2013 Fantasy Value: Veteran Players Production
One of the most difficult things to do in fantasy football is to figure out how much a veteran will produce in the upcoming season. Often times, fantasy owners will be blinded by what guys like Steven Jackson and Antonio Gates HAVE done, and will not really consider what they WILL do this season. The NFL is a young man’s game, and while some of the vets will still be effective, others will be passed up on the depth chart, either for lack of productivity, or lingering injuries that reared their ugly heads later in a player’s career. Let’s take a look at some of the players who have been in the league for at least 10 years, and see who we think will still be lethal this year.
Larry Fitzgerald- Yes
Fitzgerald is truly an enigma when it comes to fantasy sports. For the last couple of years, fantasy owners have been plagued by the absurd amount of inconsistency Fitz has produced. Here’s the thing though. You can’t blame Fitzgerald, who is widely regarded as one of the hardest workers in the game. Fitz brings his A-game every time he’s on the field. The problem in the past was that he had he has not had a competent QB to get him the ball, so his numbers suffered. With Carson Palmer coming in, what we do know is that Fitz’s targets will go up this year, and you can expect his numbers to go up as a result. I would look at Fitz in the third round if guys like Julio Jones and Roddy White have already been snatched up.
Phillip Rivers- No
Last year, I made the mistake of thinking that Rivers would average a solid 15 points a game to compliment my stud receivers and running backs. Unfortunately for me, 15 was his max per week, with multiple single digit weeks. Rivers is still a decent NFL Quarterback, but his fantasy value is virtually non-existent. Rivers will max out at 25 points in a game, even less if it is a 4-point per passing TD league. I wouldn’t even consider Rivers until the 10th round, and only as a backup option to an every week starter like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady.
Steven Jackson- Yes
Fantasy owners are often nervous when it comes to new faces in new places, and how they will adapt to their new offenses. I’ve found that the concerns should usually be for Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers, as the timing and trust is the hardest part. For running backs, their role is virtually the same, and veteran Steven Jackson will be happy now that he is not the focal point of the offense anymore. Jackson gives the Falcons the one thing their offense was missing last year: a reliable, durable, physical running back who should be a great compliment to the speed the Falcons have on the outside.
Carson Palmer- No
You have already seen that I am high on Larry Fitzgerald this year, so you may be surprised to see me saying no to Palmer. The fact is, Palmer is a boom or bust option, but like Rivers, Palmer has a rather low ceiling. In addition, he has to pick up a new offense this year, a process that will likely be slow out the starting gate. Lastly, there is the interception issues that have plagued Palmer his whole career, and given that he’s in an offense with one main option, I don’t see that changing. I do like Palmer as a backup more than Rivers solely because I think he has the potential to put up bigger numbers, even with the defenses he’s up against in the NFC West.
Tony Romo- Yes
Pretty much anyone on the Dallas Cowboys offense has red flags, and Romo is no different. However, I like Romo this year. Quarterback is a deep position this season, with guys like Brees, Brady, Rodgers, and Peyton separating themselves from the pack. However, there are a slew of solid QB’s after that, Romo being one of them. There is no questioning the physical talent of the Cowboys offense, and while I don’t expect Romo to be a top 5, or maybe even top 10 QB by the end of the season, I do think he will put up good enough numbers to be a good option if you load your team up with RB’s and WR’s, and go with QB in the 6th or 7th round. Lastly, Romo is a good option in leagues where passing TD’s are 4, and rushing TD’s are still 6.
Antonio Gates- No
I’ve been off the Gates bandwagon for quite some time now, and there’s no reason for me to change my opinion now. It’s absurd how often Gates gets injured, and in case you didn’t know, injuries tend to pile up as you get older. In addition to his injuries, there’s simply nothing to really love about this Chargers offense. Even if he manages to stay healthy, he will likely see double teams with Malcolm Floyd providing the biggest presence on the outside of the offense. Lastly, there is very little value in the tight end position this season. Last year, tight ends were all the rage, with three or four of them gone by the end of the second round. This year, Jimmy Graham should be the only TE taken by the end of the second. I hate Gronk after all his surgeries, and as a result, TE really shouldn’t be a big concern of yours this year, and Gates should be towards the bottom of that list.
Jason Witten- Yes
Speaking of tight ends, Jason Witten is one of the few who I actually like this year. Talk about a guy who just chugs along and keeps doing his job. For years now, Witten has been Romo’s favorite target, and I don’t see why that will change this year, even with the incredible talents of Dez Bryant. While Witten rarely finds the endzone, he did have a career high of 110 catches last season, and is lethal in a PPR league. Witten’s durability is rather staggering, considering he has only missed two starts since 2004. You have to figure an injury is coming at some point, but if he stays healthy this year, he should be a top 5, or maybe top 3 tight end by season’s end.
Drew Brees- Yes
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given that Brees has now been in the league for 13 years, he needs to be on this list. Brees is still playing at an absurdly elite level, and with Sean Payton’s return to the helm, I see his numbers staying the same, if not improving from last year. The Saints held onto his favorite target Marques Colston, and with other weapons like Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, and Darren Sproles still there, I see Brees having another hall-of-fame caliber season.
Tony Gonzalez- Yes
As long as Tony Gonzalez is on the field, it’s a yes. The 37-year old Tight End came back from a brief retirement to give it one more go with this incredible Atlanta offense. Gonzalez’s work ethic is unparalleled in the NFL, and as long as he can walk, he will play. As we’ve said before, tight end is weak this year, so there is no problem with waiting until the later rounds for a guy like Gonzalez who will consistently get you 10-12 points a game, and more when he finds the endzone. Don’t let his age fool you. Gonzalez is still one of the best.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY CONTRIBUTING WRITER KEVIN TAYLOR