In fantasy football leagues, we’re constantly attempting to predict the beginning of each player’s success and decline. One of the most important variables, in terms of predictive value, is age. While there are outliers who can produce late in their careers, most players at the same position tend to have similar career arcs. In this article, we’ll determine the peak age for an NFL wide receiver.

Defining A Peak Season

To begin, we must define a peak season for an NFL wide receiver. If a wide receiver plays all 16 games and averages just over 14 PPR points per game, he will score 225 PPR fantasy points for the season. In 2019, 17 wide receivers scored at least 225 PPR fantasy points.

Our peak season will include all wide receivers since 2000 who finished with at least 225 PPR fantasy points. This gives us a sample size of 323 seasons. The list below includes all individual wide receiver seasons to meet the criteria and was generated by Pro-Football-Reference.com.

PlayerYearAgeTmGPPRRecYdsTD
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.2136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.9129169813
Randy Moss*200730NWE16385.398149323
Marvin Harrison*200230IND16384.2143172211
Randy Moss*200326MIN16376111163217
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.113618718
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.614917259
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.296168116
Torry Holt200327STL16359.1117169612
Marvin Harrison*200129IND16351.7109152415
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.412219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.9111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.2109150214
Steve Smith200526CAR16337.8103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.1112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.912215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.6118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633487147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.5115157211
Terrell Owens*200128SFO16332.393141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.1111152111
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.6111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632993140516
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.998151913
Marvin Harrison*200028IND16327.3102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.911316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.7104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.110016028
Terrell Owens*200229SFO14321.9100130013
Terrell Owens*200027SFO14321.297145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.511515758
Odell Beckham201523NYG15319.396145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631992143014
Rod Smith200131DEN15318113134311
Roddy White201029ATL16316.2115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.512514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.911014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.910115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.48716469
Randy Moss*200023MIN16313.277143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.196143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.310115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.896137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.4104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI16308103140910
David Boston200123ARI16307.39815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.3106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.311313739
Terrell Owens*200734DAL1530781135515
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.5100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.797125714
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.196132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630480140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.284149212
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.994139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.810114049
Marvin Harrison*200634IND16301.695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.980128916
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.897135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.792138212
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN16297.7112114312
Chad Johnson200527CIN16297.59714329
Julio Jones201425ATL15297.410415936
Jimmy Smith200132JAX1629711213738
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT16296.911114267
Odell Beckham201624NYG16296.6101136710
Andre Johnson201231HOU16295.811215984
Javon Walker200426GNB16295.289138212
Odell Beckham201422NYG1229591130512
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI15294.9100140910
Randall Cobb201424GNB16293.491128712
Dez Bryant201325DAL16292.493123313
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN16291.494143410
Torry Holt200428STL16291.294137210
Mike Evans201825TAM16290.48615248
Randy Moss*200225MIN16290.310613477
Eric Moulds200229BUF16289.9100129210
Wes Welker201231NWE16289.411813546
Torry Holt200529STL14289.310213319
Anquan Boldin200525ARI14288.710214027
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN16288.710113179
Victor Cruz201125NYG16287.98215369
Chad Johnson200729CIN16287.79314408
Randy Moss*200932NWE16287.483126413
Isaac Bruce200028STL16287.28714719
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN1628677144811
Chad Johnson200325CIN16285.590135510
Wes Welker200928NWE14285.412313484
Marvin Harrison*200432IND16285.386111315
Reggie Wayne200931IND16284.4100126410
Jordy Nelson201126GNB16284.368126315
Keenan Allen201725LAC16284.210213936
Larry Fitzgerald200926ARI16284.297109213
Santana Moss200526WAS162848414839
Alshon Jeffery201323CHI16283.68914217
Terrell Owens*200633DAL1628385118013
Anquan Boldin200323ARI16282.710113778
Marques Colston200724NOR16282.298120211
Derrick Alexander200029KAN16281.678139110
Calvin Johnson200823DET1628178133112
Wes Welker200726NWE16280.911211758
Larry Fitzgerald201532ARI16280.510912159
Reggie Wayne201032IND16280.511113556
Chad Johnson200426CIN16280.39512749
Brandon Marshall200723DEN16280.210213257
Eric Decker201326DEN16279.887128811
Andre Johnson201332HOU16279.710914075
Marvin Harrison*200331IND15279.594127210
Miles Austin200925DAL16278.881132011
Dwayne Bowe201026KAN16278.672116215
Terrell Owens*200431PHI14278.577120014
Torry Holt200024STL16278.28216356
Roddy White201130ATL16277.610012968
Pierre Garcon201327WAS16277.511313465
Hines Ward200327PIT16277.495116310
Joe Horn200028NOR162779413408
Drew Bennett200426TEN16276.980124711
Brandon Marshall200925DEN15276.9101112010
Jeremy Maclin201426PHI16276.885131810
Chris Godwin201923TAM14276.18613339
Cris Carter*200035MIN16275.49612749
Jarvis Landry201523MIA16275.411011574
Greg Jennings201027GNB16274.476126512
Derrick Mason200329TEN16274.49513038
Julio Jones201930ATL15274.19913946
T.Y. Hilton201627IND16273.89114486
A.J. Green201527CIN16273.786129710
Reggie Wayne200628IND162738613109
Joey Galloway200534TAM16272.183128710
Donald Driver200631GNB16271.19212958
Steve Smith200924NYG1627110712207
Cooper Kupp201926LAR16270.594116110
Randy Moss*200124MIN16270.382123310
Troy Brown200130NWE1627010111995
Peerless Price200226BUF16269.99412529
Torry Holt200630STL16269.893118810
Reggie Wayne200426IND16269.677121012
Tim Brown*200135OAK16269.49111659
Eric Decker201225DEN16269.485106413
DeSean Jackson201327PHI16269.48213329
Larry Fitzgerald201128ARI16269.18014118
Roddy White201231ATL16269.19213517
Reggie Wayne201234IND1626910613555
Doug Baldwin201527SEA16268.978106914
Marvin Harrison*200533IND15268.682114612
DeAndre Hopkins201927HOU15268.510411657
Percy Harvin201123MIN16268.2879676
Demaryius Thomas201528DEN16267.410513046
Roddy White200928ATL16266.585115311
Stefon Diggs201825MIN15266.310210219
Chad Johnson200628CIN16266.38713697
Calvin Johnson201025DET15266.277112012
Robert Woods201826LAR16265.68612196
Greg Jennings200825GNB16265.28012929
Chris Chambers200527MIA1626582111811
Roddy White200827ATL16264.68813827
Amani Toomer200228NYG16264.58213438
Jordy Nelson201328GNB16264.48513148
Steve Smith201132CAR162647913947
Joe Horn200129NOR16263.98312659
Joe Horn200230NOR16263.48813127
Julio Jones201223ATL16261.879119810
Alshon Jeffery201424CHI16261.685113310
Keenan Allen201927LAC16261.510411996
Larry Fitzgerald201734ARI16261.410911566
Calvin Johnson201530DET16261.48812149
DeSean Jackson200923PHI15261.36211569
Vincent Jackson201229TAM16260.47213848
Jimmy Smith200031JAX15260.39112138
Sidney Rice200923MIN16260.28313128
Keenan Allen201826LAC16260.19711966
Brandon Marshall200824DEN15260.110412656
Jarvis Landry201725MIA162601129879
Julio Jones201627ATL14259.98314096
Steve Smith200627CAR14259.78311668
Anquan Boldin200828ARI12259.589103811
Torry Holt200125STL16259.38113637
Marty Booker200125CHI16259.310010718
Golden Tate201426DET16259.19913314
Eric Moulds200027BUF162599413265
T.Y. Hilton201425IND15258.58213457
Michael Thomas201724NOR16258.510412455
Steve Smith200829CAR14258.17814216
Marty Booker200226CHI16257.79711896
Muhsin Muhammad200027CAR16257.510211836
Donald Driver200429GNB16257.28412089
Lee Evans200625BUF16257.28212928
Andre Johnson201029HOU13256.68612168
Julian Edelman201933NWE16256.310011176
Tim Brown*200034OAK1625676112811
Torry Holt200731STL16255.99311897
Michael Thomas201623NOR15255.79211379
Victor Cruz201226NYG16255.286109210
Jerry Rice*200240OAK16255.19212117
Allen Robinson201926CHI16254.99811477
Derrick Mason200430TEN16254.59611687
Marques Colston201229NOR16254.483115410
Doug Baldwin201628SEA16253.69411287
Brandin Cooks201522NOR16253.68411389
Keenan McCardell200333TAM16253.48411748
Eric Decker201528NYJ15252.780102712
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200629CIN14252.79010819
Plaxico Burress200225PIT16252.57813257
Julio Jones201728ATL16251.98814443
Julian Edelman201327NWE16251.710510566
Laveranues Coles200225NYJ16251.38912645
Steve Smith200324CAR16251.28811107
Roy Williams200625DET16251.28213107
Jerry Rice*200139OAK16250.98311399
Michael Crabtree201225SFO16250.38511059
Hakeem Nicks201022NYG13250.279105211
Antonio Bryant200827TAM162508312487
Mike Wallace201024PIT16249.660125710
Andre Johnson200625HOU16249.110311475
Darrell Jackson200426SEA16248.98711997
Wes Welker200827NWE16248.111111653
Kenny Golladay201926DET1624865119011
Kevin Johnson200125CLE16247.78410979
Steve Johnson201024BUF16247.382107310
Santana Moss200324NYJ16247.274110510
Davante Adams201624GNB16246.77599712
Amari Cooper201925DAL16246.57911898
Brandin Cooks201623NOR16246.37811738
Isaac Bruce200432STL16246.28912926
DeVante Parker201926MIA16246.27212029
Anquan Boldin201333SFO162468511797
Derrick Mason200127TEN15245.87311289
Hines Ward200933PIT16245.79511676
Tyreek Hill201723KAN15245.27511837
Mike Evans201421TAM15245.168105112
Torry Holt200226STL162459113024
Plaxico Burress200730NYG16244.570102512
Michael Clayton200422TAM16244.38011937
Terrell Owens*200330SFO152448011029
Larry Fitzgerald201633ARI16243.810710236
Javon Walker200628DEN16243.76910848
Brandin Cooks201825LAR16243.28012045
Jeremy Maclin201527KAN15243.28710888
Mike Wallace201125PIT162437211938
Bobby Engram200734SEA16242.79411476
Amani Toomer200026NYG16242.57810947
Vincent Jackson201330TAM16242.47812247
Laveranues Coles200326WAS16242.38212046
Larry Fitzgerald201027ARI16241.79011376
Randall Cobb201222GNB15240.6809548
Mike Furrey200629DET16240.69810866
Marques Colston201128NOR14240.38011438
Keenan McCardell200131JAX162409311106
Vincent Jackson200926SDG15239.86811679
Derrick Mason200733BAL16239.710310875
Adam Thielen201727MIN16239.79112764
Donald Driver200530GNB16239.48612215
Michael Crabtree201629OAK16239.38910038
T.Y. Hilton201829IND142397612706
Keenan McCardell200030JAX16238.79412075
Rod Smith200434DEN16238.77911447
Laveranues Coles200629NYJ16238.29110986
Brandon Marshall201127MIA16237.78112146
Koren Robinson200222SEA16237.67812405
Plaxico Burress200528NYG16237.47612147
Jarvis Landry201927CLE16237.48311746
Joe Horn200331NOR15237.47897310
Hakeem Nicks201123NYG15237.27611927
Keyshawn Johnson200129TAM15236.610612661
Larry Fitzgerald201330ARI16236.28295410
Kevin Curtis200729PHI162367711106
Santana Moss201031WAS16235.99311156
Steve Smith200728CAR15235.88710027
Nate Burleson200423MIN16235.56810069
Terrell Owens*200835DAL16235.569105210
Donald Driver200227GNB16235.47010649
Tyler Lockett201927SEA16235.28210578
Curtis Conway200130SDG16235.17111256
Roddy White200726ATL162358312026
Reggie Wayne200830IND16234.58211456
Santonio Holmes200925PIT16234.47912485
Darrell Jackson200325SEA16233.76811379
Brandon Stokley200428IND16233.768107710
Robert Woods201927LAR15232.99011342
Mike Evans201926TAM13232.76711578
Amari Cooper201622OAK16232.38311535
Randy Moss*200831NWE16231.869100811
Hines Ward200529PIT15231.56997511
Jarvis Landry201624MIA16231.39411364
Michael Crabtree201528OAK16231.2859229
DeAndre Hopkins201422HOU162317612106
Jordan Matthews201523PHI16230.7859978
D.J. Moore201922CAR15230.58711754
Odell Beckham201826NYG12230.37710526
Julian Edelman201630NWE16230.39811063
Dwayne Bowe200824KAN16230.28610227
Anquan Boldin200626ARI16230.18312034
Marques Colston200926NOR162307010749
Chad Johnson200931CIN16229.97210479
Eddie Royal200822DEN15229.9919805
Lance Moore200825NOR16229.87992810
Vincent Jackson201128SDG16229.76011069
Julian Edelman201428NWE14228.6929724
Miles Austin201026DAL16228.46910417
Marques Colston201027NOR15228.48410237
Andre Johnson200423HOU16228.47911426
Rod Smith200535DEN16228.28511056
Dwayne Bowe201127KAN16228.18111595
Jeremy Maclin201022PHI162287096410
Hines Ward200832PIT16227.78110437
David Boston200022ARI16227.57111567
Chris Chambers200325MIA16227.36496311
Darrell Jackson200123SEA162277010818
Jimmy Smith200233JAX16226.98010277
A.J. Green201729CIN16226.87510788
Calvin Johnson201429DET13226.77110778
James Jones201228GNB16226.46478414
Isaac Bruce200230STL16226.37910757
Demaryius Thomas201629DEN16226.39010835
Santana Moss200829WAS16226.17910446
Kelvin Benjamin201423CAR16225.87310089
DJ Chark201923JAX15225.87310088
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200528CIN14225.8789567
Jimmy Smith200435JAX16225.27411726
Allen Hurns201524JAX15225.164103110
Marvin Jones201727DET16225.16111019

The average age for this group is 27.3 years old. Below is a distribution graph of the ages of the peak seasons.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


The youngest player to accomplish a peak season was Mike Evans in 2016 at 21 years old. Jerry Rice is known as the greatest of all time and he didn’t disappoint even towards the end of his career, becoming the only player to meet the criteria over the age of 35. He incredibly accomplished the feat at 39 and 40 years old but would have also met the criteria at 32, 33, 34, and 36 had we included seasons prior to 2000. Rice falls directly in the anomaly/outlier category – it’s unfair to expect the same production from other wide receivers.

The peak appears to land at ages 23 to 30, as 78.3 percent of the individual seasons fall within this range. A more magnified peak is in the 25 to 29 range, where 56.7 percent of the seasons reside. Both of those marks rose last season, in addition to a decrease in the average age.

There is a steady decline that takes place after the age-29 season and continues with each passing year. Just 7.4 percent of the peak seasons happen after the age-32 season and a minuscule 2.2 percent of the seasons taking place after age 34.

Let’s see how things change if we raise the PPR points required for a peak season.

Re-Defining a Peak Season

If we raise the minimum fantasy points scored for a peak season to 258 then the sample size drops to 185 players. Only six wide receivers in 2019 scored at least 258 PPR fantasy points so, in essence, we are measuring very strong WR1 seasons. With this requirement, an average of 9.74 receivers make this list per season.

The full list of players to qualify is included below.

PlayerYearAgeTmGPPRRecYdsTD
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.2136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.9129169813
Randy Moss*200730NWE16385.398149323
Marvin Harrison*200230IND16384.2143172211
Randy Moss*200326MIN16376111163217
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.113618718
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.614917259
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.296168116
Torry Holt200327STL16359.1117169612
Marvin Harrison*200129IND16351.7109152415
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.412219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.9111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.2109150214
Steve Smith200526CAR16337.8103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.1112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.912215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.6118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633487147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.5115157211
Terrell Owens*200128SFO16332.393141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.1111152111
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.6111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632993140516
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.998151913
Marvin Harrison*200028IND16327.3102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.911316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.7104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.110016028
Terrell Owens*200229SFO14321.9100130013
Terrell Owens*200027SFO14321.297145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.511515758
Odell Beckham201523NYG15319.396145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631992143014
Rod Smith200131DEN15318113134311
Roddy White201029ATL16316.2115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.512514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.911014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.910115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.48716469
Randy Moss*200023MIN16313.277143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.196143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.310115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.896137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.4104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI16308103140910
David Boston200123ARI16307.39815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.3106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.311313739
Terrell Owens*200734DAL1530781135515
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.5100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.797125714
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.196132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630480140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.284149212
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.994139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.810114049
Marvin Harrison*200634IND16301.695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.980128916
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.897135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.792138212
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN16297.7112114312
Chad Johnson200527CIN16297.59714329
Julio Jones201425ATL15297.410415936
Jimmy Smith200132JAX1629711213738
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT16296.911114267
Odell Beckham201624NYG16296.6101136710
Andre Johnson201231HOU16295.811215984
Javon Walker200426GNB16295.289138212
Odell Beckham201422NYG1229591130512
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI15294.9100140910
Randall Cobb201424GNB16293.491128712
Dez Bryant201325DAL16292.493123313
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN16291.494143410
Torry Holt200428STL16291.294137210
Mike Evans201825TAM16290.48615248
Randy Moss*200225MIN16290.310613477
Eric Moulds200229BUF16289.9100129210
Wes Welker201231NWE16289.411813546
Torry Holt200529STL14289.310213319
Anquan Boldin200525ARI14288.710214027
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN16288.710113179
Victor Cruz201125NYG16287.98215369
Chad Johnson200729CIN16287.79314408
Randy Moss*200932NWE16287.483126413
Isaac Bruce200028STL16287.28714719
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN1628677144811
Chad Johnson200325CIN16285.590135510
Wes Welker200928NWE14285.412313484
Marvin Harrison*200432IND16285.386111315
Reggie Wayne200931IND16284.4100126410
Jordy Nelson201126GNB16284.368126315
Keenan Allen201725LAC16284.210213936
Larry Fitzgerald200926ARI16284.297109213
Santana Moss200526WAS162848414839
Alshon Jeffery201323CHI16283.68914217
Terrell Owens*200633DAL1628385118013
Anquan Boldin200323ARI16282.710113778
Marques Colston200724NOR16282.298120211
Derrick Alexander200029KAN16281.678139110
Calvin Johnson200823DET1628178133112
Wes Welker200726NWE16280.911211758
Larry Fitzgerald201532ARI16280.510912159
Reggie Wayne201032IND16280.511113556
Chad Johnson200426CIN16280.39512749
Brandon Marshall200723DEN16280.210213257
Eric Decker201326DEN16279.887128811
Andre Johnson201332HOU16279.710914075
Marvin Harrison*200331IND15279.594127210
Miles Austin200925DAL16278.881132011
Dwayne Bowe201026KAN16278.672116215
Terrell Owens*200431PHI14278.577120014
Torry Holt200024STL16278.28216356
Roddy White201130ATL16277.610012968
Pierre Garcon201327WAS16277.511313465
Hines Ward200327PIT16277.495116310
Joe Horn200028NOR162779413408
Drew Bennett200426TEN16276.980124711
Brandon Marshall200925DEN15276.9101112010
Jeremy Maclin201426PHI16276.885131810
Chris Godwin201923TAM14276.18613339
Cris Carter*200035MIN16275.49612749
Jarvis Landry201523MIA16275.411011574
Greg Jennings201027GNB16274.476126512
Derrick Mason200329TEN16274.49513038
Julio Jones201930ATL15274.19913946
T.Y. Hilton201627IND16273.89114486
A.J. Green201527CIN16273.786129710
Reggie Wayne200628IND162738613109
Joey Galloway200534TAM16272.183128710
Donald Driver200631GNB16271.19212958
Steve Smith200924NYG1627110712207
Cooper Kupp201926LAR16270.594116110
Randy Moss*200124MIN16270.382123310
Troy Brown200130NWE1627010111995
Peerless Price200226BUF16269.99412529
Torry Holt200630STL16269.893118810
Reggie Wayne200426IND16269.677121012
Tim Brown*200135OAK16269.49111659
Eric Decker201225DEN16269.485106413
DeSean Jackson201327PHI16269.48213329
Larry Fitzgerald201128ARI16269.18014118
Roddy White201231ATL16269.19213517
Reggie Wayne201234IND1626910613555
Doug Baldwin201527SEA16268.978106914
Marvin Harrison*200533IND15268.682114612
DeAndre Hopkins201927HOU15268.510411657
Percy Harvin201123MIN16268.2879676
Demaryius Thomas201528DEN16267.410513046
Roddy White200928ATL16266.585115311
Stefon Diggs201825MIN15266.310210219
Chad Johnson200628CIN16266.38713697
Calvin Johnson201025DET15266.277112012
Robert Woods201826LAR16265.68612196
Greg Jennings200825GNB16265.28012929
Chris Chambers200527MIA1626582111811
Roddy White200827ATL16264.68813827
Amani Toomer200228NYG16264.58213438
Jordy Nelson201328GNB16264.48513148
Steve Smith201132CAR162647913947
Joe Horn200129NOR16263.98312659
Joe Horn200230NOR16263.48813127
Julio Jones201223ATL16261.879119810
Alshon Jeffery201424CHI16261.685113310
Keenan Allen201927LAC16261.510411996
Larry Fitzgerald201734ARI16261.410911566
Calvin Johnson201530DET16261.48812149
DeSean Jackson200923PHI15261.36211569
Vincent Jackson201229TAM16260.47213848
Jimmy Smith200031JAX15260.39112138
Sidney Rice200923MIN16260.28313128
Keenan Allen201826LAC16260.19711966
Brandon Marshall200824DEN15260.110412656
Jarvis Landry201725MIA162601129879
Julio Jones201627ATL14259.98314096
Steve Smith200627CAR14259.78311668
Anquan Boldin200828ARI12259.589103811
Torry Holt200125STL16259.38113637
Marty Booker200125CHI16259.310010718
Golden Tate201426DET16259.19913314
Eric Moulds200027BUF162599413265
T.Y. Hilton201425IND15258.58213457
Michael Thomas201724NOR16258.510412455
Steve Smith200829CAR14258.17814216

The average age drops by 0.07 years to 27.23. Below is a distribution graph of the ages.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


With the higher floor, no player over 35 has accomplished a peak season. The former peak from ages 23 to 30, jumps to include 81 percent of the seasons. 58.9 percent fall within the 25 to 29 age range.

What can we learn from re-defining the peak? If we’re looking for higher-end seasons, it’s helpful to learn from the characteristics of the players who have accomplished the feat.

Raising The Qualifier Again

If we raise the qualifying fantasy points scored for a peak season to 285 then the sample size drops to 91 players. Out of wide receivers, only Michael Thomas scored over 285 PPR fantasy points this season. On average, 4.79 receivers qualify for this list each season so here we are measuring elite WR1 seasons. Again, the players are listed below.

PlayerYearAgeTmGPPRRecYdsTD
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.2136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.9129169813
Randy Moss*200730NWE16385.398149323
Marvin Harrison*200230IND16384.2143172211
Randy Moss*200326MIN16376111163217
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.113618718
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.614917259
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.296168116
Torry Holt200327STL16359.1117169612
Marvin Harrison*200129IND16351.7109152415
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.412219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.9111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.2109150214
Steve Smith200526CAR16337.8103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.1112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.912215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.6118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633487147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.5115157211
Terrell Owens*200128SFO16332.393141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.1111152111
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.6111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632993140516
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.998151913
Marvin Harrison*200028IND16327.3102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.911316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.7104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.110016028
Terrell Owens*200229SFO14321.9100130013
Terrell Owens*200027SFO14321.297145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.511515758
Odell Beckham201523NYG15319.396145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631992143014
Rod Smith200131DEN15318113134311
Roddy White201029ATL16316.2115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.512514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.911014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.910115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.48716469
Randy Moss*200023MIN16313.277143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.196143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.310115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.896137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.4104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI16308103140910
David Boston200123ARI16307.39815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.3106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.311313739
Terrell Owens*200734DAL1530781135515
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.5100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.797125714
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.196132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630480140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.284149212
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.994139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.810114049
Marvin Harrison*200634IND16301.695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.980128916
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.897135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.792138212
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN16297.7112114312
Chad Johnson200527CIN16297.59714329
Julio Jones201425ATL15297.410415936
Jimmy Smith200132JAX1629711213738
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT16296.911114267
Odell Beckham201624NYG16296.6101136710
Andre Johnson201231HOU16295.811215984
Javon Walker200426GNB16295.289138212
Odell Beckham201422NYG1229591130512
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI15294.9100140910
Randall Cobb201424GNB16293.491128712
Dez Bryant201325DAL16292.493123313
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN16291.494143410
Torry Holt200428STL16291.294137210
Mike Evans201825TAM16290.48615248
Randy Moss*200225MIN16290.310613477
Eric Moulds200229BUF16289.9100129210
Wes Welker201231NWE16289.411813546
Torry Holt200529STL14289.310213319
Anquan Boldin200525ARI14288.710214027
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN16288.710113179
Victor Cruz201125NYG16287.98215369
Chad Johnson200729CIN16287.79314408
Randy Moss*200932NWE16287.483126413
Isaac Bruce200028STL16287.28714719
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN1628677144811
Chad Johnson200325CIN16285.590135510
Wes Welker200928NWE14285.412313484
Marvin Harrison*200432IND16285.386111315

The average age drops again by 0.11 years to 27.12. Below is a distribution graph of the new qualifiers.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


The two 35-year-old seasons no longer qualify – the oldest receivers to qualify since 2000 were 34, Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison. Note that since 2009, the oldest receiver to qualify is 31 – the most recent being Jordy Nelson in 2016.

The percentage of players under 30 rises to 79.1 percent. As we continue to raise the PPR points threshold, the age of the players continues to drop. Let’s see if it continues if we raise the threshold one more time.

Raising The Qualifier One More Time

If we raise the qualifying fantasy points scored for a peak season to 299 then the sample size drops to 62 players. These are the best of the best receiver seasons – only 3.26 receivers qualify per year. Here are the studs who qualified.

PlayerYearAgeTmGPPRRecYdsTD
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.2136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.9129169813
Randy Moss*200730NWE16385.398149323
Marvin Harrison*200230IND16384.2143172211
Randy Moss*200326MIN16376111163217
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.113618718
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.614917259
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.296168116
Torry Holt200327STL16359.1117169612
Marvin Harrison*200129IND16351.7109152415
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.412219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.9111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.2109150214
Steve Smith200526CAR16337.8103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.1112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.912215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.6118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633487147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.5115157211
Terrell Owens*200128SFO16332.393141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.1111152111
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.6111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632993140516
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.998151913
Marvin Harrison*200028IND16327.3102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.911316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.7104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.110016028
Terrell Owens*200229SFO14321.9100130013
Terrell Owens*200027SFO14321.297145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.511515758
Odell Beckham201523NYG15319.396145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631992143014
Rod Smith200131DEN15318113134311
Roddy White201029ATL16316.2115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.512514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.911014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.910115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.48716469
Randy Moss*200023MIN16313.277143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.196143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.310115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.896137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.4104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI16308103140910
David Boston200123ARI16307.39815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.3106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.311313739
Terrell Owens*200734DAL1530781135515
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.5100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.797125714
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.196132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630480140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.284149212
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.994139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.810114049
Marvin Harrison*200634IND16301.695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.980128916
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.897135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.792138212

The average age drops ever so slightly by 0.04 years to 27.08. Below is a distribution graph of the new qualifiers.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


An incredible 83.9 percent of the seasons land within ages 23 to 30. 59.34 percent fall within the 25 to 29 age range. 61.29 percent of the players are between 25 and 29 years old.

Comparison of Thresholds

A comparison of each threshold is listed below.

 225 PPR258 PPR285 PPR299 PPR
Qualifiers3231859162
Average Qualifiers Per Season179.744.793.26
Average Age27.327.2327.1227.08
Percentage Under 3076.47%77.30%79.12%80.65%
Players Age 23-3078.33%81.03%80.22%83.87%
Players Age 25-2956.66%58.92%60.44%61.29%

With each increase in PPR points, the average age dropped. In addition, the percentage of qualifiers under 30 years old rose. It’s clear that peak seasons are less likely to take place after turning 30. In fact, if we assume a random receiver scores 299 PPR fantasy points, there is an over 80 percent likelihood that he’s under 30 years old.

For most receivers, the wheels start falling off quickly after the age-30 season.

What Can We Learn For 2020?

You don’t need me to tell you that soon-to-be 37-year-old Larry Fitzgerald is very unlikely to become a reliable fantasy football asset.

Out of wide receivers to score at least 200 PPR fantasy points, only Julian Edelman is older than 30 years old. Edelman is coming off a 100-catch season but will turn 34 prior to the beginning of the 2020 season. Even using the first threshold of 225 PPR points, players who are 34 years old or older account for just 2.17 percent of the peak seasons.

Julio Jones will be 31 years old next season. He’s obviously one of the all-time greats and is capable of producing into his thirties. Regardless, father time is undefeated and Jones posted the fewest yards per target of his career and fewest receiving yards since 2013. The decline is approaching.

T.Y. Hilton turns 31 next November. His 2019 season was marred by injuries and without Andrew Luck, Hilton will likely struggle to generate his previously elite production.

A.J. Green missed last season due to injury and played just 9 games in 2018. The former stud will be 32 years old in 2020 and hasn’t played in an NFL game since December 2nd, 2018.

John Brown just missed the 225 PPR point threshold but is coming off a career-high 1,060 receiving yards. Brown will be 30 years old in April and hasn’t been an elite producer throughout his career. I wouldn’t bet on him producing into his thirties.

DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, Jarvis Landry, Tyler Lockett, and Robert Woods will play the 2020 season at 28 years old. All are likely in their peak for at least one more season – but become potentially intriguing sells in dynasty leagues.

Playing next year at 27 years old, Michael Thomas, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, DeVante Parker, Mike Evans, and Stefon Diggs remain in their prime.

Owners in dynasty leagues should be seeking young producers with elite efficiency. Leading the charge are soon-to-be 23-year-olds A.J. Brown and D.J. Moore, who both look poised to have long productive careers.

Next season studs Chris Godwin, DJ Chark, and Michael Gallup will be 24 years old. Their excellent production early in their careers sets them up for future success.