Four Downs: Is Colts' Wayne a top-10 WR? 

October, 7, 2012
It would be unfair to label fantasy football owners and analysts as notably loathing older players, but certainly if there's an exciting young upside option on draft day -- think Doug Martin or Torrey Smith -- as opposed to a 33-year-old Reggie Wayne coming off his worst season, the kid wins most of the time. On Sunday, all Wayne did for the emotional Indianapolis Colts was dominate the Green Bay Packers for 13 receptions, 212 yards and the winning touchdown, amassing a cool 27 fantasy points.

Admittedly, I didn't rank Wayne well back in August. The staff didn't rank him well either, with the ESPN Fantasy write-up noting more than just his age and lack of surrounding talent, but also his lack of explosion during the 2011 season and, at times, disinterest. He sure looks explosive and interested now. He's toying with defenders. It's a credit not only to Wayne, who turns 34 in a few weeks, but also anything-but-raw first-year passer Andrew Luck, that this odd couple is among the most productive quarterback-wide receiver duos in the game today. Wayne saw 20 targets Sunday, giving him 60 in four games, and he caught six passes on the game-winning drive alone. The Packers had no answers despite knowing full well what was coming.

[+] EnlargeReggie Wayne
Brian Spurlock/US PresswireReggie Wayne was taken, on average, 31st among WRs in ESPN live drafts.
One moral of this story is this: The greatest draft-day bargains tend to be older, forgotten fellows seemingly well past their prime. I preach that across all fantasy sports. Think baseball's Lance Berkman, circa 2011. I didn't see Wayne having any games like Sunday -- his best games in 2011 featured eight catches, and he topped 100 receiving yards only three times with that motley crew of passers throwing to him -- but with a quarter of this season over, he's on pace for 144 receptions and 2,024 receiving yards. (Man, paces can be fun.) I think we can all agree this ninth-rounder, on average, in ESPN leagues has been an incredible steal.