Thu Jan 30th 2020
10 Past-Their-Prime Players
Sell them if you can
In my last post, I wrote about ten bounce-back players. Here I write about ten players that I believe are past their prime. They had what I think will be the best year of their career last year and have no hope of getting back to the dynasty value they recently had. This does not mean they won't have one or two more productive years ahead of them, but it means they will likely not score more points than they did this last year.
- Rodgers finished as the #9 to #11 quarterback depending on scoring (4 or 6 points per touchdown), which makes him a top-12 quarterback, but anyone who owned him this year knows that's not accurate. He had four great games, but the rest were just average. Several things make me think we've seen the best of one of the bests in Aaron Rodgers. Many other quarterbacks have passed him by in recent years, especially those who get yards on the ground. Every quarterback ahead of Rodgers has more rushing yards than Rodgers, who had the lowest career yards rushing of his career (barring the in 2013 and 2017 years when he was injured). Now that he is older, he is more cautious as a runner while the best dynasty quarterbacks are rising in value as the game has changed to favor their mobility. Green Bay had not provided Rodgers the kind of weapons he once had when he was a perennial top 5 quarterback. Devante Adams is the only good pass catcher in Green Bay. They will likely draft another wide receiver this year, perhaps even in the first round, as some suggest. Still, Rodgers plays favorites with his receivers and expects a lot out of them, so by the time they catch up, Rodgers will be another year older with more younger quarterbacks passing him by again. It was an incredible decade being on top, but he's not going to be a top twelve quarterback next year.
- Whereas Rodgers still has the passing skills to be great but is limited by circumstances, Rivers was loaded with play-makers this year but lost the skills to distribute the ball to them. I am a huge Rivers fan and have him on several of my dynasty teams, but I have to admit that his dynasty value is now shot. It appears he will not be returning to the Chargers, and I don't like his chances of playing well on a new team if he even gets a chance to do so next year. I liked Rivers so much because he was always a top 12 quarterback at the end of the year. His consistency was off the charts. This year he finished as the #16 to #19 quarterback (depending on the scoring system), and I don't believe he will finish higher than that again, though that may not be such a bold prediction compared to the others.
- Chris Carson finished as the #9 ranked running back even though he missed the last three games of the year due to injury. He was quite a surprise. I still believe he has many good years ahead of him since he is only 25, but I do not think he will finish as a top 12 running back ever again. Here are a couple of reasons why. As much as Seattle has committed to be a run-first team in recent years, they are building a team that is better suited for passing. D.K. Metcalf has a phenomenal year for a rookie on a run-first team, and Tyler Lockett was a top-13 fantasy receiver again last year. Will Dissly was on pace (though it's a small sample size) to be the #1 tight end of the year before he was hurt. Most importantly, Seattle has to realize that Russell Wilson is their best player, and they have to let him win games for them. Rashaad Penny lost weight last year, and when he was not injured, he looked comparable to Carson, though not quite as good. The biggest reason, however, is that there are rookies in this year's draft that are going to start for teams next year and rocket right past guys like Chris Carson that is not just not as talented. Carson did what he did this year with grit and tremendous opportunities. Next year others will pass by him with tremendous talent and even more opportunity.
- I sold my Freeman shared two years ago, so this may be redundant, but for anyone still holing out hope for Freeman, it's time to stop hoping. He finished the year as the #21 ranked running back, and I believe it will be his last year as a top-24 running back. Atlanta's best weapons are in the passing game with Julio, Ridley, Hooper (if they resign him). They need to pass to win. Atlanta is a prime candidate to take one of the stud running backs in the first or second round this year too. They know they have seen the best of Freeman. Last year's fifth-round pick, Qadree Ollison did not pan out, which makes me think they will go for one of the top tier guys this year instead of trying to hit on a bottom tier guys like they did last year. Freeman was a top-five running back several years ago but has declined or been injured every year since. He is a declining dynasty asset that should have been sold two years ago.
- James White has been PPR gold as an RB-2 the last few years, but I am afraid his time as a secret weapon is winding up. He finished this year as the #22 ranked running back after finishing as the #9 ranked running back the year before. I think his value is going to continue to decline. There is no guarantee that Brady, who targeted running backs more often as he got older, will be back next year. It's an increasingly loaded backfield, and I still believe Damien Harris is the best running back in New England. His best playing days were paired with Tom Brady's, and that's finally coming to an end. I have him in my FFPC dynasty league, which is 20-man rosters, including a kicker and a defense. If Brady is not resigned, I will drop James White, even though it's a PPR league.
- Although Edelman was one of the most consistent wide receivers this year, finishing as the #9 ranked wide receiver, I don't believe he will ever be this good again. As I just said, Tom Brady may be on his way out. Edelman is 33 years old and played far worse near the end of the season as his body took a beating. I have never owned Edelman, but if I did, I would have tried to sell him several years ago. I could have been wrong, given that he maintained a consistent WR-2 value in the last few years, and this years was a WR-1, but I can't see how he could be a WR-1 ever again. He could be a WR-2 next year if Brady returns, but he's past his prime for sure.
- This one is a little different than the others, given that Fuller did not have a great year. He finished as the wide receiver #58, but people value him way higher than that. He is going to have seasons better than this year, but he will never produce to the level than some owners believe he will. I would try to find the one owner that still values him as a top 20-30 dynasty wide receiver and sell him now. He's proven that he cannot stay healthy. It's as simple as that for me. I want nothing to do with Will Fuller going forward.
- I could say much of the same for Alshon Jeffery as I did with Will Fuller. He cannot stay healthy. He finished the season as the #24 wide receiver in average points per game, but he missed eight games due to injuries. He's 29 years old and even at that middle-age seems past his prime. Philadelphia addressed the wide receiver position in the draft (J.J. Arcega-Whiteside) and free agency (DeSean Jackson) last year, so they recognize their need for help. The odds are that they do so again this year with this deep wide receiver class. Some analysts are projecting them to draft a wide receiver in the first round. Jeffery and Wentz have a great connection when they're playing together. It's just not that often that they do.
- I love Jared Cook. He's on a lot of my teams, and he made me proud last year with the Saints and two years ago with the Raiders. He had the best two years of his career, but I think it's safe to say those will remain the best two years of his career. Two years ago, he relied upon 101 targets to amass his fantasy points. Last year he relied on his nine touchdowns. His targets in Oakland could be counted on as we saw with the way Oakland targeted Darren Waller this year after Cook left for New Orleans, but touchdowns are far less reliable even with the high scoring Saints. While I am less concerned about age when it comes to tight end compare to running back or wide receiver, he is 33 years old, and there is a host of young tight ends that are poised to pass him and become top 12 tight ends in the years to come, pushing Cook out of the top 12 for the rest of his career.
- I'm taking a bit of a stand here, but I do not believe the ridiculous end-of-the-year run by Higbee is indicative of what he will become. Higbee scored 19 points per game the last five games of the season while averaging 4 points per game before that time. I'm not buying it. Higbee was a fourth-round pick while his competitor, Gerald Everett, was a second-round pick. Everett was playing ahead of Higbee until he was injured and should have the chance to play ahead of him again next year. I picked up Higbee in several leagues late last season and have been trying to sell him for a 2020 second-round rookie pick. I guess others do not believe the hype either because I have not been able to sell him at that price. I would be surprised if Higbee were ever a top-12 tight end ever again.
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