Old guys are still worthy
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - When the clock strikes midnight on Saturday, I'll officially be an old man. The number hurts if I write it, so let's just say I'll be celebrating birthday No. LX.
I no longer play baseball or football as I did in my youth. I've resorted to the more sedate activities of golf and bowling.
But there are still a large number of "old guys" who continue to do it for your fantasy teams. They haven't given in to age and you shouldn't hold their many years of service against them.
We start with the just-finished football season. That's an easy one. At 37 years old, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is still putting up the big numbers. In fact, last season he went where no man, or quarterback, has ever gone. The 16-year veteran threw for a record 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns and I've yet to meet anyone who owned him that didn't make their league's playoffs.
We also can add 37-year-old Tony Gonzalez to the list. Though his 83-catch, 859-yard, eight-touchdown season was pedestrian by his own high standards, he was still a top-five fantasy tight end.
The peerless Mariano Rivera headed last year's "over-the-hill gang" for baseball. At 43, the ageless wonder posted a 6-2 record with 44 saves and a 2.11 ERA. But you won't have "The Sandman" to carry your bullpen anymore as Major League Baseball teams put together the most famous farewell tour since the Lakers' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar "invented" the idea back in 1989.
In case you weren't paying attention, Raul Ibanez had a pretty good year for a 41-year-old. Actually it would be a good year for almost anyone as he mashed 29 home runs. He'll be back again for another season and hitting in a better park (Anaheim versus Seattle). Selecting him in the last round (current ADP 362) isn't a bad idea.
Alfonso Soriano (37) blasted 34 home runs and knocked in 101 runs last season for the Cubs and Yankees. He's expected to bat sixth in the Yankees' new and vastly improved lineup, and as a ninth-round pick on draft day (ADP 100), he will be a solid option.
David Ortiz continues to produce year after year and 2013 was no different as he batted .309 with 30 homers and 103 RBI. He'll once again anchor the Red Sox offense - batting cleanup. He's a sixth-rounder on draft day (ADP 69), but he hasn't played more than seven games at first base since 2006, so depending on your league's rules, he may be limited to DH only.
Any list of "old guys still doing it" would be remiss if it didn't include San Antonio Spurs power forward/center Tim Duncan. The Big Fundamental doesn't play the minutes he did when he was younger, but he's still averaging 15.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game this season while playing just under 30 minutes per game.
Dallas power forward Dirk Nowitzki has rebounded from a subpar season to post 21.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 2.9 apg, and he leads the league from the foul line, averaging a career-best 91.2 percent. In his 16th season, he's rated No. 7 overall in my Yahoo fantasy league.
Jaromir Jagr still has "it." Even at 41 and after retiring from the game for three seasons (2008-10), he is more than holding his own against teenagers and 20-somethings. He's racked up 17 goals and 32 assists this season, and that's while learning to play with his new Devils' teammates as he's with his fifth team in the last four seasons.
Thirty-eight-year-old Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning is 12th in the league in scoring with 25 goals and 56 points despite playing much of the season without superstar center Steven Stamkos.
What the above 10 players should show you is that fantasy owners need to ignore any age bias. The old guys may not be as fast or as strong, but they make up for it with cunning and guile to get the job done. Ignoring them may be hazardous to your fantasy title hopes in any sport.
02/21 10:59:31 ET