By: Kyle Richardson (Twitter: @krich1532)
“The Good Ol’ Days……”
A memory I will forever have etched in my brain from my childhood, comes from a weekend afternoon when my stepbrother and I decided we needed a new ramp for our bikes. We were both in the BMX phase, jumping the curb, trying to grind on metal pipes and find anything we could to help us recreate X Games moments. We approached my stepdad in hopes he would help us out with that afternoon’s quest and used some of the leftover wood we had in the backyard to build a ramp. Well, we all have that individual in our family, or close friend, that doesn’t want to give up on years past. My stepdad was all for it and just as excited as we were. Upon completing the ramp, my step brother and I immediately knew we had bitten off more than we could chew. The jump was just too steep for either of us to feel safe, and knew injury was the only outcome. My stepdad did not seem to agree though and felt he would be able to show us exactly how it is supposed to be done. “You guys just need to see me ramp this thing and you’ll get it” as he grabbed my stepbrothers bike and headed down the sidewalk. We had placed the ramp in the front yard, in hopes that landing in the grass would be much better than the sidewalk. He lined up about 50 yards down the sidewalk, thinking he needed to be going as fast as possible. If this had been a time of cell phone cameras and viral videos, I would have had mine out and ready to go. He took off and as he approached the ramp, everything went into slow motion. I can still see the whole sequence, frame by frame, to this day. He soared high into the air, and much higher than anticipated, because the sidewalk was no longer an issue. He sailed over the sidewalk and towards the road. The look on his face was priceless. It is the only time I truly remember seeing him scared. Luckily though, our giant walnut tree in the front yard was there to play hero. He flew into several branches as the bike went sailing into the road and he came crashing down, into the side yard on his back. I didn’t dare move, because well, I thought he died for a second. He was finally able to get to his feet, trying to catch his breath and headed inside. Like the bike though, his ego sailed into the road as well because at this point, my stepbrother and I along with my mother and the countless neighbors across the road had realized he was not hurt and began laughing till we cried. We still discuss this moment in time at most family gatherings, but of course, my stepdad doesn’t always seem to recall.
We all have someone in our leagues like my stepdad. That individual who just cannot let go of the past and who believes age is just a number. Last year this individual probably owned Tony Romo at some point, hoping he would find his way back from injury yet again. He probably hung onto Peyton Manning too long, but he was probably the one reaping benefits from Steve Smith in his final years. Regardless, he is the one who at the end of the draft, everyone starts placing bets on the over/under of how many guys he has that could retire at the end of the year. I am here today, to help you not be that individual. This article is strictly from a dynasty or keeper league perspective. If you are in a redraft league, this may not offer you much support, other than saving you from being the one to own the veteran that finally sees age catch up to him this year. These players could defy age, and continue to play well until their youth is in the rearview mirror. Or they could be like my stepdad, and try to hang on to youth a little too long, while he remembers the “Good ol’ Days.”
Demarco Murray- RB, TENN: 29 years old, entering his 7th season
Murray was able to experience a bounce back campaign in 2016 after a dreadful year in Philadelphia. Murray is a talented running back, so landing on this list has nothing to do with diminishing skills. It has everything to do with uncertainty though. At the end of the 2017 season, the Titans will have the opportunity to cut Murray without owning him any money. Waiting to take his place right now is Derrick Henry. Murray has had some high volume over the past few years and all running backs, even at age 29, face the prospect of just breaking down. All it will take is one injury for Murray that forces him to sit for a couple weeks and Henry could run away with the job. The Titans won’t waste that money at the end of the year and Murray will be looking for another job. You can also reason that the Titans offense will evolve into a more dynamic attack in 2018 as well. Mariota will have another year to grow, Corey Davis will not be a rookie anymore and this may not be the run first offense we saw in 2016 and will likely see in 2017. With that, Murray is a SELL candidate for me in 2017. Move him now before it’s too late.
Brandon Marshall- WR, NYG: 33 years old, entering his 11th season
It doesn’t matter where Marshall went to after the Jets, his stock was going up. Marshall didn’t even need to switch stadiums this year after signing a 2 year deal with the Giants. I think people are forgetting that Marshall put up 1502 yards on 109 catches and 14 TDs two years ago with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his QB. Yeah, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Marshall now finds himself smack dab in the middle of an offense that he isn’t the #1 target of for the first time in a while. Defenses will need to account for Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard, Evan Ingram and Marshall this year. You can say what you will about Eli Manning as well, but he’s much better than Fitzpatrick. Marshall will not replicate what he did for the Jets two years ago, but he will be a great source of TDs this year. Marshall is a BUY candidate for me. If you can get him for the right price, he will be worth the investment.
Adrian Peterson- RB, NO: 32 years old, entering his 11th season
For the first time in his career, Peterson will not be wearing a Vikings uniform. After a suspension and knee injury cost him two of the last three years, the end of his Vikings career just didn’t have that sweat sendoff. However, the last time AP was facing adversity after dealing with a long layoff and knee injury, he ran for 2097 yards. At 30 years old, he averaged 4.5 yard per carry. The Vikings O Line was awful last year, so I am not blaming AP for his lack of production in three games. I thought signing with the Saints was odd, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Sean Payton has never seemed to be a fan of Mark Ingram. When Tim Hightower is cutting into your carries, then AP will also do the same. That Saints offense led by Drew Brees will be as good as ever. Weapons like Mike Thomas, Willie Snead and Coby Fleener will keep people out of the box and give room for AP to run free. AP is a BUY for me right now.
Tom Brady- QB, NE: 39 years old, entering his 18th season
It may be hard to imagine this, but in his 18th season, Brady may have his best supporting cast ever. No disrespect to the record setting offense in 2007, but it could be an argument by the time this season is over with. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edleman, Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen and James White will be Brady’s pass catching weapons this year. Even at 39 years old, Brady is one of the most sought after fantasy football QBs, regardless of redraft or dynasty. Why wouldn’t you want the greatest QB of all-time leading your team? Brady is a solid HOLD for me. If you own him, don’t trade him. If you don’t own him, don’t go trading for him. The person that owns him will want ransom for him, pointing to his 3554 yards, 28 TDs and 2 INTs in 2016 as to why you should give up that much. The guy wanting Brady won’t be willing to give it up, pointing to his age and Jimmy Garoppolo waiting in the wings to get his chance and never look back. Brady has a ton of weapons and a very good O line this year, which points to a successful 2017, but will it be much longer than that?
Antonio Gates- TE, LAC: 37 years old, entering his 15th season
I would be willing to bet Antonio Gates will be entering his final season this year. He is set to break the all-time touchdown record for tight ends, and should do so rather quickly this season. After that happens, I expect Gates to become nonexistent for the Chargers. Hunter Henry is an outstanding young talent who will no doubt take on a bigger role for the Chargers this season, and he should. With the core of receivers the Chargers have, I doubt we’ll be seeing them run many two TE sets. Gates will get his record and then Henry’s snap count will climb the rest of the season. You may have been expecting me to say sell here, but I won’t. The only person buying gates would be the Henry owner making sure all of his bases are covered, and even then, it won’t be a good return. I’m saying HOLD for Gates. You may get some decent production from him if you are light at TE to start the season. Worst case scenario, he is there for you if Henry misses a game. Try to enjoy Gates one last time as he moves into the records books, and then retirement.
Eric Decker- WR, TENN: 30years old, entering his 8th season
We’ve seen receivers play into their 30s and still be productive. While his age might not be a huge factor, I have seen some people say this offseason that Decker’s body is starting to break down. I am not buying that, but I am listing Decker as a solid BUY. I am not investing in Decker to be my WR1 or WR2, but he will make for great depth and be a good flex play every week. Decker will play in the slot and is terrific in the seam and in the red zone. People are making a big deal about Decker and Davis stepping on each other’s feet, but I think this helps both of them. Delanie Walker is the one I see hurt most by this. Decker had played in at least 14 games every season up until last year. He is joining a good football team with a great O line, a rising star at QB and a two headed monster at running back that will take the pressure off and move guys into the box. What better situation could you have asked for Decker to fall into?
Frank Gore- RB, IND: 34 years old, entering his 13th season
All Frank Gore has done is played in 16 games 6 straight seasons. He has ran for at least 800 yards in all but 1 season (his first). He has been a trustful, reliable running back in the NFL for as long as I can remember. So why am I listing him as a SELL? It’s the TY Hilton and Andrew Luck show in Indy. Something about that offense just doesn’t gel right with me. The defense will not be great again, forcing Luck to throw it more than he should. You can get someone in your league to give you solid value though. If you are playing in a 12 man league, there has to be at least 1 or 2 teams that have questions at RB and need some stability that Gore could potentially provide. Listing Gore as a sell is not a indictment of his talent, chances are he will produce another solid season, but more an indictment of the Colts failure to give Andrew Luck the right pieces to win, including an o line. Get value for Gore and let someone else worry about the questions.