Ageism does exist in fantasy football. It’s a cold hard fact. Once a player starts to hit that dreaded “plateau”, it’s anyone’s guess as to when the wheels start falling off. But usually, it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
In our first 2-part Over/Under article, we broke down the 2018 rookies. (Part 1 | Part 2) . In this edition, we break down some of the big name “senior” guys across fantasy football, and whether or not they can hit their projections for this season.
The following 8 DFF analysts will participate in this exercise:
Aaron Larson – @aalarson
Stephen Halupka – @TheRealHalupka
Mitch Lawson – @DFF_MitchLawson
Anthony Zaragoza – @zaragozaanthony
Mike Oliva – @MikeCOliva
John DiBari – @dibari22
Micheal Stephenson – @DFF_MSte
Johnny Slokes – @JohnnySlokes
Let’s dive right in and start dishing on our Golden Oldies.
Larry Fitzgerald – Over/Under PPR – WR14.5
34-year old Fitz has always been a reliable fantasy WR, especially in PPR. With Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen as his new QB tandem, will he surpass his ADP of WR15, or will he be under that?
Aaron Larson – OVER – Fitzgerald will either have Sam Bradford consistently targeting him or Josh Rosen depending on him. The Cardinals will be trailing plenty this season, Larry Legend should easily reach this PPR target.
Stephen Halupka – OVER – Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the most consistent WRs over the past three seasons. Barring injuries to both Bradford and Rosen, Fitz should be able to smash his ADP and deliver some great value to fantasy owners.
Mitch Lawson – OVER – Fitz has been a top 10 PPR WR in each of the last three years. Bradford loves short throws and sports a high completion %. Win-win.
Anthony Zaragoza – OVER – For the last three seasons, I’ve made the mistake of being that guy who’s avoided Larry Fitzgerald because of his age in fantasy drafts. And each year, Fitzgerald has produced like a top 10 wide receiver in PPR formats (averaging 108 receptions, 1,131 yards, 7 TD’s from 2015-2017). I won’t make that mistake again.
Mike Oliva – OVER – He will either be a safety valve for a rookie QB or the main target for a QB who excels at high completion throws or some combination of both. Either way, expect another 100-1100-7 line for Larry Legend this season.
John DiBari – UNDER – I’m a huge fan and have been picking him up this year, but with Arians gone and a new system in place combined with the return of other top receivers league-wide, I think Larry the legend is a top 20 lock at receiver, but top 14 will be just out of reach this year.
Michael Stephenson – OVER – Larry will be having targets funneled to him all year long in pursuit of the number 2 all-time reception record, and Sam Bradford excels in throws to the middle of the field and Fitz will bring them in time after time.
Johnny Slokes – OVER – Despite finishing WR4 last year, his ADP has only elevated one round since then. His quarterback situation makes this close as there could be a setback in production, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
TOTAL VOTES: OVER – 7 / UNDER – 1
Eli Manning – Over/Under QB 22.5
Eli Manning had a terrible 2017 without OBJ and a decent running game. With OBJ and now Saquon Barkley in the picture, and with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, can he be the QB22 or better?
Aaron Larson – OVER – Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard. There may not be a more well-rounded group of offensive weapons. If Eli can’t be a top 20 quarterback this year then something is seriously wrong.
Stephen Halupka – UNDER – This season should signal the end for Manning in New York. Even with the great weapons assembled for the Giants, that won’t be enough for the inconsistent Manning to be a solid QB2. Time for Eli to ride off into the sunset.
Mitch Lawson – OVER – Manning should bounce back in a big way with these new weapons. I’m buying in.
Anthony Zaragoza – OVER – A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and the addition of Saquon Barkley should bolster Eli Manning to a top 20 finish among quarterbacks.
Mike Oliva – OVER – I hate Eli, and think he’s way past his prime. With that said, he comes into this season with the best array of weapons he’s ever had. OBJ, Shepard, Engram, and Barkley are all being drafted in the first ten rounds of fantasy drafts. For them to pay off, Eli has to get them the ball. There will be lots of picks, but Eli ends the year as a top 20 QB
John DiBari – OVER – Rumor has it new head coach Pat Shurmur is putting together a system that will showcase Manning’s strengths and limit his weaknesses. With the return of Beckham and the addition of Barkley and another year of development for Shepard and Engram, it’s going to be hard for Manning to fail.
Michael Stephenson – OVER – With an improved offensive line and one of the best sets of offensive weapons in the NFL, Eli Manning will have to be spectacularly terrible to finish outside of the top 20 QBs.
Johnny Slokes – UNDER – Looking at Odell, Barkley and Evan Engram’s ADP, they’re being drafted inside the top 10 at their positions. If you believe in those players, then Eli’s ADP doesn’t make sense. I think we are expecting too much from Barkley, and Evan Engram won’t be what he was last year. Plus, I still think Eli just isn’t good.
TOTAL VOTES: OVER – 6 / UNDER – 2
LeSean McCoy – Over/Under PPR RB 19.5
LeSean McCoy was last PPR RB7. But after a brutal Bills offseason and potential legal trouble, McCoy’s ADP has slipped from around the RB12 in June to the RB17. Can he break into the top 20?
Aaron Larson – OVER – Simply based on volume and his pass-catching ability he should still be a top 20 RB. If he is suspended, then he won’t even come close, but at this point, I think he dodges it.
Stephen Halupka – UNDER – I’m totally out on the Bills this season, and with the recent potential legal drama around McCoy, I’m out on him as well. I would be shocked to see him play a full slate of games in 2018, and that would be the only way he’s a top 20 RB.
Mitch Lawson – UNDER – He won’t see a full 16-game season in my opinion. His situation was already bad; now it’s worse. I’m passing.
Anthony Zaragoza – OVER – Since the initial story of LeSean McCoy’s legal matter broke out, it’s been relatively quiet from the NFL. This makes me believe that McCoy will be free of any potential suspension next season and is a safe bet to eclipse 275 touches for the third straight season in Buffalo.
Mike Oliva – UNDER – I would have said under before the potential legal issues, they just confirmed it for me. Be it his anemic offense, age, terrible O-Line, lack of other weapons, bad QB situation, game scripts, or now a suspension; it’s tough for me to buy into him as a top 20 back.
John DiBari – UNDER – Injuries, age, career carries, suspension, terrible offense, whatever the reason- or likely the combination of reasons, I’m staying as far away from Shady as possible this year.
Michael Stephenson – OVER – I don’t think we’ll see a suspension soon enough to impact this season, and it would take Shady missing multiple games to fall outside of the top 19 RBs. He should see well over 300 touches this season.
Johnny Slokes – OVER – I can’t say anything for sure because we don’t know what is going to happen to him. It’s simple for me, if he plays he’ll easily be over RB 19.5. Bad offense and all, he is the offense.
TOTAL VOTES: OVER – 4 / UNDER – 4
Tom Brady – Over/Under QB 4.5
TB12…GOAT…Whatever you want to call him, he’s one of the best of all time at soon-to-be 41 years old. He sits as a current ADP as the QB4. Can he be a QB4 or better for the 7th time in his career? Or will he come in below that mark?
Aaron Larson – UNDER – There are too many other quarterbacks that I see finishing ahead of him. Is Chris Hogan really his WR1? Maybe this is the year the Patriots dynasty finally begins to fall apart. I’m staying away from Brady.
Stephen Halupka – OVER – Even though the position is extremely deep, Brady has been one of the best for nearly two decades. He has enough weapons with a fully healthy Gronk and dynamic backfield to get hold him over until Julian Edelman comes back in Week 4. Don’t forget he also gets to beat up on the AFC East.
Mitch Lawson – UNDER – The QB position is volatile enough, but when you add in the losses at WR, I find the prospect of Brady finishing as a Top 4 QB to be a dubious one.
Anthony Zaragoza – UNDER – I say under, but it’s close. The most significant concerns against Tom Brady this season is his weapons (especially at WR) and the deep quarterback position in fantasy. Brady will still produce, but I like a few more QB’s over TB12.
Mike Oliva – UNDER – He’s been a top 5 QB twice in the last five years. He now loses Cooks and Edelman for four games while Gronk is one back injury away from retirement. I think the team uses it’s running game more and we see TB12 come in somewhere around QB7.
John DiBari – UNDER – Although it’s certainly possible, there are just too many other high -end fantasy QBs with as good, or better, weapons.
Michael Stephenson – UNDER – there are at least four reasons why named Rodgers, Wilson, Cam, and Wentz. The QB position is the strongest I’ve ever seen it be; it will take a special season to break the top 5 and just don’t see him doing it again.
Johnny Slokes – UNDER – Since 2013, Tom Brady has only finished as a top 3 QB one time and top 5 QB twice. To expect or assume he will be inside the top 5 is a bit reckless. It can certainly happen. I’m not concerned about his weapons, I’m concerned about his age and I think there are other guys that will outproduce him at this point.
TOTAL VOTES: OVER – 1 / UNDER – 7
Marshawn Lynch – Over/Under PPR – RB 25.5
32-year-old Beast Mode showed he still had gas left in the tank in 2017, finishing as the RB22 in PPR. With the addition of red zone threat Jordy Nelson and competition behind him, can he crack the top 25?
Aaron Larson – OVER – I don’t love Marshawn Lynch this year, but I think the volume and goalline carries will be enough to nudge him into the top 24 RBs.
Stephen Halupka – OVER – Watching Lynch in 2017 was like watching him in 2014. He hasn’t lost much regarding ability. Gruden should be able to implement a scheme that will be able to highlight what Marshawn can do best and will make him a solid RB2, even in PPR formats.
Mitch Lawson – OVER – Up until Richard’s injury, I wasn’t feeling Lynch this season. But with only Doug Martin offering a serious challenge, Lynch should get the volume to break into the Top 25.
Anthony Zaragoza – OVER – Marshawn Lynch finished 2017 on a solid note. During the last eight games of the season, Lynch rushed for 625 yards and five touchdowns. That trend should continue under new Head Coach Jon Gruden, who’s been very vocal about running the ball a lot in 2018.
Mike Oliva – UNDER – When there are rumors that Doug Martin may take your job, it’s not a good sign. I love Marshawn, but I think Jon Gruden will install a more functional offense and the primary benefactors will be Carr and the pass catchers. I think age will catch up to Lynch and I see him getting fewer touches than last season and coming in around RB30.
John DiBari – UNDER – This guy is done. He’ll lose work to Doug Martin. On top of that, this is going to be an awful team that is trailing early and often. Unless he suddenly gets a ton of the passing game work while they play catch-up, I don’t see how it’s possible.
Michael Stephenson – OVER – Lynch was effective and consistent in 2017, and I can’t see why that won’t continue in 2018, Doug Martin shouldn’t scare anyone.
Johnny Slokes – UNDER – He simply won’t have a lot of volume, and he doesn’t receive a lot of passes. It’s a pretty easy under for me. Oakland spent all off-season gathering other team’s junk that they didn’t want, hired a dinosaur for a coach that loves everyone and I see it as a recipe for disaster. Lynch is on a team I see losing often, and he doesn’t catch many passes so I’ll pass on him.
TOTAL VOTES: OVER – 5 / UNDER – 3
Greg Olsen – Over/Under – PPR – TE 5.5
After an injury-plagued 2017 and rumors of him leaving to be a broadcaster, Greg Olsen is back. Currently being taken as the 5th TE off the board, will he return that value, or not?
Aaron Larson – UNDER – Tight end is usually a position that ages well, but at 33 and battling foot injuries I don’t trust that he stays on the field for 16 games. There are a handful of other TE options I like better.
Stephen Halupka – OVER – Olsen is still one of the best TEs in the game even in his mid-30s. Another year of Cam Newton in this new short passing offense should lead Olsen to have a bounce-back season. Thinking he finishes in the top five at the position.
Mitch Lawson – UNDER – This speaks to the improvement of the TE class as much as it does Olsen’s regression. I’m not at all confident in him returning value if you take him as the fifth TE in your draft.
Anthony Zaragoza – OVER – When Greg Olsen was last healthy in 2016, the three-time pro bowler finished as the #3 tight end in PPR formats. Olsen is back ready to roll and will lead Carolina in targets this season.
Mike Oliva – OVER – Gronk, Kelce, Ertz and then……Exactly. Olsen is still the best pass catcher in Carolina (Sorry Funchess), and I think he returns to full health and another 1,000-yard season. I think he ends up as the TE4, and wouldn’t be shocked to see him as the TE3 over…you guessed it – Gronk.
John DiBari– UNDER – Are we believers in Norv Turner’s system? I like Olsen and have several shares, and he’s a TE1 when he’s on the field, but with the big three at the position (Gronk, Kelce, Ertz) the question is, do I see Olsen being 4th or 5th? I don’t.
Michael Stephenson – OVER – I’m going to assume health here with the 2-year extension, if he plays 16 he’s in the top 5.
Johnny Slokes – UNDER – It will be close but coming off a fractured foot makes me nervous especially considering that he tried to play on it and didn’t look good doing it. I know he played well in a playoff game and has had time to heal but with all that considered and with other tight ends that I think will show out. Also, not to mention Norv Turner is a dinosaur.
TOTAL VOTES: OVER – 4 / UNDER – 4
Frank Gore – Over/Under – PPR – RB 50.5
Frank the Tank is going to put his 35-year old body in the line of fire one more time. He finished as the RB19 in PPR last year but is squarely behind Kenyan Drake on the depth chart. Is he worth a late shot?
Aaron Larson – OVER – Frank Gore still has something left and will have some nice moments playing for his hometown team. He’ll be inconsistent and hard to trust, but he’ll finish in the top 50.
Stephen Halupka – OVER – Gore will be a thorn in the side of Kenyan Drake owners this entire year. I think he sees about 150-170 carries this season which should be enough to get him into the top 50 in PPR formats.
Mitch Lawson – UNDER – It’s a modest target, but still not one I think Gore can attain. After his move to Miami, I ranked him as my RB45 in standard, and that was BEFORE they drafted Kalen Ballage.
Anthony Zaragoza – UNDER – Frank Gore is still chugging along, but it’s purely volume based. Gore had 261 carries last season (8th in the NFL) but only averaged 3.76 YPC. Gore has to battle with 2017 starter Kenyan Drake and rookie Kalen Ballage for carries this season and could see his attempts from last year cut in half.
Mike Oliva – UNDER – To get into the top 50 in PPR formats would require somewhere in the neighborhood of 750 total yards and three TDs. Unless he gets 200 touches, that’s not happening. And he’s not getting 200 touches. Wayyy under. I think he’s more likely to retire this year than finish in the top 50.
John DiBari – UNDER – The Dolphins are a dumpster fire. Drake is somehow fantasy relevant, Ballage is here now, and on a team I don’t see winning many games, I have a hard time imaging a way Gore gets the volume needed to crack the top-50 at season’s end.
Michael Stephenson – OVER – 93 points would have secured a top 50 finish in 2017, Gore has never scored less than 100 in a season, and I don’t think he ever will.
Johnny Slokes – UNDER – Why are we still talking about Frank Gore and does it matter if he’s top 50 or not? That’s a low bar to set, and I’m still not expecting it. Would you want him sitting on your bench all year? Complete afterthought. Go after Kalen Ballage instead.
TOTAL VOTES: OVER – 3 / UNDER – 5
So, if we have learned anything from these analyses, it’s that a player’s success is about opportunity and production more than age. No fantasy player should be severely downgraded because of age alone. If a guy can play, a guy can play.
Thanks for dropping in on our debate! Be sure to bookmark https://dynastyfootballfactory.com/redraft-fantasy-football/ for constant updates on the state of redraft fantasy and the player news, analysis, and expert takes that you can handle. Also, make sure you follow all of these fine folks on twitter for quality Fantasy Football content.
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