Don’t be an Ageist — Part 2!

By Avery Jones, DFW Writer 


While the average NFL career is only three years, these guys surpassed that a long time ago. When your draft comes around and everyone targets the young, high potential players. These three guys will be there ready for you to scoop them up and help lead you to glory. When it comes to these players, age really is just a number. Note — in addition, Clint Willman covered other older players who are still useful fantasy assets in this DFW article a few weeks back.  

FFWIMAGE-RavensSteve Smith Sr. (BAL
Steve smthComing off of a torn Achilles, Steve Smith is bound to fall down draft boards. This guy is a stud though, and betting against Steve Smith is something I would never do. At the ripe age of 37, Smith’s competitive edge is just as it was 10 years ago. His fiery personality is second to none in the NFL, and he loves to prove people wrong. There will be a lot of doubters this year, and that’s exactly what Steve Smith lives for. While playing for a below par team last year, Smith had a great seven weeks before getting hurt. He was targeted at least 7 times every game, and had over 75 yards in 5 of the 7. Not to mention though, Smith had some massive games too. Posting 186, 150, and 137 yards in three separate games. While not even playing half the season he posted 670 yards and 3 touchdowns. A full season for Smith and he likely would have finished among the top 7 WRs last year. Without the injury, Smith might be retired but luckily for you he isn’t. A player with the fire and passion Smith has, plus an elite QB like Joe Flacco, Smith is in for a big year. Let the younger guys fly off the board, and wait there patiently for Steve Smith Sr. to fall right in your lap. In most Mock Drafts, they have Steve Smith as the 50th-best WR for the 2016 season. Even with a down year, Smith will bring value. Steve Smith is the perfect pick for you guys out there who love low floor, high ceiling type of players. In the later rounds of the draft, Steve Smith would be an absolute steal.


FFWIMAGE-GiantsRashad Jennings (NYG)
Rashad Jennings has burned me every year. Every year I convince not only myself, but also others that this is the year of Rashad CaptureJennings. Then he disappoints, and makes me look like an idiot. But lucky for you, this year is really the year of Rashad Jennings. Every other year it seemed obvious, Jennings had very little competition and due to injuries, fumbling issues or just not performing, Jennings didn’t perform up to expectations. Last season was actually Jennings best season when it came to yards, carries and games played. Even then, I almost felt a feeling of dissatisfaction with Jennings when the season ended. Now looking forward, Jennings is primed for a big year. With a new head coach, a new rookie running back who looks to push him, and even more weapons on offense for defenses to worry about. Jennings looks ready to go, saying in an interview recently that he feels more comfortable than ever and is finally becoming a real pro. A player who is finally matured, and is “old” at the age of 31, I think Jennings has a lot left in his legs. While only scoring 3 touchdowns last year that’s the one thing holding back Jennings from being a top tier RB in this league. A RB who will never be a goal line bruiser, getting a few touchdowns poached is inevitable but I would expect his touchdown numbers to at least double. I also think Jennings is in for a boost in the passing game. With 296 yards last year, the new offense could give that a boost. The 2016 season is poised to be a big year, and I expect Jennings to eclipse the thousand-yard rushing mark for the first time. While he might be on the wrong side of 30, Jennings doesn’t have anywhere close to the miles other RBs have. In comparison, Adrian Peterson has over 2,000 carriers while Jennings has fewer than 800. A big year offensively for the Giants could mean big things for Rashad Jennings. While elite RBs fly off the board early, fill your roster up a little and take Jennings later. Jennings is the perfect player if you don’t like using your first couple picks on RBs but still want some talent.

FFWIMAGE-RavensBen Watson (BAL)

watsonBen Watson has been a bit part player for the better part of his career, which is actually a good thing from a fantasy perspective. While 35 is quite old for a TE, Watson has never been a go-to TE. A lot of the time Watson has spent in this league has involved backing up TEs or blocking. Last year Watson had the best year of his career, which is a great sign for any player no matter the age. With 74 receptions and 825 yards that is the closest Watson has ever been to a thousand yards. A change of scenery could be exactly what Watson needed. Moving to the Ravens could see him increase his production. Watson isn’t ever going to put up Gronk numbers of course, but if he could match his numbers from last season that would be more than enough for you to take him in the last round of a draft. A lot of websites don’t even think he will be good enough to be draft. With Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams on the roster, you might wonder why I’m so high on Ben Watson. Neither player has ever proved they can play in this league, and to me that is everything in the NFL. There have been hundreds of players with potential, but to me it’s all about what you have done. Watson has proven to be durable and hardworking throughout his career, playing almost a full season more often then not. When training camp comes around, every year we expect the young guys to beat out the old guys only to be surprised when a player like Ben Watson is starting week 1. Proven dependability is something that Ben Watson brings to the table that no other TE on that team does. With a big arm like Joe Flacco and very little options on offense, Ben Watson is in line to have a good season. As someone you could take with your last pick, he could end up being a great addition while the rest of your league just takes young players who don’t end up doing anything. Sometimes potential isn’t greater than proven production. Click here the 2016 DFW Ben Watson Trading Spaces published in late May.