in Week 3 fantasy football

Neither of the Vikings’ top tight ends has seen much work through two weeks.

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

Entering the 2020 season, the Minnesota Vikings seemed like one of the teams most invested in utilizing two tight ends together on the field. Their offense, now under the stewardship of longtime NFL play-caller Gary Kubiak, features a healthy dose of play-action and leak plays for the tight ends. Even if Irv Smith Jr. had yet to establish himself as a force and Kyle Rudolph nears the end of his career, both seemed well suited to the Vikings’ approach.

Fantasy Football analysis: Vikings TEs Irv Smith, Kyle Rudolph

Thus far, the results haven’t materialized for either tight end or the Vikings offense as a whole. Smith and Rudolph have just eight targets between them through two weeks and none have come in the red zone.

Any discussion involving the Vikings’ tight ends has to include quarterback Kirk Cousins. Like most of last season, Cousins runs an offense predicated primarily on the running game, leaving him to largely funnel the aerial attack through Adam Thielen. Because of that approach, neither Smith nor Rudolph has seen more than two targets in either of Minnesota’s two games this season. More troublesome still, none of the Vikings’ pass catchers besides Thielen has more than four targets in either week.

While Smith, Rudolph, or another receiver will eventually join Thielen in the five-plus-target club, the Vikings don’t appear likely to prioritize the passing game any time soon. That means both Smith and Rudolph’s value will depend largely on touchdown production.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

While the Titans have given up a touchdown to a tight end each of their first two outings this season, Smith and Rudolph will have a hard time extending that streak. Keep them out of your lineups in season-long fantasy leagues and DFS.