Bring on the Gray Beards: Five Vets Who Can Help a Contending Team Win

Levi Chappell

There are a lot of different reasons why I love playing dynasty football, but one of the great things is trading year round. No matter if you are in week 15 of the NFL season and just about to make a playoff push, or it’s the middle of March and you are on a month long hangover from the Super Bowl and trying to get your sports fix by watching cactus league baseball (ugh). Just like DLF’s slogan… “There is no off-season”.

Every league has a different feel and every owner controls their team differently. I’m sure you have all been in a league where one owner has a death grip on his players and you know that he is never going trade them. I’m also sure you have had an owner in your league whose players vanish off his roster quicker than a snickers bar at a Weight Watchers convention. Neither is right or wrong, it’s just different.

I definitely lean towards the “always-tinkering”, “just one more trade” type of guy. I didn’t always used to be like that, but the longer I play dynasty, the more and more I crave the thrill of trading. My point is that trading is the best thing about dynasty and it is why dynasty trumps all other ways of playing fantasy football.

You may be trying to figure out what the title of this article means, so let me explain. I want to break down five veteran, gray-beard, long in the tooth, downright ancient (they aren’t that old) players who can help your team bring home the “ship” in 2018. While these players could definitely help anyone’s team, they will most likely fit well on a contending team. If you have a young, up-and-coming team, these may be players to stay away from as far as trade targets.

If you have a well built contending team, you have probably done your homework and have a nice blend of young studs and veteran players who will help score points. Typically a lot of contending teams sacrifice depth for Pro Bowl caliber players which is an effective strategy, but can bite you in the backside if a guy like David Johnson, A.J. Green, Rob Gronkowski, or Aaron Rodgers goes down to injury.

The players I am breaking down will not cost you an arm and a leg to acquire, yet could help you as a flex play, bye week fillers, or injury replacements. So here goes nothing…

Five “cheaper” veteran players who can help a contending team win in 2018:

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Kenny Stills

Stills, the youngin’ of this bunch (26 years old), is someone I have liked for quite sometime and have been beating the drum for all off-season. Stills has quietly been a really solid wide receiver for the Dolphins over the past two years. Some people are starting to take notice of him though, as you can tell by his current August ADP of 102.

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Over the past two years, Stills has averaged 50 receptions for 787 yards and 7.5 TDs while boasting an impressive 16 yards per catch. As we know, Jarvis Landry has now left the Dolphins and is a Cleveland Brown. Landry vacated 160+ targets in that offense and I am a firm believer that Stills will benefit greatly from that. I have Stills as my 101st overall player in DLF’s Dynasty Top 200 Rankings. Pencil Stills in for 70+ receptions, 1,000+ receiving yards and eight TDs, which would move him into the high-end WR2 conversation and at his current ADP of 102, he is still a bargain.

LeSean McCoy

Over the past five seasons, including the 2015 season in which McCoy was banged up and missed some time, he has averaged over 1,600 total yards and 8.5 total TDs. Those statistics scream elite #studmuffin. McCoy is now at that “scary” running back age of 30, but has shown no signs of slowing down. He posted a RB7 finish last year and will undoubtedly be relied upon heavily in this upcoming year.

I honestly do not understand why he is free falling (cue Tom Petty) in the rankings. But as you can tell from his current August ADP of 72, his value is dropping.

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Exactly one year ago, McCoy’s ADP sat at 24. Now a year later after posting a RB7 finish with almost 1,600 total yards and 8 touchdowns, he has dropped 48 spots. WHAT?! Listen, I get that the Bills will be bad in 2018, the quarterback situation is… not ideal, and the defense is going to struggle. I also know that he is by leaps and bounds their best playmaker and offensive weapon and will have no shortage of opportunity and touches.

I have Shady as my 61st overall player in DLF’s Dynasty Top 200 Rankings. His current ADP of 72 is similar to Tarik Cohen and Courtland Sutton, so if you have a legitimate two-year window to win a championship, do yourself a favor and get Shady on your team.

Demaryius Thomas

Another member of the 30-year-old club, Thomas is primed for a bounce back year. I still think the Case Keenum signing in Denver was a sneaky good signing for the football team. Thomas is one of the most underrated wide receivers in the game of football and even on a “down year”, he still had 950 yards and five TDs with Trevor Siemian and co. throwing (or attempting to throw) him the ball. Siemian and the misfits (dibs on that band name) completed under 60% of passes in 2017 and now you bring in Keenum who completed 68% of his passes and helped contribute to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen both finishing as top 20 wide receivers.

Thomas’ current August ADP sits at 60, which is still relatively low for such an accomplished and talented player who just hit a home run in the quarterback upgrade department.

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It has been a slow, steady decline for DT over the past three years. Poor quarterback play has plagued him ever since Peyton Manning retired. But with Keenum at the helm… this is the year, I can feel it. I have DT as my 52nd overall player in DLF’s Dynasty Top 200 Rankings and is an absolute buy for me. I expect nothing less than 85+ catches for 1,100+ yards and seven TDs. There is no “Y” in team, but there is a “Y” in Demaryius.

Greg Olsen

Let me start off by saying that I hope Greg goes back to the Grizzly Adams look-alike. Clean shaven Greg Olsen doesn’t bring the same intensity or intimidation that Greg “stranded on a island for six months” Olsen does. But I digress…

Olsen has been one of the best and most consistent tight ends in the NFL. Last year, Olsen broke his foot and was never able to make an impact, but let’s dive into the last three seasons that Olsen has played 16 games in (2014, 2015, 2016). He averaged 80 catches for 1,062 yards and five TDs and in those three seasons, never had less than 77 catches or less than 1,000 receiving yards. There is only one tight end in the NFL right now who has had three straight 1,000 yard seasons in their career… not Rob Gronkowski, not Travis Kelce, not Jimmy Graham, its Greg Olsen. That is the type of consistency that you are looking for on a contending team!

As you can see by his current August ADP of 118, the price is certainly right for Greg Olsen.

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Olsen’s ADP was around 71 before his injury last year, and would be similar in 2018 if he had not been injured. If we assume he comes back and is relatively the same Olsen we are used to seeing, that means you get him now for about 40-50 spots cheaper than last year at this same time all because of a freak injury.

He still possesses top five tight end potential for at least another couple years, and we know he is Cam Newton’s favorite target when healthy. His August ADP is similar to Nyheim Hines, C.J. Anderson, and Pierre Garcon, who I would all trade in a heartbeat if I was a contending team that needed some tight end help. Olsen is my 116th overall player in DLF’s Dynasty Top 200 Rankings and I believe he will have another top five tight end year.

Alex Smith

Mr. “Game Manager” himself… whatever that even means. The knock on Alex Smith has always been that he would never unleash the beast and throw the ball down the field. But last year, according to Pro Football Focus, Smith became the most accurate deep ball passer in the league. He ranked 11th last year in percentage of passes thrown 20+ yards down the field (12.3% of his passes), and he also had the most deep passing yards in the league.

Smith has always be a pretty reliable fantasy QB for a bench stash or a bye week fill-in. From 2014-2016, he averaged a QB19 finish, but in 2017 he had a career year and finished QB4.

So naturally, you would think he gets a contract extension with the Chiefs, his fantasy value skyrockets, and he buys himself a new rolex (well, maybe he did that)… wrong! The Chiefs traded him and ever since November of 2017, his value has been falling (with a small uptick in August).

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Smith’s current August ADP is 193. Smith and Rodney Dangerfield probably think the same thing… I get no respect at all. If Smith is your QB2 heading into this season, you are doing alright. Smith is my 158th overall player in DLF’s Dynasty Top 200 Rankings and he is a perfect trade target for a contending team who may have some holes at the quarterback position. He may not be a “gunslinger” or even a “game manager”… but he might just be a really good quarterback, and I’m ok with that.

Follow me on Twitter @LeviChappell.



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