Dave Hunter
Author

Old Vets With Value

Jul 28, 2014 6:00 AM EST

It sucks getting old.

The aches and pains that you endure with each advancing year are noticeable. I’m 44-years old and don’t consider myself even close to being old, but my body says otherwise. The NFL is no different. Once players really start advancing in age their skill-set starts to take a hit, which includes the loss of speed, agility and even mental toughness.

So, what’s the magic age where a player starts to decline in skill?

It’s sort of tough to peg. The most popular and written about age where a player starts to decline is 30-years old, mainly since it’s the magic number analysts use to evaluate running backs; however, it’s worth noting that quarterbacks and receivers have been known to play well into their thirties without losing too much playing ability. So, for my “Old Vets With Value” piece, I will go with thirty (effective July 21) as my barometer.

Some of these players you should ignore, some you shouldn’t. Check out my quick-hit notes next to all these geezers. And, just for the sake of comparison, I listed every NFL running back, wide receiver, quarterback and tight end over thirty.

Player Name

Pos.

Team

Age

Fred Jackson

RB

Bills

33

F-Jax still has some left in the tank, even though I was personally expecting him to fall last year. It didn’t happen. He still has C.J. Spiller to contend with, along with newcomer Bryce Brown possibly getting into the mix. Draft F-Jax as a flex in a standard 12-team league.

Tom Brady

QB

Patriots

36

The expectations were that Brady would see a dip in production in 2013. And, that’s exactly what happened. Brady still provides solid value and is a Top Ten QB this season.

Peyton Manning

QB

Broncos

38

What? 38-years old? Wow-zers. Draft Manning without hesitation, although I’d rather have Brees this year.

Wes Welker

WR

Broncos

33

You’ve got a WR2 at best in Welker this season.

Alex Smith

QB

Chiefs

30

Hmm. If you’re okay with consistent production without expecting anything more than last season’s numbers then Smith gives you QB2 value. 

Donnie Avery

WR

Chiefs

30

Avery only offers value in the deepest of leagues,

Anthony Fasano

TE

Chiefs

30

No thanks.

Matt Schaub

QB

Raiders

33

I’m not expecting Schaub to light up the world in Oakland, but he’s got to be better than last year. Right? Even at 33-years old he’ll be better than last year. Schaub is a QB2 at best, however.

James Jones

WR

Raiders

30

Jones is a mid-range receiver that won’t lose a ton of downfield speed.

Philip Rivers

QB

Chargers

32

Rivers only seems to get better with age and is a Top-15 QB for me, but with potential to be more than that.

Malcolm Floyd

WR

Chargers

32

Injuries and inconsistencies keep me away.

Jacoby Jones

WR

Ravens

30

He’s great as a special teams boost or for leagues that offer special scoring for special team TDs.

Jason Campbell

QB

Bengals

32

Pass. And I mean don’t draft him.

Alex Smith

TE

Bengals

32

This is the “Alex Smith” that you don’t want.

Tyler Thigpen

QB

Browns

30

Thigpen will be lucky to make the team.

Miles Austin

WR

Browns

30

I’m a big Austin guy, or at least I was back in the day, but I have concerns over him considering his hamstring injury history and his mad drop off in production. I can see filling out my bench with Austin for a bye-week play but that’s it.

Nate Burleson

WR

Browns

32

WR5 or WR6 at best.

Bruce Gradkowski

QB

Steelers

31

Don’t touch him.

Ben Roethlisberger

QB

Steelers

32

Big Ben will give you Top-20 production at best which no longer makes him a fantasy starter.

Matt Spaeth

TE

Steelers

30

Or him.

Lance Moore

WR

Steelers

30

WR4 at best.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

QB

Texans

31

Waiver wire fodder.

Andre Johnson

WR

Texans

33

A lot of what Johnson will do this season will depend on QB play but I like him enough to not even worry about his age.

Matt Hasselbeck

QB

Colts

38

No.

Reggie Wayne

QB

Colts

35

Coming off ACL surgery and now 35? I think most will discount Wayne too much, but I believe in 1,000 yards and 6 TD. Not bad at all.

Marcedes Lewis

TE

Jaguars

30

A bye-week fill-in at best.

Charlie Whitehurst

QB

Titans

31

Not worth drafting.

Leon Washington

RB

Titans

31

Not worth drafting.

Nate Washington

WR

Titans

30

I like Nate Washington enough to use him for bye weeks or bench depth.

Kyle Orton

QB

Cowboys

31

The only way Orton does anything is if there is a Tony Romo-injury.

Tony Romo

QB

Cowboys

34

Hey! Speak of the devil. The Cowboys believe in Romo, so I still believe in Romo. Age is not a factor here.

Brandon Weeden

QB

Cowboys

30

Pass.

Eli Manning

QB

Giants

33

Pass. Okay, maybe not completely pass. This Manning is, however, the Bizarro-Manning. He needs to prove himself again before he ends up on my roster.

Daniel Fells

TE

Giants

30

Nope.

Darren Sproles

RB

Eagles

31

Expect to see Sproles’ age catching up with him. He won’t have the quickness or cutting ability to make up for his lack of size this season. In PPR leagues he still has decent value, but don’t go nuts for him.

Brad Smith

WR

Eagles

30

Not worth drafting.

Santana Moss

WR

Redskins

35

Moss will be lucky to put up 600 yards this season.

Carson Palmer

QB

Cardinals

34

I believe in Palmer enough that I’d be okay using him as a bye-week play in the right matchup.

Drew Stanton

QB

Cardinals

30

Nope.

Larry Fitzgerald

WR

Cardinals

30

I’m worried a bit about Fitzgerald considering his hamstring injury, but Fitz usually keeps himself in fantastic shape overall.

John Carlson

TE

Cardinals

30

Pass.

Frank Gore

RB

49ers

31

Gore is a great Flex option but only an okay RB2.

Anquan Boldin

WR

49ers

33

Even with Stevie Johnson in town now and Michael Crabtree back in action, I like Boldin to continue to defy the age thingy. He’ll get enough attention to be worth a WR3 slot on roster.

Brandon Lloyd

WR

49ers

33

Nah.

Vernon Davis

TE

49ers

30

Davis won’t match last season’s numbers but he’s still one of the better TEs in the league and also someone that stays in wonderful shape. Thirty-years old means nothing to Davis.

Tavaris Jackson

QB

Seahawks

31

Not worth it.

Michael Robinson

RB

Seahawks

31

Nope.

Shaun Hill

QB

Rams

34

No thank you.

Jay Cutler

QB

Bears

31

Solid, consistent play. Cutler is another that gives me no concern regarding age.

Jordan Palmer

QB

Bears

30

Pass.

Michael Spurlock

WR

Bears

31

Pass.

Dan Orlovsky

QB

Lions

30

Yes, pass…

Montell Owens

RB

Lions

30

…and pass.

Aaron Rodgers

QB

Packers

30

Rodgers is a Top Three QB this season for me, and actually only behind Brees. Brees, Rodgers and then Peyton Manning for me. I love Rodgers to bounce back from injury.

John Kuhn

RB

Packers

31

If you play in a TD-scoring league only, Kuhn has some value albeit very limited

Matt Cassel

QB

Vikings

32

Don’t bother.

Greg Jennings

WR

Vikings

30

At best Jennings is a WR4, but he’ll have a difficult time even reaching that level.

Steven Jackson

RB

Falcons

30

Jackson has really suffered in production considering recent injury history, change of teams, etc. I would be very wary of drafting Jackson for anything else other than a Flex play or RB depth.

Jason Snelling

RB

Falcons

30

Snelling is only worth drafting as a handcuff, but I’m sure you can find better options for your roster.

Devin Hester

WR

Falcons

31

No thanks.

Courtney Roby

WR

Falcons

31

Pass.

Roddy White

WR

Falcons

32

White should bounce back to a respectable level, but his days of being a Top Five WR are gone.

Derek Anderson

QB

Panthers

31

Nope.

DeAngelo Williams

RB

Panthers

31

RB4 or a bye-week fill-in option.

Jason Avant

WR

Panthers

31

Borderline bench depth.

Jerricho Cotchery

WR

Panthers

32

Ditto.

Drew Brees

QB

Saints

35

Ladies and Gentlemen! Here is your No. 1 QB this season, and he’s 35-years old. Draft away without thinking twice about it. You can thank me later.

Luke McCown

QB

Saints

33

No.

Marques Colston

WR

Saints

31

A solid WR option in a pass-heavy offense and I don’t see Colston’s age hurting him this season at all.

Benjamin Watson

TE

Saints

33

Not worth it.

Josh McCown

QB

Buccaneers

35

Interesting. Very interesting. He outplayed Cutler for the most part last season in Chicago and now has a chance to put up good numbers. But will he? I like McCown enough to take a chance on him at his age, but only as a bye-week guy or a very deep league option as a starter.

Vincent Jackson

WR

Buccaneers

31

V-Jax should be fine, assuming Josh McCown can play the accurate QB role. I’m not worried about V-Jax’ skills declining this season.