Irish in the NFL: Top 5 Former Irish Fantasy Football Players

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings catches a touchdown pass during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 3, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings catches a touchdown pass during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 3, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Football season is right around the corner. For the most die-hard of fans, that means that Fantasy Football is right around the corner. Which Irish players might have an impact on your team this fall?

Notre Dame Football has put its fair share of alumni into the NFL in recent years. In all, forty former Irish are scattered across NFL rosters, according to ESPN. But which Irish will be the best selections for your fantasy football team in 2018?

5. Tyler Eifert – Tight End – Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert has had an up and down NFL career. In the past two seasons, Eifert has played only 10 combined games. However, if you’re willing to take a chance on Eifert’s health, he could be a nice, late-round steal for your fantasy team.

In 2015, his last remotely healthy season, Eifert emerged as one of Andy Dalton’s favorite targets. He had career highs in receptions (52) and targets (72). Where Eifert did his most fantasy damage was in the red zone. Eifert caught 13 touchdowns that season, which lead all NFL tight ends.

Once one of the highest-ranked tight ends, Eifert is likely to take a dive in the fantasy rankings. He might be too much of a risk to take in the early rounds, but could be a late round steal as a backup.

4. Theo Riddick – Running Back – Detroit Lions

Theo Riddick hasn’t been a high-volume rusher in the NFL and saw his amoung of touches decrease from 2016 to 2017, despite an increase in games played. Riddick will battle with LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson next season.

However, the Lions have a new coach in Matt Patricia, who served as the defensive coordinator to Bill Belichick, who is notorious for his love for third-down backs. That role would seem to go to Riddick once again in 2018.

If you’re in a PPR (points per reception) league, Riddick might be a solid pickup in the later rounds, especially if you’re looking for a good backup.

3. Will Fuller – Wide Receiver – Houston Texans

Like Eifert, Will Fuller has battled injuries in the NFL. Last season, Fuller broke his collarbone, causing him to miss the first 6 games of the NFL season. When he came back, however, Fuller was an interesting fantasy play.

After playing his first NFL season with questionable quarterback play, Fuller was supposed to be an oft-utilized weapon for the Texans. Undoubtedly, his injuries hindered that development.

If healthy, Fuller figures to have a big season this year.

Despite only playing in 10 games in 2017, Fuller caught 7 touchdown passes. With DeShaun Watson providing stability to Houston’s quarterback situation, Fuller’s stock should rise in 2018. Fuller also plays alongside arguably the NFL’s best receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. The former Notre Dame speedster will see his fair share of single coverage this season.

If you’re looking for a mid-round WR2, Fuller could be a solid choice.

2. Golden Tate – Wide Receiver – Detroit Lions

Tate has been a reliable receiver for Matthew Stafford in Detroit. Tate’s numbers from the past two seasons are nearly identical. In 2016, Tate totaled 91 receptions for 1,077 yards and 4 touchdowns. In 2017, he tallied 92 receptions for 1,003 yards and 5 touchdowns.

As Tate’s chemistry with Stafford continues to develop, one might expect to see those numbers increase in 2018. If anything, with new Head Coach Matt Patricia, the Lions may feature a more balanced attack, which can allow for the potential for play action and big plays from Tate.

Although Tate isn’t in the same conversation as fantasy sensations Julio Jones, AJ Green, and Antonio Brown, he’s definitely a solid starter for any fantasy team. I wouldn’t count on him to carry the receiving load for my fantasy team, but he’s definitely a solid, high-end WR2.

1. Kyle Rudloph – Tight End – Minnesota Vikings

If Rudolph is nothing else, he’s dependable. He has played in all 16 games for the Vikings in each of the last 3 seasons. Along the way, he’s proven to be a consistent target for Viking quarterbacks.

Even though his reception total went down from 83 to 57 from 2016 to 2017, he increased his touchdown total from 7 to 8 across that span, despite quarterback drama.

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With Kirk Cousins in the fold in Minnesota, Rudolph figures to see a consistent stream of passes in his direction this season. In Washington, Cousins targeted tight ends over 10 times per game last season. Rudolph is going to see plenty of action this season.