By: Luke Grilli (@lgrilli88)
Let me preface this article with there are definitely some teams in the basements of their league that will look past this article. You shouldn’t! If you are building for 2015/2016, why do you need an old guy who will be retired before your team ever sniffs the playoffs again? Answer: you don’t. However, if you do have one of these guys, there is a good chance that you could move them for some talented players or picks that WILL help you when you rise from the doldrums.
Peyton Manning- 37 years old
We all know the story of the future first ballot hall of famer. After sitting out 2011 with a neck injury, Manning eventually signed with the Broncos and put on a clinic in 2012. Without missing a beat, he finished with 4363 yards, 34 TDs and 11 INTs and led MANY fantasy teams too a championship. With the signing of Wes Welker, there is even more hype surrounding the signal caller. If you have a team that is perennially failing to finish in the top tier, why not trade Peyton to a team that has a chance of winning? If you can get a young QB like Russell Wilson and a first round pick or two, you have to pull the trigger.
Frank Gore-30 years old
Even though Fragile Frank just hit the doomed 30 year old mark, his value may be as high as it has ever been. In 2011 and 2012, Gore hit back to back seasons of 16 games played. Of course, these are the two years that I DON’T have him on my team, but that is besides the point. When healthy, he is a perfect RB2. He won’t win you any games, but he surely won’t lose you any either. Use the fact that he’s been healthy for two straight seasons to your advantage. Maybe offer the contender Frank Gore for Lamar Miller? Miller is the young gun of the two, but Gore has the track record. If I’m the one in the hunt for the championship, I’d like a sure thing over the unknown.
Steven Jackson- 30 years old
Like Gore, Jackson’s value is extremely high even when he opens up the season at age 30. Jackson’s signing with the Falcons has boosted his fantasy stock to the highest it has been since 2006. In Atlanta, Jackson will finally get the chance to put up true RB1 numbers, where he surely will be used as a receiver out of the backfield and have a shot at 15 total TDs. Unlike Gore, Jackson has a real chance to win you games and a championship in 2013. I would begin my negotiations with Jackson for his replacement, Daryl Richardson, a depth WR and and at least a first round pick. I’m not necessarily sold on Richardson, but Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher is and that is all that matters.
Reggie Wayne- Turning 35 on 11/17/13
Woah. I thought 2011 was the end of Reggie Wayne. Sure, the QB play was horrendous, but it seemed like Wayne lost a step during the season. After we saw Wayne’s 2012′s re-emergence, it was obvious he was disinterested playing with Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins. Can you really blame him? Andrew Luck coming to Indi showed that Wayne has plenty left in the tank, but how much longer will he continue to put up WR2 numbers? I say if an owner is looking towards the future, the 2001 first round pick can be traded for knckle head and 4 game suspendee Justin Blackmon. This deal works great for both sides. Blackmon is a legit WR2 with WR1 upside over the next 10 years, but most likely won’t line any team up for a championship since he will be sitting at home Weeks 1-4, which translates into almost 1/3 of your fantasy football regular season.
Steve Smith- 34 years old
Reggie Wayne’s 2001 draft classmate continues to impress down in Carolina. Some thought his time in the NFL may be over after 2010′s dreadful 46 catch 554 yard and 2 TD season, but like Wayne, the arrival of a rookie QB seemed to give the WR some more pep in his step. The always feisty Steve Smith responded to Cam Newton under center with the 2nd most single season receiving yards in his career with 1308 and 6 TDs. Smith followed up 2011 with an impressive 2012 campaign of 70 catches for 1101 and 4 TDs, finishing as a solid WR2. I would think that Steve Smith is worth a player like TY Hilton or possibly even Michael Floyd
Tony Gonzalez- 37 years old
Wait…I thought there was a 5% chance Tony Gonzalez would return for the 2013 season? Apparently the inability to finally get to a Super Bowl was enough to turn that 5% into 100%. Gonzalez worked out a deal with the Falcons so he could play the role of “Dad” during training camp and not “All Time TE Great”, and it should work out for both sides. Matt Ryan will get back his security blanket and the Falcons are considered a favorite to represent the NFC in The Super Bowl. Gonzo will be great for redraft and elite fantasy teams, but how much will the 37 help your struggling squad? I would try to find an owner that may own one of the young Colts TEs (Fleener or Allen) or the Kyle Rudolph owner and insist that they give you a 2nd round pick along with one of those young TEs, in return for Tony Gonzalez
Each owner values their players differently, so this is just a few examples of what old vets may get you on the market. Let me give you one word of advice though. If you are looking to hoist the trophy at the end of the season, holding onto a prospect probably won’t get you there. While you definitely want to set yourself up for the future, remember to live in the moment and go for the win now!
Let me know on Twitter or in the comments of any older vets you have been able to secure, or trade, in order to set your team up for success…whether it be short term or long term.