As fantasy owners, we’re always attempting to predict each player’s improvement. But just as important as prognosticating improvement is the ability to predict decline – especially in dynasty leagues. One of the most important variables for predictability is age. While there are outliers who can produce at an impressively old age (by NFL standards), 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.

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

TL;DR:

  • This article explores at which ages NFL wide receivers have their most productive seasons.
  • For 225 PPR fantasy points (roughly top-24 production), the average age was 27.07 with 80% of peak seasons falling within the age range of 23-30.
  • As the thresholds are raised, the average age becomes younger with peak WR seasons over the age of 30 becoming less and less frequent.
  • For elite top-three WR production, the average age was 26.8, and nearly 85% of qualifiers were below the age of 30.
  • As the years go on, wide receivers are trending younger. Since 2010, when compared with 2000-2009, WRs to score at least 258 PPR fantasy points are 1.26 years younger.

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. That remains true for historical seasons – but now that there is a 17-game season, a player must average 13.2 fantasy points per game if playing the entire season to make the list.

Our first 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 401 seasons. The list below includes all individual wide receiver seasons to meet the criteria and was generated by Pro-Football-Reference.com.

PlayerSeasonAgeTeamGPPRPPR/G
Cooper Kupp202128LAR17439.525.85
CeeDee Lamb202324DAL17403.223.72
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.224.26
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.924.18
Randy Moss200730NWE16385.324.08
Marvin Harrison200230IND16384.224.01
Tyreek Hill202329MIA16376.423.53
Randy Moss200326MIN1637623.5
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.123.44
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.623.41
Justin Jefferson202223MIN17368.721.69
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.222.45
Torry Holt200327STL16359.122.44
Davante Adams202028GNB14358.425.6
Marvin Harrison200129IND16351.721.98
Tyreek Hill202228MIA17347.220.42
Davante Adams202129GNB16344.321.52
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.421.4
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.921.31
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.221.2
Deebo Samuel202125SFO1633921.19
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR16337.821.11
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.121.07
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.920.99
Davante Adams202230LVR17335.519.74
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.620.91
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633420.88
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.520.84
Terrell Owens200128SFO16332.320.77
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.120.69
Amon-Ra St. Brown202324DET16330.920.68
Justin Jefferson202122MIN17330.419.44
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.621.97
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632920.56
Tyreek Hill202026KAN15328.921.93
Stefon Diggs202027BUF16328.620.54
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.920.49
Marvin Harrison200028IND16327.320.46
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.920.37
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.721.58
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.120.13
Terrell Owens200229SFO14321.922.99
Terrell Owens200027SFO14321.222.94
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.520.03
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG15319.321.29
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631919.94
Rod Smith200131DEN1531821.2
Stefon Diggs202229BUF16316.619.79
Roddy White201029ATL16316.219.76
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631619.75
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.519.72
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.919.68
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.919.68
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.422.46
Randy Moss200023MIN16313.219.58
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.119.44
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.322.16
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.820.65
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.419.34
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI1630819.25
David Boston200123ARI16307.319.21
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.320.49
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.319.21
Terrell Owens200734DAL1530720.47
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.619.16
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.519.09
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.719.04
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN17304.617.92
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.119.01
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630419
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.221.66
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.918.87
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.818.86
Marvin Harrison200634IND16301.618.85
CeeDee Lamb202223DAL17301.617.74
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.918.81
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.818.74
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.718.73
A.J. Brown202225PHI17299.617.62
Puka Nacua202322LAR17298.517.56
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN16297.718.61
Chad Johnson200527CIN16297.518.59
Julio Jones201425ATL15297.419.83
Jimmy Smith200132JAX1629718.56
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT16296.918.56
Odell Beckham Jr.201624NYG16296.618.54
Tyreek Hill202127KAN17296.517.44
Andre Johnson201231HOU16295.818.49
Javon Walker200426GNB16295.218.45
Odell Beckham Jr.201422NYG1229524.58
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI15294.919.66
Randall Cobb201424GNB16293.418.34
Dez Bryant201325DAL16292.418.28
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN16291.418.21
Torry Holt200428STL16291.218.2
Mike Evans201825TAM16290.418.15
Randy Moss200225MIN16290.318.14
Eric Moulds200229BUF16289.918.12
A.J. Brown202326PHI17289.617.04
Wes Welker201231NWE16289.418.09
Torry Holt200529STL14289.320.66
Anquan Boldin200525ARI14288.720.62
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN16288.718.04
Victor Cruz201125NYG16287.917.99
DeAndre Hopkins202028ARI16287.817.99
Chad Johnson200729CIN16287.717.98
Randy Moss200932NWE16287.417.96
Isaac Bruce200028STL16287.217.95
D.J. Moore202326CHI17286.516.85
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN1628617.88
Stefon Diggs202128BUF17285.516.79
Chad Johnson200325CIN16285.517.84
Wes Welker200928NWE14285.420.39
Marvin Harrison200432IND16285.317.83
Reggie Wayne200931IND16284.417.78
Jordy Nelson201126GNB16284.317.77
Keenan Allen201725LAC16284.217.76
Larry Fitzgerald200926ARI16284.217.76
Santana Moss200526WAS1628417.75
Alshon Jeffery201323CHI16283.617.73
Terrell Owens200633DAL1628317.69
Anquan Boldin200323ARI16282.717.67
Mike Evans202330TAM17282.516.62
Marques Colston200724NOR16282.217.64
Derrick Alexander200029KAN16281.617.6
Calvin Ridley202026ATL15281.518.77
Calvin Johnson200823DET1628117.56
Wes Welker200726NWE16280.917.56
Larry Fitzgerald201532ARI16280.517.53
Reggie Wayne201032IND16280.517.53
Chad Johnson200426CIN16280.317.52
Brandon Marshall200723DEN16280.217.51
Eric Decker201326DEN16279.817.49
Andre Johnson201332HOU16279.717.48
Marvin Harrison200331IND15279.518.63
Keenan Allen202331LAC13278.921.45
Miles Austin200925DAL16278.817.43
Dwayne Bowe201026KAN16278.617.41
Terrell Owens200431PHI14278.519.89
Torry Holt200024STL16278.217.39
Roddy White201130ATL16277.617.35
Pierre Garcon201327WAS16277.517.34
Hines Ward200327PIT16277.417.34
Joe Horn200028NOR1627717.31
Drew Bennett200426TEN16276.917.31
Brandon Marshall200925DEN15276.918.46
Jeremy Maclin201426PHI16276.817.3
Chris Godwin201923TAM14276.119.72
Cris Carter200035MIN16275.417.21
Jarvis Landry201523MIA16275.417.21
Greg Jennings201027GNB16274.417.15
Diontae Johnson202125PIT16274.417.15
Derrick Mason200329TEN16274.417.15
Justin Jefferson202021MIN16274.217.14
Julio Jones201930ATL15274.118.27
Stefon Diggs202330BUF17273.816.11
T.Y. Hilton201627IND16273.817.11
A.J. Green201527CIN16273.717.11
Reggie Wayne200628IND1627317.06
Joey Galloway200534TAM16272.117.01
D.K. Metcalf202023SEA16271.316.96
Donald Driver200631GNB16271.116.94
Steve Smith200924NYG1627116.94
Cooper Kupp201926LAR16270.516.91
Randy Moss200124MIN16270.316.89
Troy Brown200130NWE1627016.88
Peerless Price200226BUF16269.916.87
Torry Holt200630STL16269.816.86
Reggie Wayne200426IND16269.616.85
Tim Brown200135OAK16269.416.84
Eric Decker201225DEN16269.416.84
DeSean Jackson201327PHI16269.416.84
Larry Fitzgerald201128ARI16269.116.82
Roddy White201231ATL16269.116.82
Reggie Wayne201234IND1626916.81
Doug Baldwin201527SEA16268.916.81
Marvin Harrison200533IND15268.617.91
DeAndre Hopkins201927HOU15268.517.9
Percy Harvin201123MIN16268.216.76
Amon-Ra St. Brown202223DET16267.616.73
Demaryius Thomas201528DEN16267.416.71
Roddy White200928ATL16266.516.66
Stefon Diggs201825MIN15266.317.75
Chad Johnson200628CIN16266.316.64
Calvin Johnson201025DET15266.217.75
Robert Woods201826LAR16265.616.6
Davante Adams202331LVR17265.415.61
Tyler Lockett202028SEA16265.416.59
Greg Jennings200825GNB16265.216.58
Chris Chambers200527MIA1626516.56
Roddy White200827ATL16264.616.54
Amani Toomer200228NYG16264.516.53
Jordy Nelson201328GNB16264.416.53
Steve Smith Sr.201132CAR1626416.5
Joe Horn200129NOR16263.916.49
Joe Horn200230NOR16263.416.46
Allen Robinson202027CHI16262.916.43
Ja'Marr Chase202323CIN16262.716.42
Mike Evans202128TAM16262.516.41
Julio Jones201223ATL16261.816.36
Alshon Jeffery201424CHI16261.616.35
Keenan Allen201927LAC16261.516.34
Larry Fitzgerald201734ARI16261.416.34
Calvin Johnson201530DET16261.416.34
DeSean Jackson200923PHI15261.317.42
Nico Collins202324HOU15260.417.36
Vincent Jackson201229TAM16260.416.28
Jimmy Smith200031JAX15260.317.35
Sidney Rice200923MIN16260.216.26
Keenan Allen201826LAC16260.116.26
Brandon Marshall200824DEN15260.117.34
Jarvis Landry201725MIA1626016.25
Julio Jones201627ATL14259.918.56
Steve Smith Sr.200627CAR14259.718.55
Anquan Boldin200828ARI12259.521.63
Marty Booker200125CHI16259.316.21
Torry Holt200125STL16259.316.21
Jaylen Waddle202224MIA17259.215.25
Hunter Renfrow202126LVR17259.115.24
Golden Tate201426DET16259.116.19
Eric Moulds200027BUF1625916.19
T.Y. Hilton201425IND15258.517.23
Michael Thomas201724NOR16258.516.16
Steve Smith Sr.200829CAR14258.118.44
Keenan Allen202129LAC16257.816.11
Marty Booker200226CHI16257.716.11
Muhsin Muhammad200027CAR16257.516.09
Donald Driver200429GNB16257.216.08
Lee Evans200625BUF16257.216.08
Andre Johnson201029HOU13256.619.74
Julian Edelman201933NWE16256.316.02
Tim Brown200034OAK1625616
Torry Holt200731STL16255.915.99
Michael Thomas201623NOR15255.717.05
Victor Cruz201226NYG16255.215.95
Jerry Rice200240OAK16255.115.94
Allen Robinson201926CHI16254.915.93
DeVonta Smith202224PHI17254.614.98
Derrick Mason200430TEN16254.515.91
Marques Colston201229NOR16254.415.9
Adam Thielen202030MIN1525416.93
Doug Baldwin201628SEA16253.615.85
Brandin Cooks201522NOR16253.615.85
Keenan McCardell200333TAM16253.415.84
Eric Decker201528NYJ15252.716.85
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200629CIN14252.718.05
Plaxico Burress200225PIT16252.515.78
Julio Jones201728ATL16251.915.74
Julian Edelman201327NWE16251.715.73
Laveranues Coles200225NYJ16251.315.71
Steve Smith Sr.200324CAR16251.215.7
Roy Williams200625DET16251.215.7
Jerry Rice200139OAK16250.915.68
Michael Crabtree201225SFO16250.315.64
Hakeem Nicks201022NYG13250.219.25
Michael Pittman Jr.202326IND16250.215.64
Antonio Bryant200827TAM1625015.63
Mike Wallace201024PIT16249.615.6
Brandon Aiyuk202325SFO16249.215.58
Andre Johnson200625HOU16249.115.57
Darrell Jackson200426SEA16248.915.56
Mike Evans202027TAM16248.615.54
Wes Welker200827NWE16248.115.51
Kenny Golladay201926DET1624815.5
Kevin Johnson200125CLE16247.715.48
A.J. Brown202023TEN14247.517.68
Stevie Johnson201024BUF16247.315.46
Santana Moss200324NYJ16247.215.45
Davante Adams201624GNB16246.715.42
Mike Williams202127LAC16246.615.41
Amari Cooper201925DAL16246.515.41
Brandin Cooks201623NOR16246.315.39
Isaac Bruce200432STL16246.215.39
DeVante Parker201926MIA16246.215.39
Anquan Boldin201333SFO1624615.38
Amari Cooper202228CLE1724614.47
Derrick Mason200127TEN15245.816.39
Jaylen Waddle202123MIA16245.815.36
Hines Ward200933PIT16245.715.36
Tyreek Hill201723KAN15245.216.35
Keenan Allen202028LAC14245.117.51
Mike Evans201421TAM15245.116.34
Robert Woods202028LAR16245.115.32
Torry Holt200226STL1624515.31
Plaxico Burress200730NYG16244.515.28
Michael Clayton200422TAM16244.315.27
D.K. Metcalf202124SEA17244.314.37
Terrell Owens200330SFO1524416.27
Larry Fitzgerald201633ARI16243.815.24
Deebo Samuel202327SFO15243.716.25
Javon Walker200628DEN16243.715.23
Brandin Cooks201825LAR16243.215.2
Jeremy Maclin201527KAN15243.216.21
Mike Wallace201125PIT1624315.19
Bobby Engram200734SEA16242.715.17
Amani Toomer200026NYG16242.515.16
Ja'Marr Chase202222CIN12242.420.2
Chris Godwin202125TAM14242.417.31
Vincent Jackson201330TAM16242.415.15
Laveranues Coles200326WAS16242.315.14
Christian Kirk202226JAX17241.914.23
Larry Fitzgerald201027ARI16241.715.11
Tyler Lockett202129SEA16241.415.09
Randall Cobb201222GNB15240.616.04
Mike Furrey200629DET16240.615.04
Marques Colston201128NOR14240.317.16
Keenan McCardell200131JAX1624015
Vincent Jackson200926SDG15239.815.99
Derrick Mason200733BAL16239.714.98
Adam Thielen201727MIN16239.714.98
Donald Driver200530GNB16239.414.96
Michael Crabtree201629OAK16239.314.96
T.Y. Hilton201829IND1423917.07
Keenan McCardell200030JAX16238.714.92
Rod Smith200434DEN16238.714.92
Michael Pittman Jr.202124IND17238.614.04
Laveranues Coles200629NYJ16238.214.89
Brandon Marshall201127MIA16237.714.86
Koren Robinson200222SEA16237.614.85
D.J. Moore202124CAR17237.513.97
Plaxico Burress200528NYG16237.414.84
Joe Horn200331NOR15237.415.83
Jarvis Landry201927CLE16237.414.84
Tyler Lockett202230SEA16237.314.83
Hakeem Nicks201123NYG15237.215.81
Amari Cooper202026DAL16236.814.8
Keyshawn Johnson200129TAM15236.615.77
Larry Fitzgerald201330ARI16236.214.76
Kevin Curtis200729PHI1623614.75
Santana Moss201031WAS16235.914.74
Steve Smith Sr.200728CAR15235.815.72
Nate Burleson200423MIN16235.514.72
Terrell Owens200835DAL16235.514.72
Donald Driver200227GNB16235.414.71
Tyler Lockett201927SEA16235.214.7
Curtis Conway200130SDG16235.114.69
Roddy White200726ATL1623514.69
Reggie Wayne200830IND16234.514.66
Santonio Holmes200925PIT16234.414.65
JuJu Smith-Schuster202024PIT16234.114.63
Darrell Jackson200325SEA16233.714.61
Brandon Stokley200428IND16233.714.61
Robert Woods201927LAR15232.915.53
CeeDee Lamb202122DAL16232.814.55
Mike Evans201926TAM13232.717.9
Amari Cooper201622OAK16232.314.52
Brandin Cooks202027HOU1523215.47
Brandin Cooks202128HOU16231.814.49
Randy Moss200831NWE16231.814.49
Hines Ward200529PIT15231.515.43
Jarvis Landry201624MIA16231.314.46
Chris Olave202323NOR16231.314.46
Michael Crabtree201528OAK16231.214.45
DeAndre Hopkins201422HOU1623114.44
Adam Thielen202333CAR1723113.59
Jordan Matthews201523PHI16230.714.42
D.J. Moore201922CAR15230.515.37
Odell Beckham Jr.201826NYG12230.319.19
Julian Edelman201630NWE16230.314.39
Dwayne Bowe200824KAN16230.214.39
Anquan Boldin200626ARI16230.114.38
Marques Colston200926NOR1623014.38
Chad Johnson200931CIN16229.914.37
Calvin Ridley202329JAX17229.913.52
Eddie Royal200822DEN15229.915.33
Lance Moore200825NOR16229.814.36
Vincent Jackson201128SDG16229.714.36
Terry McLaurin202227WAS1722913.47
Julian Edelman201428NWE14228.616.33
Miles Austin201026DAL16228.414.28
Marques Colston201027NOR15228.415.23
Andre Johnson200423HOU16228.414.28
Rod Smith200535DEN16228.214.26
Dwayne Bowe201127KAN16228.114.26
Jeremy Maclin201022PHI1622814.25
Brandon Aiyuk202224SFO17227.813.4
Marvin Jones202030DET16227.814.24
Hines Ward200832PIT16227.714.23
DeVonta Smith202325PHI16227.614.23
David Boston200022ARI16227.514.22
Chris Chambers200325MIA16227.314.21
Amon-Ra St. Brown202122DET17227.313.37
Amari Cooper202329CLE1522715.13
Darrell Jackson200123SEA1622714.19
Jimmy Smith200233JAX16226.914.18
A.J. Green201729CIN16226.814.18
D.K. Metcalf202225SEA17226.813.34
Calvin Johnson201429DET13226.717.44
James Jones201228GNB16226.414.15
Marquise Brown202124BAL16226.314.14
Isaac Bruce200230STL16226.314.14
Demaryius Thomas201629DEN16226.314.14
Santana Moss200829WAS16226.114.13
Kelvin Benjamin201423CAR16225.814.11
DJ Chark201923JAX15225.815.05
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200528CIN14225.816.13
Mike Evans202229TAM15225.415.03
D.K. Metcalf202326SEA16225.414.09
Jimmy Smith200435JAX16225.214.08
Allen Hurns201524JAX15225.115.01
Marvin Jones201727DET16225.114.07

The average age for this group is 27.07 years old. Below is a distribution graph of the ages of qualifying WRs when they hit a peak season.

Wide Receiver Peak Age

Previously, the youngest player to accomplish a peak season was Mike Evans in 2016 at 21 years old. Justin Jefferson matched Evans this season by scoring 270.2 fantasy points as a 21-year-old rookie. In the 2021 season, Ja’Marr Chase joined them with a 1,455-yard 13-touchdown rookie season. Chase presents a strong argument for why he should be at the top of the board in dynasty drafts.

Most would call Jerry Rice the greatest of all time and he didn’t disappoint at the end of his career, as the only player to meet the criteria over the age of 35. Rice 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 before 2000. Rice falls directly in the anomaly category – it’s unfair to expect the same production from other wide receivers.

The peak age for an NFL wide receiver appears to land at ages 23 to 30, as 80.05 percent of the individual seasons fall within this range. A more magnified peak is in the 25 to 29 range, where 56.36 percent of peak seasons reside. As I do these studies annually, the average age becomes younger each season. Three years ago the average age of this group was 27.26, it has fallen each year.

There is a steady decline that takes place after the age 29 season and continues with each passing year. Just 6.23 percent of the peak seasons happen after the age 32 season and a minuscule 1.75 percent of the seasons take place after age 34.

Let’s see if the peak or drop-off changes if we raise the floor for a peak season.

Re-Defining A Peak Season

If we raise the minimum fantasy points scored for a peak season to 258 (roughly top-10 production) then the sample size drops to 224 seasons. 12 wide receivers in 2023 scored at least 258 PPR fantasy points. Since 2000, an average of 9.3 receivers make this list per season.

The full list of players to qualify is included below.

PlayerSeasonAgeTeamGPPRPPR/G
Cooper Kupp202128LAR17439.525.85
CeeDee Lamb202324DAL17403.223.72
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.224.26
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.924.18
Randy Moss200730NWE16385.324.08
Marvin Harrison200230IND16384.224.01
Tyreek Hill202329MIA16376.423.53
Randy Moss200326MIN1637623.5
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.123.44
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.623.41
Justin Jefferson202223MIN17368.721.69
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.222.45
Torry Holt200327STL16359.122.44
Davante Adams202028GNB14358.425.6
Marvin Harrison200129IND16351.721.98
Tyreek Hill202228MIA17347.220.42
Davante Adams202129GNB16344.321.52
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.421.4
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.921.31
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.221.2
Deebo Samuel202125SFO1633921.19
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR16337.821.11
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.121.07
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.920.99
Davante Adams202230LVR17335.519.74
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.620.91
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633420.88
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.520.84
Terrell Owens200128SFO16332.320.77
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.120.69
Amon-Ra St. Brown202324DET16330.920.68
Justin Jefferson202122MIN17330.419.44
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.621.97
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632920.56
Tyreek Hill202026KAN15328.921.93
Stefon Diggs202027BUF16328.620.54
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.920.49
Marvin Harrison200028IND16327.320.46
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.920.37
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.721.58
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.120.13
Terrell Owens200229SFO14321.922.99
Terrell Owens200027SFO14321.222.94
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.520.03
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG15319.321.29
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631919.94
Rod Smith200131DEN1531821.2
Stefon Diggs202229BUF16316.619.79
Roddy White201029ATL16316.219.76
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631619.75
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.519.72
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.919.68
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.919.68
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.422.46
Randy Moss200023MIN16313.219.58
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.119.44
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.322.16
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.820.65
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.419.34
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI1630819.25
David Boston200123ARI16307.319.21
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.320.49
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.319.21
Terrell Owens200734DAL1530720.47
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.619.16
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.519.09
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.719.04
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN17304.617.92
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.119.01
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630419
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.221.66
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.918.87
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.818.86
Marvin Harrison200634IND16301.618.85
CeeDee Lamb202223DAL17301.617.74
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.918.81
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.818.74
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.718.73
A.J. Brown202225PHI17299.617.62
Puka Nacua202322LAR17298.517.56
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN16297.718.61
Chad Johnson200527CIN16297.518.59
Julio Jones201425ATL15297.419.83
Jimmy Smith200132JAX1629718.56
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT16296.918.56
Odell Beckham Jr.201624NYG16296.618.54
Tyreek Hill202127KAN17296.517.44
Andre Johnson201231HOU16295.818.49
Javon Walker200426GNB16295.218.45
Odell Beckham Jr.201422NYG1229524.58
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI15294.919.66
Randall Cobb201424GNB16293.418.34
Dez Bryant201325DAL16292.418.28
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN16291.418.21
Torry Holt200428STL16291.218.2
Mike Evans201825TAM16290.418.15
Randy Moss200225MIN16290.318.14
Eric Moulds200229BUF16289.918.12
A.J. Brown202326PHI17289.617.04
Wes Welker201231NWE16289.418.09
Torry Holt200529STL14289.320.66
Anquan Boldin200525ARI14288.720.62
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN16288.718.04
Victor Cruz201125NYG16287.917.99
DeAndre Hopkins202028ARI16287.817.99
Chad Johnson200729CIN16287.717.98
Randy Moss200932NWE16287.417.96
Isaac Bruce200028STL16287.217.95
D.J. Moore202326CHI17286.516.85
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN1628617.88
Stefon Diggs202128BUF17285.516.79
Chad Johnson200325CIN16285.517.84
Wes Welker200928NWE14285.420.39
Marvin Harrison200432IND16285.317.83
Reggie Wayne200931IND16284.417.78
Jordy Nelson201126GNB16284.317.77
Keenan Allen201725LAC16284.217.76
Larry Fitzgerald200926ARI16284.217.76
Santana Moss200526WAS1628417.75
Alshon Jeffery201323CHI16283.617.73
Terrell Owens200633DAL1628317.69
Anquan Boldin200323ARI16282.717.67
Mike Evans202330TAM17282.516.62
Marques Colston200724NOR16282.217.64
Derrick Alexander200029KAN16281.617.6
Calvin Ridley202026ATL15281.518.77
Calvin Johnson200823DET1628117.56
Wes Welker200726NWE16280.917.56
Larry Fitzgerald201532ARI16280.517.53
Reggie Wayne201032IND16280.517.53
Chad Johnson200426CIN16280.317.52
Brandon Marshall200723DEN16280.217.51
Eric Decker201326DEN16279.817.49
Andre Johnson201332HOU16279.717.48
Marvin Harrison200331IND15279.518.63
Keenan Allen202331LAC13278.921.45
Miles Austin200925DAL16278.817.43
Dwayne Bowe201026KAN16278.617.41
Terrell Owens200431PHI14278.519.89
Torry Holt200024STL16278.217.39
Roddy White201130ATL16277.617.35
Pierre Garcon201327WAS16277.517.34
Hines Ward200327PIT16277.417.34
Joe Horn200028NOR1627717.31
Drew Bennett200426TEN16276.917.31
Brandon Marshall200925DEN15276.918.46
Jeremy Maclin201426PHI16276.817.3
Chris Godwin201923TAM14276.119.72
Cris Carter200035MIN16275.417.21
Jarvis Landry201523MIA16275.417.21
Greg Jennings201027GNB16274.417.15
Diontae Johnson202125PIT16274.417.15
Derrick Mason200329TEN16274.417.15
Justin Jefferson202021MIN16274.217.14
Julio Jones201930ATL15274.118.27
Stefon Diggs202330BUF17273.816.11
T.Y. Hilton201627IND16273.817.11
A.J. Green201527CIN16273.717.11
Reggie Wayne200628IND1627317.06
Joey Galloway200534TAM16272.117.01
D.K. Metcalf202023SEA16271.316.96
Donald Driver200631GNB16271.116.94
Steve Smith200924NYG1627116.94
Cooper Kupp201926LAR16270.516.91
Randy Moss200124MIN16270.316.89
Troy Brown200130NWE1627016.88
Peerless Price200226BUF16269.916.87
Torry Holt200630STL16269.816.86
Reggie Wayne200426IND16269.616.85
Tim Brown200135OAK16269.416.84
Eric Decker201225DEN16269.416.84
DeSean Jackson201327PHI16269.416.84
Larry Fitzgerald201128ARI16269.116.82
Roddy White201231ATL16269.116.82
Reggie Wayne201234IND1626916.81
Doug Baldwin201527SEA16268.916.81
Marvin Harrison200533IND15268.617.91
DeAndre Hopkins201927HOU15268.517.9
Percy Harvin201123MIN16268.216.76
Amon-Ra St. Brown202223DET16267.616.73
Demaryius Thomas201528DEN16267.416.71
Roddy White200928ATL16266.516.66
Stefon Diggs201825MIN15266.317.75
Chad Johnson200628CIN16266.316.64
Calvin Johnson201025DET15266.217.75
Robert Woods201826LAR16265.616.6
Davante Adams202331LVR17265.415.61
Tyler Lockett202028SEA16265.416.59
Greg Jennings200825GNB16265.216.58
Chris Chambers200527MIA1626516.56
Roddy White200827ATL16264.616.54
Amani Toomer200228NYG16264.516.53
Jordy Nelson201328GNB16264.416.53
Steve Smith Sr.201132CAR1626416.5
Joe Horn200129NOR16263.916.49
Joe Horn200230NOR16263.416.46
Allen Robinson202027CHI16262.916.43
Ja'Marr Chase202323CIN16262.716.42
Mike Evans202128TAM16262.516.41
Julio Jones201223ATL16261.816.36
Alshon Jeffery201424CHI16261.616.35
Keenan Allen201927LAC16261.516.34
Larry Fitzgerald201734ARI16261.416.34
Calvin Johnson201530DET16261.416.34
DeSean Jackson200923PHI15261.317.42
Nico Collins202324HOU15260.417.36
Vincent Jackson201229TAM16260.416.28
Jimmy Smith200031JAX15260.317.35
Sidney Rice200923MIN16260.216.26
Keenan Allen201826LAC16260.116.26
Brandon Marshall200824DEN15260.117.34
Jarvis Landry201725MIA1626016.25
Julio Jones201627ATL14259.918.56
Steve Smith Sr.200627CAR14259.718.55
Anquan Boldin200828ARI12259.521.63
Marty Booker200125CHI16259.316.21
Torry Holt200125STL16259.316.21
Jaylen Waddle202224MIA17259.215.25
Hunter Renfrow202126LVR17259.115.24
Golden Tate201426DET16259.116.19
Eric Moulds200027BUF1625916.19
T.Y. Hilton201425IND15258.517.23
Michael Thomas201724NOR16258.516.16
Steve Smith Sr.200829CAR14258.118.44

The average age ever so slightly drops by 0.03 years to 27.04. Below is a distribution graph of the ages.

Wide Receiver Peak Age

With the higher parameter, no player over 35 has accomplished a peak season. The former peak range from ages 23 to 30 jumps to include 81.7 percent of the seasons, while 58.04 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 (on average, 4.78 receivers qualify for this list each season) then the sample size drops to 114 seasons. Out of wide receivers, only CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Puka Nacua, A.J. Brown, and D.J. Moore scored over 285 PPR fantasy points this past season. Again, the players are listed below.

PlayerSeasonAgeTeamGPPRPPR/G
Cooper Kupp202128LAR17439.525.85
CeeDee Lamb202324DAL17403.223.72
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.224.26
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.924.18
Randy Moss200730NWE16385.324.08
Marvin Harrison200230IND16384.224.01
Tyreek Hill202329MIA16376.423.53
Randy Moss200326MIN1637623.5
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.123.44
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.623.41
Justin Jefferson202223MIN17368.721.69
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.222.45
Torry Holt200327STL16359.122.44
Davante Adams202028GNB14358.425.6
Marvin Harrison200129IND16351.721.98
Tyreek Hill202228MIA17347.220.42
Davante Adams202129GNB16344.321.52
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.421.4
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.921.31
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.221.2
Deebo Samuel202125SFO1633921.19
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR16337.821.11
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.121.07
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.920.99
Davante Adams202230LVR17335.519.74
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.620.91
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633420.88
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.520.84
Terrell Owens200128SFO16332.320.77
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.120.69
Amon-Ra St. Brown202324DET16330.920.68
Justin Jefferson202122MIN17330.419.44
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.621.97
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632920.56
Tyreek Hill202026KAN15328.921.93
Stefon Diggs202027BUF16328.620.54
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.920.49
Marvin Harrison200028IND16327.320.46
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.920.37
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.721.58
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.120.13
Terrell Owens200229SFO14321.922.99
Terrell Owens200027SFO14321.222.94
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.520.03
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG15319.321.29
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631919.94
Rod Smith200131DEN1531821.2
Stefon Diggs202229BUF16316.619.79
Roddy White201029ATL16316.219.76
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631619.75
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.519.72
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.919.68
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.919.68
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.422.46
Randy Moss200023MIN16313.219.58
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.119.44
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.322.16
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.820.65
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.419.34
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI1630819.25
David Boston200123ARI16307.319.21
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.320.49
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.319.21
Terrell Owens200734DAL1530720.47
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.619.16
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.519.09
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.719.04
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN17304.617.92
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.119.01
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630419
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.221.66
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.918.87
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.818.86
Marvin Harrison200634IND16301.618.85
CeeDee Lamb202223DAL17301.617.74
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.918.81
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.818.74
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.718.73
A.J. Brown202225PHI17299.617.62
Puka Nacua202322LAR17298.517.56
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN16297.718.61
Chad Johnson200527CIN16297.518.59
Julio Jones201425ATL15297.419.83
Jimmy Smith200132JAX1629718.56
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT16296.918.56
Odell Beckham Jr.201624NYG16296.618.54
Tyreek Hill202127KAN17296.517.44
Andre Johnson201231HOU16295.818.49
Javon Walker200426GNB16295.218.45
Odell Beckham Jr.201422NYG1229524.58
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI15294.919.66
Randall Cobb201424GNB16293.418.34
Dez Bryant201325DAL16292.418.28
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN16291.418.21
Torry Holt200428STL16291.218.2
Mike Evans201825TAM16290.418.15
Randy Moss200225MIN16290.318.14
Eric Moulds200229BUF16289.918.12
A.J. Brown202326PHI17289.617.04
Wes Welker201231NWE16289.418.09
Torry Holt200529STL14289.320.66
Anquan Boldin200525ARI14288.720.62
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN16288.718.04
Victor Cruz201125NYG16287.917.99
DeAndre Hopkins202028ARI16287.817.99
Chad Johnson200729CIN16287.717.98
Randy Moss200932NWE16287.417.96
Isaac Bruce200028STL16287.217.95
D.J. Moore202326CHI17286.516.85
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN1628617.88
Stefon Diggs202128BUF17285.516.79
Chad Johnson200325CIN16285.517.84
Wes Welker200928NWE14285.420.39
Marvin Harrison200432IND16285.317.83

The average age drops again to 26.89. Below is a distribution graph of the qualifiers.

Wide Receiver Peak Age

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

We can’t say enough good things about Ja’Marr Chase. In 2021, he became the first 21-year-old to make this list.

As is the case every year, the percentage of players under 30 rises to 82.46 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 requirement one more time.

Raising The Qualifier One Last Time

If we raise the qualifying fantasy points scored for a peak season to 299 PPR fantasy points, the sample size drops to 79 seasons. These are the best of the best receiver seasons – only 3.3 receivers qualify per year. Here are the studs who qualified:

PlayerSeasonAgeTeamGPPRPPR/G
Cooper Kupp202128LAR17439.525.85
CeeDee Lamb202324DAL17403.223.72
Antonio Brown201527PIT16388.224.26
Antonio Brown201426PIT16386.924.18
Randy Moss200730NWE16385.324.08
Marvin Harrison200230IND16384.224.01
Tyreek Hill202329MIA16376.423.53
Randy Moss200326MIN1637623.5
Julio Jones201526ATL16375.123.44
Michael Thomas201926NOR16374.623.41
Justin Jefferson202223MIN17368.721.69
Calvin Johnson201126DET16359.222.45
Torry Holt200327STL16359.122.44
Davante Adams202028GNB14358.425.6
Marvin Harrison200129IND16351.721.98
Tyreek Hill202228MIA17347.220.42
Davante Adams202129GNB16344.321.52
Calvin Johnson201227DET16342.421.4
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN16340.921.31
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ16339.221.2
Deebo Samuel202125SFO1633921.19
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR16337.821.11
Hines Ward200226PIT16337.121.07
Wes Welker201130NWE16335.920.99
Davante Adams202230LVR17335.519.74
Brandon Marshall201228CHI16334.620.91
Tyreek Hill201824KAN1633420.88
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU16333.520.84
Terrell Owens200128SFO16332.320.77
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU16331.120.69
Amon-Ra St. Brown202324DET16330.920.68
Justin Jefferson202122MIN17330.419.44
Davante Adams201826GNB15329.621.97
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR1632920.56
Tyreek Hill202026KAN15328.921.93
Stefon Diggs202027BUF16328.620.54
Jordy Nelson201429GNB16327.920.49
Marvin Harrison200028IND16327.320.46
Julio Jones201829ATL16325.920.37
Antonio Brown201830PIT15323.721.58
Rod Smith200030DEN16322.120.13
Terrell Owens200229SFO14321.922.99
Terrell Owens200027SFO14321.222.94
Andre Johnson200827HOU16320.520.03
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG15319.321.29
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN1631919.94
Rod Smith200131DEN1531821.2
Stefon Diggs202229BUF16316.619.79
Roddy White201029ATL16316.219.76
Dez Bryant201426DAL1631619.75
Michael Thomas201825NOR16315.519.72
Antonio Brown201325PIT16314.919.68
Andre Johnson200928HOU16314.919.68
Josh Gordon201322CLE14314.422.46
Randy Moss200023MIN16313.219.58
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI16311.119.44
Antonio Brown201729PIT14310.322.16
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU15309.820.65
Reggie Wayne200729IND16309.419.34
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI1630819.25
David Boston200123ARI16307.319.21
Antonio Brown201628PIT15307.320.49
Adam Thielen201828MIN16307.319.21
Terrell Owens200734DAL1530720.47
A.J. Green201325CIN16306.619.16
Brandon Marshall201329CHI16305.519.09
Jordy Nelson201631GNB16304.719.04
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN17304.617.92
Mike Evans201623TAM16304.119.01
Allen Robinson201522JAX1630419
Calvin Johnson201328DET14303.221.66
Joe Horn200432NOR16301.918.87
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN16301.818.86
Marvin Harrison200634IND16301.618.85
CeeDee Lamb202223DAL17301.617.74
Braylon Edwards200724CLE16300.918.81
A.J. Green201224CIN16299.818.74
Dez Bryant201224DAL16299.718.73
A.J. Brown202225PHI17299.617.62

The average age drops yet again to 26.84. Below is a distribution graph of the new qualifiers.

Wide Receiver Peak Age

An incredible 84.81 percent of the seasons land between ages 23 to 30. 60.76 percent of the seasons fall between 25 and 29 years old.

Comparison of Thresholds

We can learn by comparing the results at each different threshold.

225 PPR 258 PPR 285 PPR 299 PPR
Qualifiers 401 224 114 79
Average Qualifiers Per Season 16.7 9.3 4.8 3.3
Average Age 27.07 27.04 26.89 26.84
Percentage Under 30 78.80% 79.09% 82.46% 83.54%
Players Age 23-30 80.05% 81.70% 81.58% 84.81%
Players Age 23-29 72.82% 75.00% 75.44% 77.22%
Players Age 25-29 56.36% 58.04% 61.40% 60.76%

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 – definitely past the peak age for an NFL wide receiver. For most receivers, the wheels start falling off shortly thereafter.

When playing in dynasty leagues, it’s worth remembering Bill Belichick’s mantra: rather trade a player too early than too late.

Should 2000-2009 Be Included?

The ages keep getting younger each year and from my research, at least anecdotally, it appears that the age of the players from the early 2000’s shouldn’t be included because it’s no longer relevant. Let’s see how 2000-2009 compares with 2010 to present.

We’ll use 258 PPR fantasy points as the threshold requirement – that keeps the sample at a reasonable size.

2000-09 2010-Present
Qualifiers 92 132
Average Qualifiers Per Season 9.2 9.4
Average Age 27.78 26.52
Percentage Under 30 71.74% 84.09%
Players Age 23-30 78.26% 84.09%
Players Age 23-29 70.65% 78.04%
Players Age 25-29 55.43% 59.85%

The findings certainly support a huge swing in age-related production. Prior to 2010, the average age of a WR to score at least 258 PPR fantasy points was 27.78 years old. Now that number has called to 26.52 years old. Since 2010, wide receivers under 30 years old account for 84.09% of the peak WR seasons. Previously that number was 71.74%. It’s never been more clear that fantasy owners need to fade older WRs.

Below is the distribution graph of the peak age for WRs since 2010. In the future, perhaps we will only include 2010 or later when updating this study.

Wide Receiver Peak Age