We’re speeding towards fantasy championships and many are already in playoffs. And most team owners are not. The season is winding down in the NFL and that means we are seeing some of the final games for aging players. Let’s take a look at those about to “age out.” Below are charts showing the number of players at every age within their position.
Oldest starters: Tom Brady (40), Drew Brees (38), Josh McCown (38), Carson Palmer (38), Eli Manning (36), Philip Rivers (36), Ben Roethlisberger (35)
The difference with quarterbacks is that each draft class only produces about six to eight active players and the core of three or four will usually last through around age 36. Josh McCown has been mostly a career back-up. Drew Brees and Tom Brady have already exceeded the standard and both at least speak to playing next year. Carson Palmer is likely to retire and even Ben Roethlisberger spoke to it last summer and he’s a full five years younger than Brady.
Oldest starters: Darren Sproles (34), Frank Gore (34), Adrian Peterson (32), Matt Forte (32), Danny Woodhead (32), Marshawn Lynch (31), Jamaal Charles (31), LeGarrette Blount (32), Jonathan Stewart (30)
This is just what you would expect. The glut of backs are very young and then start to decline at age 25. There are only eight backs of any note still playing by the age of 30. And once they hit 33, they are almost all gone. Sproles and Woodhead landed on injured reserve. Have we seen the last of Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson, and Matt Forte?
The ranks of backs over 30 are all players that disappointed this year. None of them are taking a heavy workload though Peterson did temporarily before being injured.
The 29-year-old backs are LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, DeMarco Murray and Alfred Morris.
Oldest starters: Larry Fitzgerald (34), Brandon Marshall (33), Jordy Nelson (32), Ted Ginn (32), Danny Amendola (32), DeSean Jackson (31), Pierre Garcon (31), Julian Edelman (31), Mike Wallace (31), Michael Crabtree (30), Demaryius Thomas (30), Eric Decker (30), Emmanuel Sanders (30)
It is interesting that wide receivers are not likely to play after the age of 30 and that they are done by age 32 for all but… Larry Fitzgerald who defies all logic and laws of nature. Brandon Marshall was already in steep decline. Jordy Nelson looks to be in trouble though with Aaron Rodgers all things are possible. Of all those wideouts over the age of 30, only Fitzgerald and Crabtree have been difference makers.
Have to wonder what 2018 holds for the Broncos with their starting wideouts both hitting 31 years of age. And as great as Nelson has been, he’s about to hit the very rare air.
Oldest starters: Antonio Gates (37), Ben Watson (37), Jason Witten (35), Delanie Walker (33), Vernon Davis (33), Greg Olsen (32), Jimmy Graham (31), Martellus Bennett (30), Jared Cook (30)
Age 30 takes a toll even on tight ends. Delanie Walker is the oldest with any significant fantasy value. Greg Olsen is already breaking down. And have to worry about Jimmy Graham who hits 32 next year. Graham is scoring well but will end up with his lowest yardage and yards per catch.
Gates is certain to retire as will Watson. Witten says he wants to play more though he’s clearly less effective and is also looking at the lowest yards per catch of his career.