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When it comes to building rosters in dynasty leagues, it is all about youth first and foremost. Not so fast! Especially if you are in a win-now situation, veterans can be a key component to a winning roster.

Some players flourish, even near the end of their careers, and while the easiest thing to do is to just dump older players, if you can find those veterans who are going to flourish, it is like mining gold. It may be difficult, but worth it for the possible riches.

Let us go forth now and look at a few players late in their NFL careers who will help you win this season and therefore should not be dumped, but instead celebrated.

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Dynasty Holds

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI) - It seems like he is at the top of any list made to talk about veteran studs and for good reason. Since moving to the slot position he has amassed three straight 100 reception seasons. While leading the NFL in receptions two of those three seasons with a plethora of different quarterbacks Fitzgerald has remained the one constant in Arizona. Playing with the likes of Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert Fitzgerald is in the conversation as the second-best wide receiver of all time.

With an entirely new quarterback group this season, whether it be the extremely accurate but oft-injured Sam Bradford or rookie Josh Rosen, he will again be counted on for massive targets. The return of David Johnson only means teams will have to account for another weapon on the offense leaving Fitzgerald free to roam the slot and possibly break off more longer plays as the box will be stacked to bottle up Johnson.

In his age-34 season in 2017, Fitzgerald went for 109 receptions for 1,156 yards and six touchdowns. With either Sam Bradford or Josh Rosen as the quarterback this season, these numbers should be a baseline of what to expect in most likely his final season. Don’t be surprised if Fitzgerald again leads the league in receptions and quite possibly receiving yardage as the Cardinals are not projected to be very good and will be passing a lot to come back in games.

LeSean McCoy (RB, BUF) - So, he is a 30-year-old running back and running backs fall off a cliff at this age. This is true sometimes, but in the case of McCoy he will still get the bulk of the running work. The Bills have nothing on offense. Whether it be Kelvin Benjamin in the receiving game or Josh Allen at quarterback, McCoy is still by far their best player. Despite his massive workload in his career in which he has rushed the ball 2,185 times, he has still been very durable playing in 133 of a possible 144 games in his nine-year career with the Eagles and Bills.

Add to his rushing ability his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and you have a running back who, even in a down year in 2017, finished as the number seven running back in fantasy. With the age depression of his ADP as well as his uncertainty for off-the-field issues, he makes a great pick up at the back end of the third round or the top part of the fourth round in startup drafts or even a solid trade value from someone looking to move on and get someone younger or a draft pick.

Lamar Miller (RB, HOU) - Not as old as you think, at 27 years old, and also not as bad as you think, finishing as RB14 in 2017, Lamar Miller is set to have a strong fantasy season in 2018. With teammate D’onta Foreman starting the season on the PUP list while still recovering from his knee injury, Miller will get the bulk of the work in Houston for a minimum of six weeks. Having Deshaun Watson back and healthy will free Miller up as the defenses will have to worry about the rushing ability of Watson as well. With weapons in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller in the passing game, the Texans offense could be very difficult to stop.

In 2017, he rushed the ball 238 times which was an average of 14.9 times per game. While he only garnered 888 yards on those carries, an average of 3.7 yards per attempt, this was behind a terrible offensive line and with lackluster quarterback play after the season-ending injury to Watson. With Foreman shelved for at least six games, Miller will see even more carries this season.

With Watson in the lineup, Lamar was a running back one for fantasy teams showing the ability of a running quarterback to help a running back excel. Much like McCoy, Miller is not a sexy name this season and he can be had for a small price in trade talks or in the fifth or even sixth round in startup drafts. This is a great spot for him to be taken and at 27 years of age, you will still have three to four productive seasons left from him after 2018.

Eli Manning (QB, NYG) - For the last player of the group let’s take a bit of a dart throw. Eli Manning is not a great quarterback. He never has been, and he will always be Archie’s son and Peyton’s brother. But he is one thing for sure - consistently durable. If it were not for Ben McAdoo and his 70’s mustache, he would not have missed a game in his entire career. In 2018, he has the best weapons he has ever had, making him a great flier play this season. With the return of Odell Beckham Jr., arguably the top wide receiver in the NFL, Manning will be like a kid at Christmas with all of his new toys. Add to the receiving mix Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, who both stood out in the midst of a dismal 2017 and the receiving corps could be one of the best in the league.

With the selection of Saquon Barkley as the number two overall pick, the rushing game should also improve to a level not seen in New Jersey, from either team, since Tiki Barber. Not only was Saquon Barkley the consensus best running back in this draft, he was consistently ranked the best player in this draft. With his rushing ability alone, this would be a great pick but taking into account his pass-catching ability and his blocking ability, he should be a star for many years to come. This will help the entire offense and especially his quarterback.

Beckham Jr. is typically the number one overall pick in dynasty startups and Saquon Barkley is the number one overall player in rookie drafts. Perhaps Eli Manning should also be looked at as a strong rebound candidate and late-round QB, right? It only makes sense that if all of his weapons are being highly drafted, the person getting them the ball is also going to have a season worth using. If Eli doesn’t have a good 2018, neither will Beckham, Barkley and company. Not even being drafted in startup drafts, Manning can be had off the waiver wire for very little, but could pay big dividends.

 

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