August 14, 2011
When a rookie generates serious camp buzz, then his preseason debut exceeds the hype, we have a fantasy story.
So it is with St. Louis Rams tight end Lance Kendricks(notes), a second-round pick out of Wisconsin. The kid caught five passes for 47 yards in his team's 33-10 exhibition win over Indianapolis, and he was targeted seven times. Kendricks opened the scoring for the Rams, catching a 6-yard TD pass from Sam Bradford(notes) early in the first quarter — and he obliterated Colts DB Jerraud Powers(notes) at the goal line on the play. Highlight here. Oof. Makes my teeth hurt.
I won't hedge with Kendricks: This is a guy I'm planning to draft in many, many leagues, as a fantasy starter. (OK, here's where I'll hedge a little bit: Most of my leagues are 14 or 16-teamers, so it's not like I'm declaring the rookie an immediate top-10 asset. But let's not discount the possibility, especially in a year where Zach Miller and Greg Olsen(notes) have found new teams, and Chris Cooley(notes) is broken). The price tag is obviously low on Kendricks, given the depth at the position and the familiar brand-names at the top of the ranks. He'll be a dangerous weapon for the Rams — certainly a tough cover for any linebacker — and he's tied to an excellent young QB. Bradford threw 18 touchdown passes last season, and seven of them went to tight ends.
In post-game comments on Saturday, Bradford discussed Kendrick's role in the new offense:
"That's part of [offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels'] philosophy," Bradford said. "The ball gets spread around to everyone on the field and that way it does put stress on the defense. I think what you saw from Kendricks tonight was him playing so many positions and running so many different route combinations, and I would only imagine that it's going to continue to grow."
Kendricks has reportedly lined up everywhere in camp, and the reviews have been impressive. You can't argue with his usage in his preseason debut. Draft and enjoy.
Photo via US Presswire