Buyer Beware: Fantasy Football WRs’ 30 years +
As we are gearing up to begin the 2023 NFL Season, it’s a good time to look at your dynasty fantasy football roster and see where improvements can be made.
It’s a new year and what that means is veterans are a year older, which traditionally means some players are slowing down and on their way out of being fantasy relevant.
It’s up to us to get ahead of that curve and either avoid drafting them altogether in dynasty and/or if you own them, make sure you get a more long-term asset in trade options.
If you are in a new startup league and/or have a draft coming up, I am going to highlight some WRs to avoid as they are aging toward the tail end of their careers and production. If you are currently in a league and have one of these players on your roster, look to trade them and see if you can get younger talent/draft picks in return to help build longevity for your team.
Once players (mainly focusing on RBs & WRs here) start to turn 30, historically we have been able to see just how quickly their production has stagnated.
As dynasty players, it’s important to stay ahead of trends. I would much rather trade an aging top-tier vet and get some return than wait until they either retire and/or stop producing fantasy points at the starter level.
In recent memory, here are some who have faded quietly into the sunset after lengthy careers in elite-level production.
History & Trends
WR Jordy Nelson - During the 2014 season, 31-year-old Jordy Nelson put up insane numbers. 97 receptions, 1257 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Just one year later in his year 32 campaign, he put up 53 catches for 482 yards and 6 touchdowns. That was with Green Bay and he played in 15 games that year.
WR Julio Jones - Julio Jones was 30 years old in 2019 when he posted 99 receptions for 1394 yards and 6 touchdowns. The following year when he turned 31, he had 51 grabs for 771 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mind you, he did only play 9 games, but he has not returned to fantasy relevancy since this time. Injuries can take a much larger toll on rehabilitation for older-aged vets.
WR AJ Green - Wide receiver AJ Green was 29 in 2017 where he caught 75 passes for 1078 yards and 8 TD’s. Just the very next season, 2018 when he turned 30, he played only 9 games but caught 46 passes for 694 yards and 6 touchdowns. Similar to Julio, he has not returned to elite-level fantasy production since.
Now that you see my point, it's more important than ever to avoid targeting the list of WRs that I am about to mention. If they are currently on your roster, I would strongly advise looking for a trade partner and getting any value you can receive.
When attempting to build a long-standing dynasty, it’s important to be ahead of the curve and not let your team rot with old-age production. So let’s get into my list of 30-year-old WR prospects for 2023 that I am completely avoiding having on my dynasty rosters.
Keenan Allen, WR Las Angeles Chargers
Entering his 31 age season, Keenan Allen is currently a fairly hot target, even in re-draft leagues. I mean he does have Justin Herbert as his franchise QB and stacked position groups to help what should be a very dominant offense. Keenan Allen has been the primary guy there for quite a long time, but taking a look at him, he is reminding me very much of Julio Jones and AJ Green situations here. He’s coming off a season where he played in 10 games and caught 66 passes for 752 yards and 4 touchdowns and now enters his age 31 campaign. Will he be able to bounce back and remain a fantasy asset with this loaded offense? The Chargers just drafted Quentin Johnson in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft and signed WR Mike Williams to a 3yr extension in 2022. Keenan Allen may certainly be the odd man out here, he is no longer a long-term option. In Dynasty, Allen is on my list of WRs to completely avoid as he is now 31, coming off an injury in a crowded offense. I think his long-time WR production dominance is quickly coming to a close.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR Tennesee Titans
Recently signed WR Deandre Hopkins, is another wideout that I am completely avoiding rostering on my dynasty rosters. There are a couple of red flags where now my mindset goes - How can I get the most in return for him for a future asset? Hopkins's last pro-bowl appearance came in 2020, his age-28 campaign with the Arizona Cardinals. He posted 115 grabs for 1407 yards and 6 touchdowns. PHEW - Hopkins was elite. But now looking at the scenario, he is now entering his 31year old season and has already been dropping production the last couple of years. In 2021 he only played 10 games, and in 2022 he played 9. He has not played in a full season since his last pro bowl appearance. When Hopkins was attempting to get out of Arizona, the Cardinals could not find a trade partner willing to take on the aging WR’s contract. This led to his release and eventually his signing with the Tennesee Titans (who gave him a very luxurious contract for his age). Although he is in an offense with targets to go around and certainly can command some targets, as a dynasty target, Hopkins is someone that I am again also completely avoiding. With his injury history the last couple of years, and now entering his aged 31-year season, I would not draft him in a start and I would look to a competitor to trade with and potentially get some value back before his production completely flatlines.
Brandin Cooks, WR Dallas Cowboys
Cooks has been such a consistent WR value since entering the league in 2014. It’s weird to remember he was drafted by the Saints, he has played with so many different teams and offensive systems and still came out as a constant producer. But has father time caught up to Brandin Cooks? He is now entering his age 30 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, where people are expecting him to be a valuable contributor. In 2022 with the Texans at age 29, Cooks recorded 57 catches for 699 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was only the second time in his career that he did not top 1000 receiving yards. As a dynasty prospect, Cooks is not draftable to me, and if I own him, I again am trying to recoup some value before it depreciates even more. Entering his age-30 season after nearly giving up on the Texans last year, I am making sure he is not on any rosters that I have. He’s another prime player you may be able to trade and get back some value for a future long-term asset.
Odell Beckham Jr, WR Baltimore Ravens
Beckham Jr has had such a tremendous up-and-down career in the NFL. When he has been on, he has had elite-level production and capabilities. But that now seems so few and far between. I remember when I first got into Dynasty in 2015/2016, just how high Odell was on the rankings at that time. But with Dynasty, he is someone again that I am completely ignoring. He has recently signed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he should have a nice-sized target share. But, mind you Beckham did not play in 2022 while recovering from a grade 3 Torn ACL, which occurred in the 2021 Super Bowl. That is a significant injury for a WR at Beckham’s age. Beckham Jr is now entering his age 31 season with a brand new team. Even in his last season, 2021, he played only 13 games (with the Browns and Rams later on) and only had 44 catches for 537 yards and 5 touchdowns. His last pro bowl appearance was in 2016 when he was 24 and played with the New York Giants. If you are trying to build a dynasty roster to compete in the future, avoid Beckham at all costs.
Adam Thielen, WR Carolina Panthers
Thielen reminds me a lot of the Jordy Nelson situation, especially when he left for the Raiders. Veteran WR Adam Thielen has joined a new team the Carolina Panthers, with rookie #1 pick Bryce Young. As he enters his age 33 campaign, he is someone that should not be on your dynasty radar. He has been under 1000 receiving yards every year since 2018, but his touchdown volume has made him somewhat still fantasy relevant in recent years. But he is now on one of the worst NFL offenses in the league, with a rookie QB. This has red flags all over it. As I’m sure retirement may just be around the corner, do not add him to your dynasty rosters in any form. Even if he was the last pick available in a startup draft, I would target an undrafted rookie or one of the younger players available. If you do own him on your roster, I would highly recommend trying to trade him to a contending team. If he can capture a large target share, even for a season, you may be able to get a late-round pick in return. If you’re not able to trade him, I would take a look at the waiver wire to target anyone younger that may be a more long-term asset.
Whether you are new to a dynasty league or currently roster these guys on your team, the same still applies - Avoid them at all costs. If you can, try and recoup some value from them from a league mate who may be willing to take on an aging vet. But for dynasty purposes, there is plenty of younger talent around that you should be focused on when building your roster. No matter where you are in your Dynasty journey, I would avoid these WRs at all costs for the future of your team
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