I'm sure you've heard all the adages about age in fantasy football: Don't draft running backs older than 30, go for third-year wide receivers, ignore rookie quarterbacks. But as you sit down to make those keeper decisions, wouldn't it be nice to know if any of those beliefs are actually true?
I've got you covered. I took a look at the season-by-season numbers of the top-50 all-time yardage leaders at each position (passing yards for QBs, rushing yards for RBs, receiving yards for WRs and TEs); we're talking guys by the names of Barry Sanders, Brett Favre and Jerry Rice. Then I broke down how these top-50 guys performed on average during various stages of their careers, e.g., how the QBs performed as 25-year-olds, between the ages of 30 and 33, etc. The results of my findings are below.
By far the most unpredictable of the four positions. QBs tend not to offer much before their 26th birthday, so adjust your expectations for Jay Cutler (24), Alex Smith (23) and even Matt Leinart (24) and Vince Young (24). On the other hand, QBs retain their value for more years than players at other positions, so you don't have to worry too much about a drop-off from the likes of Marc Bulger (30), Matt Hasselbeck (31) or even Jon Kitna (34). And it goes without saying, protect Tom Brady (30) and Peyton Manning (31).