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During your startup draft, is there an age limit for you? How old is too old for you to draft at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE)? If you have a rule, how rigid is it?
I have no rigid limit, particularly because I think many startup dynasty leagues vastly overrate youth. Look at any prior year; the turnover in fantasy stars is massive. Go back three years and look at the top of the rankings. Then go back five years. The point is, the people we think will be stars in 3+ years rarely stay relevant. So drafting on age at the expense of proven players in great situations and still in their prime puts a massive weight on your chances to compete this year and into the future.
Not explicitly, but I will sometimes adjust a younger player up a couple of draft slots over a known veteran. It's very minor though - maybe a round or two at most. Usually only with younger players who are set to have an immediate impact. For example, a second-year player who had an okay rookie season but is now named the starter might get slight bump over some 'known quantity' veterans in the same draft range. Like redraft leagues, you want to be drafting value and even guys who have been in the league 10 years can still put points on the board.
Performance is more important than age. Travis Kelce may be 33 soon, but with six consecutive seasons as a top-two fantasy tight end, continued high-level production is almost certain. Tony Gonzalez had five consecutive top-six fantasy seasons between the ages of 33 and 37 and was a great addition late in dynasty startups. Matt Ryan is being written off at quarterback at age 37. Aaron Rodgers will be 39. Both look like they can still play to a high level beyond 2022. Running Backs are being written off at ages 26 and 27. Hall of Famers can be productive beyond 30. Cordarrelle Patterson had a career year at age 30. The key to successful dynasty management is ensuring your roster is set to win this year and next. Beyond that is folly.
I am not a believer in hard and fast rules but will generally not use any of my first few picks on running backs or wide receivers who are older than 26. The average age of my team after a startup will invariably be 24 or younger. Also, while age is certainly important and a major factor in my decision-making, the bigger focus is on expected longevity. Zach Wilson is over eight years younger than Derek Carr, but Carr is more likely to still be a starting NFL quarterback in 2026. Josh Jacobs is 24 but his future is in limbo after this season. Despite his youth, he doesn’t feel like a core piece to build around and would not be somewhat I’d target in a startup.
I don't have an exact age limit, but I'm certainly cognizant of age as I draft and generally steer away from older players. Since quarterbacks have the most career longevity, I'm comfortable drafting one in the 32-34 age range assuming there's been no noticeable drop-off in his play.
With running backs, I'm expecting that drop-off to occur around age 27 or 28. Their bodies take so much punishment that it's hard to expect them to prolong their careers - much less maintain the same levels of success - into even their late 20s. I do give a pass to RBs that primarily operate in pass-catching roles as they haven't taken as much of a beating and can help my team in PPR formats. Similarly, WRs and TEs become questionable for me once they turn 30. Aside from the obvious outliers (Larry Fitzgerald, Tony Gonzalez, etc), it's hard to know when someone's age is going to catch up with them. If I can't be confident that they'll still be in a high-value role in 2-3 years, it's hard to use a dynasty startup pick on them.
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