Fantasy: 3 WRs over the age of 33 to target in re-draft

Target Buccaneers Antonio Brown in redraft

By Zach Attack @FFChalupaBatman

The NFL is a young man’s game if you do not play quarterback.  However, you can usually find value in some older players late in your draft.  When playing re-draft you only have to focus on this season, so if the player is good and is playing this season then who cares if he retires after the season.  There are not too many WRs in the league at least 33 years old, but here are three plus an honorable mention, that you should consider drafting in your re-draft league.

*ADPs from fantasyfootballcalculator.com from 16,015 mock drafts from 2/10/21-4/25/21 for PPR

  1. Antonio Brown (TB) – will be 33 on 7/10/21 – current ADP 9.02 (WR41)

There is a lot of risk with Antonio Brown because he could potentially face another suspension due to ongoing legal issues, and he’s had quite a bit of questionable behavior the last few years.  In the 9th round, you are not really drafting a starting WR and he could be your WR4 that could score WR2 numbers.  There is an obvious risk, but the price is not too high and the value could be incredible.  There is no question that he was a dominant top WR while he played for the Pittsburgh Steeler through the 2018 season.  He even scored, a career-high, 15 TDs in 2018 when he was 30 years old.  There was a lot of drama in the offseason then he played one week for the New England Patriots in 2019 then he was suspended for the first 8 games of the 2020 season before playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 32 years old.

GamesReceptionsTargetsYardsTDs
845624834

In those 8 games, Brown played 323 out of 521 snaps (62%).  In the lineup, Antonio Brown was the WR3 behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin by snap count for all 8 weeks, except Week 17 when Mike Evans was injured after only playing 11 snaps.  In Week 17, Brown played 84% of the snaps and had his best stat line with the Bucs: 11 receptions, 15 targets, 138 yards, and 2 TDs for 36.8 fantasy points (14.6 fantasy points/game in 2020).  He also finished hot in the last three weeks of the season scoring all 4 TDs those weeks: 1 TD Week 15 (47% of snaps), 1 TD Week 16 (60%), and 2 TDs Week 17 (84%).  Brown became more comfortable in the offense those last few weeks of the season after being away from football for 1.5 seasons.  He had his 2nd highest career catch %, 72.6%.  Evans and Godwin are still on the roster, but both have injury concerns and Brown showed in the last few games that he can score with WR3 snaps.  I would not reach for Antonio Brown in my draft, but he will be a value as your WR4.  Also, if he starts off the season hot then he could be a great trade piece because of his name value in redraft.

  1. A.J. Green (ARI) – will be 33 on 7/31/21 – 14.06 (87)

At that draft cost, A.J. Green is basically “free” in redraft leagues.  Green signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, and 2020 was a year to forget after playing in all 16 games but did not play well at all.  Green missed the entire 2019 season after being injured during the preseason and missed the 2nd half of 2018 due to injury.  It has been a while, but Green finished as the WR10 in 2017 after playing all 16 games.  It is hard to use stats to justify A.J. Green being on this list, but there is a narrative.  Green did not seem happy in Cincinnati the last few years due to contract disputes and multiple injuries.  A change in scenery playing with a young, high potential QB and opposite DeAndre Hopkins.  He should not face double coverage with Hopkins on the field, and he hasn’t looked dangerous enough the last few seasons to warrant it.  Green could be a complete dud again in 2021, but you are drafting him at the end of your draft so worst case he looks terrible in the first couple weeks and you drop him.  There is still the possibility he will have good weeks from time to time and be a WR3/4 to help to cover your starters’ bye weeks or a flex spot.  There is no risk at the draft cost so give A.J. Green a shot at the end of your draft then worst case you drop him after the first week or two if he looks washed.

  1. Emmanuel Sanders (BUF) – 34 years old – 14.05 (84)

Emmanuel Sanders played for the New Orleans Saints in 2020, and two teams in 2019 (Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers).  He signed for the Buffalo Bills for the 2021 season, and will most likely play behind Cole Beasley in the slot.  Sanders does not have speed anymore, but he is still a route running technician and can get open.  Even in Sanders’s limited work last year and on an offense with QB changes, he still averaged 4.4 receptions per game and 51.9 yards per game.  He averaged 11.8 points per game last season, which was WR41.   I do not expect there to be much volume for Sanders, which is not ideal for fantasy football but he is a dart throw at the end of your draft on a great passing offense.  Just like with A.J. Green, Sanders has no risk and minimal cost to select at the end of your draft and you can cut him within the first couple of weeks if he does not see enough targets in his new offense.

HM.  DeSean Jackson (LAR) – 34 years old – 13.04 (67)

DeSean Jackson signed with the Los Angeles Rams for the 2021 season, and Matthew Stafford will be his new QB.  Jackson may be getting up there in age for a WR, but he still has speed.  He is probably the 4th WR on the depth chart behind Woods, Kupp, and Jefferson.  Jackson has never been a volume WR in his career.  He only needs one deep shot to make his week with the long TD reception.  He has had a lot of injuries the last few years, which has limited his playing time.  However, in 2018 Week 1 he scored 31.6 points with 2 TDs and in 2019 Week 1 he scored 35.4 points with 2 TDs, so maybe you hit some magic in Week 1 and if not drop him.  Again, no risk and lost draft cost.

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