Jun 29, 2012
Fantasy football writers can be guilty of reading too much into pre-season games when attempting assign value to a player for an upcoming season. A prime example of this occurred last season with rookie tight end Lance Kendricks, a 2011 second round pick of the Rams that dominated opposing defenses in August.
Kendricks flashed an excellent combination of speed, quickness and catching ability, and appeared to be destined for a breakout rookie campaign. Unfortunately, as the calendar turned to September and the games started to count, Kendricks faded into oblivion and finished the season with only 28 catches for 352 yards and one touchdown.
The fact that quarterback Sam Bradford missed six games due to injury and a lack of commitment to utilizing the tight end were two prime reasons why Kendricks did not perform well in 2011. With a healthy Sam Bradford under center and the addition of a Brian Schottenheimer run offense that features the tight end, Kendricks could be in line for the breakout season many anticipated last year.
Schottenheimer is known to use the tight end in multiple formations, including lining the end up in the slot to take advantage of smaller linebackers in coverage. Fellow Big Ten alum Dustin Keller excelled in Schottenheimer’s scheme last season, catching 65 balls for 815 yards and five touchdowns.
From a fantasy perspective, Kendrick’s poor rookie season will likely drop him off of most owners’ draft boards. In fact, he is not listed on Mock Draft Central’s ADP rankings as of the date of publication.
Despite his lack of perceived value by fantasy owners in June, Kendricks could be a nice late round steal in drafts this season. He has the tools to be a productive NFL tight end, an offensive coordinator with a tight end heavy scheme, and a healthy quarterback that has yet to meet his full potential.