Draft or pass? Prescott, Henry, Kelce and six more veterans aged 30 or older (2024)

  • Draft or pass? Prescott, Henry, Kelce and six more veterans aged 30 or older (1)

    Daniel Dopp, ESPNJul 1, 2024, 10:21 PM ET

Few can elude Father Time, especially in fantasy football. Every year, without fail, there are stars who see a big drop in production after years of sustained dominance. Julio Jones averaged 18.5 fantasy points per game during his first decade in the league. Julio has played three more seasons since then (ages 31-34) averaging 8.0, 7.0 and 3.3 points per game. It's not a knock on Julio -- or any other player who sees a substantial drop in productivity due to age; that's just part of the game. Our goal is to pinpoint which superstars on the wrong side of 30 are likely to continue to provide quality fantasy stats over the 2024 season, while hopefully avoiding those on the precipice of a fantasy drop-off.

All ages as of Week 1

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (Age: 31)

Quarterbacks age differently than the athletes at other positions, so Dak being 31 doesn't bother me here. Dak has averaged over 20 fantasy points in four of his past five campaigns, and the connection with CeeDee Lamb is as strong as it has ever been. The running game in Dallas isn't what it used to be, with Tony Pollard out of town and Ezekiel Elliott (turns 29 in July) returning to lead the backfield. This should be a pass-heavy offense once again with plenty of opportunities for Prescott to thrive.

Draft advice: He's a solid QB1 to add in the later rounds.

Derrick Henry, RB, Baltimore Ravens (30)

Henry's Tennessee résumé speaks for itself. He has been the focal point of their offense since taking the starter's reins from DeMarco Murray in 2018. From 2019 through 2022, Henry finished top four in fantasy points per game (in 2021 he missed eight games with a broken foot) every season. Last year, Henry came down to earth as the Titans' offense struggled, finishing 28th in total yards per game and 26th in points per game. Now in Baltimore, Henry joins an offense that ranked first in rushing yards per game, second in points per game and sixth in total yards per game. If he could score 12 touchdowns in that abysmal 2023 Titans offense, sign me up for what he can do as the lead back with the Ravens, regardless of his age.

Draft advice: Draft Henry as a low-end RB1 / high-end RB2 in Rounds 2-3.

Raheem Mostert, RB, Miami Dolphins (103, but he's really 32)

I was shocked at what Mostert did in 2023. It's the only time in his career that he's ever clocked 200 carries, over 1,000 yards rushing or double-digit touchdowns. With De'Von Achane and Jaylen Wright as the future of the backfield, don't expect anything close to what Mostert did last season.

Draft advice: Why draft Mostert when you can draft Zack Moss instead?

Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins (30)

It should be illegal to be 30 years old and run as fast as Hill does, but since it's not, he's going to keep exploiting defenses. Hill is the only 30-year-old who is a surefire bet to come off the board in the first round of your fantasy draft after he averaged better than 23 fantasy points per game last season, which is an absurd number for a wide receiver. He finished with 119 catches for 1,799 yards and 12 touchdowns, so even if he doesn't quite repeat the performance, Tyreek should defy his age-30 season and continue to be a top-five talent at the position.

Draft advice: Take him in the first round as your WR1. Congrats.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31)

Evans is the model of consistency. Since entering the league in 2014, he has finished every single season with at least 67 receptions and 1,001 yards receiving. That's an absurdly high floor to maintain for 10 straight seasons. Speaking of floor, Evans has finished top 10 at his position four times in his career but has never finished outside the top 25 wide receivers. In 2023, he found the end zone on 13 occasions, his third time in four seasons seeing double-digit touchdown production. Given his size (6-foot-5, 231 pounds -- you can't teach that) and the way this offense still runs through Big Mike Evans, you should feel safe grabbing him as a starting receiver.

Draft advice: Evans will be a solid WR2 that you can draft in Rounds 3-4.

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (34)

Kelce has been the king of the tight end position for the better part of a decade, but all good things must come to an end. Kelce saw his production slip by almost 100 fantasy points from 2022 to 2023. His dominance at a relatively shallow position has been a big part of Kelce's appeal: Everyone knew who the best tight end was in our game, and it wasn't really close -- no offense intended to Mark Andrews or George Kittle. But fast-forward to 2024 and the position is as deep as it's ever been. Sam LaPorta, Trey McBride and Dalton Kincaid have arrived to usher in a new wave of fantasy tight ends, not to mention that Evan Engram just set the position's record for the most receptions in a season (116). The idea that Kelce could fall from the top of the position to middle of the pack is a real possibility in 2024. Kelce can still be counted on as a TE1, but his days of being a one-man tier atop the position are over.

Draft advice: Given his current ADP, I'm passing on Kelce in favor of one of the younger tight ends on the board, but if he falls into the fourth or fifth rounds, I'd consider jumping on the veteran value.

Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders (31)

The fantasy term "set it and forget it" might have originated with Adams (probably not true), so here's an outrageous stat that highlights Adams' stardom: Since taking over as the top receiver in Green Bay (2016), Adams has finished no lower than WR18 and has turned in six top-10 campaigns in eight seasons. But in spite of all the positivity I just poured on Adams, I'm just not as high on him this year.

Adams puts you in a tricky spot of having to choose an aging, declining superstar with a similar average draft position to an up-and-coming star like Marvin Harrison Jr. -- and one going a full round earlier than some of my favorite upside receivers such as Drake London or Nico Collins. Is there one more year left in the tank before we see a Julio-like fall from Davante? Of course that's a possibility -- he's Davante Adams! But if there is, it'll be with Aidan O'Connell or Gardner Minshew under center, which is less than inspiring and means I'm usually passing on him unless I can get him as a great value in the fourth or later.

Draft advice: I'd rather draft London or Chris Olave than Adams in 2024.

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers (30)

The 49er effect is real. Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel Sr. and Kittle make for a lot of mouths to feed, and we often see that reflected in the boom/bust nature of 49ers game logs. Now the team has added first-round pick Ricky Pearsall to its cupboard of pass-catchers and there most assuredly won't be enough targets for everyone to have sustained volume. It's almost odd, but Kittle has seen his fantasy points per game decrease every single year since 2018. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be shocked to see the trend continue in 2024.

Draft advice: His peak weeks are huge, but his valley weeks are equally as low. I'd rather have more consistency from my TE1, but he's still a fine value if being drafted as TE7-TE10.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Houston Texans (30)

From Weeks 1 through 9, Diggs was WR3 in fantasy, averaging 21.7 PPG. From Weeks 10-18, Diggs was WR44 averaging 9.8 PPG. How much of that was Diggs and how much of that was the situation? We may never know the full story of his second-half collapse, but we do know he'll be catching passes from C.J. Stroud now. The problem for Diggs isn't the slight downgrade from Josh Allen to Stroud, it's his new teammates Nico Collins and Tank Dell, whose career arrows are decidedly pointing "up." If you've listened to Stroud talk about his young receivers this offseason, you'll know that he loves his young duo. I don't dislike Diggs, nor do I think he's fallen off a cliff from a talent level, but in a new situation, with all the talent around him competing for targets, his ADP is too rich.

Draft advice: Diggs is a mid to low-end WR2 with an increased potential for boom/bust weeks. To be honest, I mostly pass on him in our mock drafts because he never falls far enough to entice me.

Draft or pass? Prescott, Henry, Kelce and six more veterans aged 30 or older (2024)
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