Andrew Brennan
7/1/2016

Fantasy Life App Username: Andrew9
Email: apb4424@gmail.com

                                                                       Top 10 Veteran Discounts

In fantasy, we almost never discriminate.  We care only about the points our players score and the value that we buy them at.  Yet every year the majority of fantasy players discount players on the wrong side of the hill.  It is understood that a player's production will most likely decrease with age and injury risk is heightened.  However, the thing that fantasy players need to focus on is value.  Late in the draft what is the shame of taking an older player that we know instead of a shot on a youngster?  Is it impossible for an older player to step into a new role and thrive similar to a young player?  So it is important to identify just a few veterans that that people are undervaluing.  So I did just that.  Here they are in no particular order.

 (Player- Age- ADP)

1. Desean Jackson - 29 - WR33 - Jackson is still only 29 years old so it could be argued he shouldn't even be on this list, but it feels like he has been around forever.  He has proven himself an expert of creating separation and taking the top off the defense.  Over his 8 year career he has mastered the deep third of the field.  He probably will virtually only run routes in the deep third but that's all he needs to do to be productive since he is elite at that particular skill.  His situation feels the best it’s been in years, with J.Reed controlling the middle of the field, Jamison Crowder in the Slot along with a talented rook to round out their receiving core.  Kirk Cousins seems more than able to move the ball down the field as he had an underrated breakout season last year owning the 6th best QBR in the league above guys like Brady, Rodgers and Newton (Look it up, it’s true!).  Matt Jones should be good enough to warrant a safety's attention at least occasionally but not steal targets from any WR because of his lack of receiving capability.  They have a lot of players that can occupy the middle of the field and dominant on short and intermediate routes leaving the deep third open for Desean.  It seems like his value at 33 is more than fair.  He is a great WR4 and if you feel the need to go RB early he could be an alright WR3.

2. Danny Woodhead- 31- RB39-  WOW!  I mean this guy was the #10 STANDARD scoring RB last year. That's in standard!  Just wow.  Okay, let's move on.  I am really liking Melvin Gordon this year but this ADP screams value.  This is easily one of the most undervalued players in the Y! Player pool.  Philip Rivers seems to have a great connection with him, and the Chargers have proven that they trust him in the red zone as Woody got more Red Zone targets than any other RB.  He even had more Red Zone targets than Tyler Eifert and Julian Edelman.  He also caught the same amount of balls as Allen Robinson and Eric Decker last year.  It seems that because Melvin Gordon struggles catching balls Woodhead's receiving stats and TD's seem like they're fairly obtainabl again this year even if Melvin does take a step forward.  In fact, Woodhead can regress a fair amount and still provide value from the 39th RB.  If I could get Woodhead at RB39, he would be on ALL of my teams this year.

3. Frank Gore- 33- RB26- Unlike Woodhead this ADP position does not jump off the page, yet still could be very valuable.  Frankly put, last year was a disaster for the Colts and this lead to a depressing fantasy output from every Colt's player including Gore.  However, they have beefed up their offensive line considerably.  In the draft they added two lineman I really, really like Ryan Kelly and Joe Haeg.  Ryan Kelly in my opinion profiles as a quality NFL center immediately.  With their second selection they took Joe Haeg who was Carson Wentz’s best lineman playing both OT spots well in college.  With Luck healthy again and an improved line Gore has a nice rushing opportunity.  The knock that I keep hearing on Gore is that he is 33 and is likely to be injured.  I recognize the fact that as a RB plays he has a greater chance of injury, but Frank has played 16 games in his last  5 consecutive seasons and has never played less than 11 games in his entire career.  Gore doesn't have to play as well as he did 5 years ago to produce low end RB2 or high end RB3 numbers.  If he can just fall in the end zone a few times he will be a nice bargain.

4. Philip Rivers- 34- QB11- Until Keenan Allen had a freak injury in week 9 last year, Philip Rivers was a top 5 QB. He averaged over 20.6 points per contest through week 8, through Cam Newton’s  first 8 games he averaged 20.3 points. Pretty impressive! With Keenan Allen running routes once again, the Chargers offense is ready to get back on track and Rivers appears ready to achieve similar success to the first half of last year. Also, San Diego has a putrid defense that teams will most likely be able to score all over, along with a question mark in the running game, Philip Rivers could easily be among the league leaders in pass attempts. Rivers has become a proven player, year in and year out proving he must be in the conversation of an elite QB. QB this year is SO deep so I suggest waiting, especially because you can still absolutely get quality ones late.

5. Rashad Jennings- 31- RB45-  RB45 is beyond ridiculous.  This guy is not the 45th best fantasy running back.  This ranking really makes me question some stuff.  How could the likely lead back on a offense expected to be pretty good be the 45th RB off the board?  I don't care how old or injury prone he is, there is still a chance he finishes as a top 15 back.  I gave you a little Rashad Jennings rant here http://thecountyfs.com/andrew-brennan-bold-predictions  but I will give you some more points to consider.  Tom Coughlin and his tendency to shuffle RB’s around and put fumblers in the dog house are gone and Rashad doesn't have to learn a new play book because it’s the same offense that Ben Mcadoo ran in 2015.  Rashad Jennings YPC last year was 4.43 compared to Lamar Miller’s who had 4.49 YPC and Lesean McCoy’s who had 4.41 YPC.  The Giants play !10! out of 16 games against teams that had rushing defenses in the bottom 12 last year.  Now, should Lesean McCoy be 30-35 RB’s ahead of Rashad? Just realize the value you get when buying Jennings.

6. Legarrette Blount-29-RB48- Blount is the kind of guy I would like to get late in the draft.  Maybe the last 3 or 4 rounds. The patriots are notorious for shifting around backs and having unpredictable roles week to week.  Well... that probably won’t change this year, but there is at least only two backs that seem likely to be primary ball handlers.  Blount appears to have a goal line role so TD’s might be there and he quite possibly could see a decent amount of carries between the 20.  When getting this late in drafts we can’t hope for 25 touches per game so we won't be disappointed with the touches Blount seems likely to receive.  He probably will get 10-15 carries per game but could score a fair amount of TD’s.  If he can get 50 or so yards on those 10-15 carries and crosses the chalk that will provide a lot of value.  That stat line is pretty reasonable and there's always a chance that Dion Lewis gets injured or isn't as effective as we all think he will be and Blount earns a larger role.

7. Antonio Gates-36-TE13- For the record, I am not a Chargers fan. I live in NJ and am a Patriot fan, it is just that while going over the ten veterans I like the most 30% of them were on 1 team.  Anyway... Antonio is no longer at the top of the TE class, like he was for so long.  He is entering the season at age 36 and it feels like it could be his last.  Largely because of Antonio's injury frequency he can not be trusted as a TE1 yet would make a very nice TE2.  It still seems as if he will be a focal point of the offense and a pillar for them in the red zone.  If healthy, Antonio will probably be trustworthy week to week, if the matchup isn’t completely terrible.  It feels like every year I expect his level of play to decline but it really hasn’t.  When he is on the field he looks like one of the top 5 receiving TE’s in the league.  He seems like a perfect fit for Jared’s 3 TE strategy (http://thecountyfs.com/three-tight-end) because if he does stay healthy, and that’s a big IF, he could return plenty of value, and if not than you still have two other TE’s.

8. Deangelo WIlliams-33-RB33-  “Andrew, why would you want to draft a 33 year old RB that is a backup to one of the most talented players in the league?”  Good question! Deangelo is probably somebody I will be drafting quite frequently in drafts this year.  He has proven that if Leveon Bell gets injured he can step in and be a top 5 fantasy back.  So there is really no player that is going anywhere close to where he is that has as much plausible upside than Mr. Williams, and as you know, I am looking for floor in the beginning rounds and ceiling in the later rounds.  Also, NO, he is not just a handcuff, the notion that Williams only carries value to the owners of Leveon Bell is preposterous.  It is not like if Bell gets injured Williams would ONLY help the Bell owner.  For example, I am drafting WR early so I probably won't have the best RB’s in the league, so if I take a late round flier on Williams and he gets the job my team is looking really, really nice.  Or even if someone goes RB early, Williams with the starting gig can fetch an elite WR in return in a trade.  Another sneaky move to make is to draft  Williams and trade him to the Bell owner for the handcuff.  Obviously Williams has more value on the team with Bell but it's not the only team he holds value with.

9. Mike Wallace-29-WR68- Mike Wallace has intrigued me ever since he signed with the Ravens. It is kind of crazy remembering just 3 years ago when he and Antonio Brown were seen as similar types of talent.  If you don’t remember in the years the two of them played together (2010-2012) Brown averaged 3.97 receptions per game and Wallace averaged 4.17.  Wallace then signed with Miami, and was terrible, meanwhile Brown soared to being one of the premier WR in the league.  Brown's success obviously continued and Wallace’s struggles continued into the cold of Minnesota.  But looking at his career his success came with a strong armed QB (Big Ben) and the next 2 seasons he spent with QB’s who struggle to throw the deep ball (Bridgewater and Tannehill) but now joins a prolific deep ball hurler with Joe Flacco.  Again, evaluating the player is just half of the story, we don't read only the odd pages of books, so we need to remember to look at the ADP.  It feels like Wallace could be set up to succeed, with the decline of Steve Smith, the often injured and young Perriman and Kamar Aiken (Who I actually like). In standard leagues, and especially in MFL 10's, where boom or bust players are valuable, Wallace will be under valued.


10. Tom Brady-38-QB9- I am going to do all of us a favor and skip the "deflated balls" joke and just move on.  The Patriots offense is always one of the best in the league, and their offense just added a new toy.  The "Black Unicorn" gives the Pats a dynamic duo at tight end, with Edelman, Amendola, and the rookie Malcolm Mitchell on the outside to go along with the Dion Lewis, a.k.a the "grease weasel" receiving out of the backfield.  The situation is prime for another season of elite passing for Brady.  The value at QB9 seems fair, because despite the looming suspension, he could easily be a top 4 quarterback on a per game basis.  There really is not much convincing to do on Brady, besides getting you through the first four weeks (potentially) without him.  So if you take Brady, consider these QB’s with great schedules through week 4 to pair with Tom: Derek Carr (ATL, @TEN, @BAL, SD) or Matthew Stafford (TEN, @GB, @CHI, @PHI).  They have cheap prices and could produce extremely valuable numbers, in the weeks Brady will miss.