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 per year (roughly top-24 production), the average age was 27 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, and 63% of qualifiers were between the ages of 25-29.
  • When drafting WRs in fantasy football, age is very important – give the edge to the younger receivers, especially those who will be playing the season at ages 25-28.

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

PlayerYearAgeTmPPRGRecYdsTD
Cooper Kupp202128LAR439.517145194716
Antonio Brown201527PIT388.216136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT386.916129169813
Randy Moss200730NWE385.31698149323
Marvin Harrison200230IND384.216143172211
Randy Moss200326MIN37616111163217
Michael Thomas201926NOR374.61614917259
Julio Jones201526ATL369.11613618718
Calvin Johnson201126DET359.21696168116
Torry Holt200327STL359.116117169612
Davante Adams202028GNB358.414115137418
Marvin Harrison200129IND351.716109152415
Davante Adams202129GNB344.316123155311
Calvin Johnson201227DET342.41612219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN340.916111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ339.216109150214
Deebo Samuel202125SFO338.96167714056
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR337.816103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT337.116112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE335.91612215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI334.616118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN3341687147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU333.516115157211
Terrell Owens200128SFO332.31693141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU331.116111152111
Justin Jefferson202122MIN330.417108161610
Davante Adams201826GNB329.615111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR3291693140516
Tyreek Hill202026KAN328.91587127615
Stefon Diggs202027BUF328.61612715358
Jordy Nelson201429GNB327.91698151913
Marvin Harrison200028IND327.316102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL325.91611316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT323.715104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN322.11610016028
Terrell Owens200229SFO321.914100130013
Terrell Owens200027SFO321.21497145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU320.51611515758
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG319.31596145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN3191692143014
Rod Smith200131DEN31815113134311
Roddy White201029ATL316.216115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL3161688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR315.51612514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT314.91611014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU314.91610115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE314.4148716469
Randy Moss200023MIN313.21677143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI311.11696143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT310.31410115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU309.81596137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND309.416104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI30816103140910
David Boston200123ARI307.3169815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT307.315106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN307.31611313739
Terrell Owens200734DAL3071581135515
A.J. Green201325CIN306.61698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI305.516100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB304.71697125714
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN304.61781145513
Mike Evans201623TAM304.11696132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX3041680140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET303.21484149212
Joe Horn200432NOR301.91694139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN301.81610114049
Marvin Harrison200634IND301.61695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE300.91680128916
A.J. Green201224CIN299.81697135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL299.71692138212
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN297.716112114312
Chad Johnson200527CIN297.5169714329
Julio Jones201425ATL297.41510415936
Jimmy Smith200132JAX2971611213738
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT296.91611114267
Odell Beckham Jr.201624NYG296.616101136710
Tyreek Hill202127KAN296.51711112399
Andre Johnson201231HOU295.81611215984
Javon Walker200426GNB295.21689138212
Odell Beckham Jr.201422NYG2951291130512
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI294.915100140910
Randall Cobb201424GNB293.41691128712
Dez Bryant201325DAL292.41693123313
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN291.41694143410
Torry Holt200428STL291.21694137210
Randy Moss200225MIN290.321610613477
Eric Moulds200229BUF289.916100129210
Wes Welker201231NWE289.41611813546
Torry Holt200529STL289.31410213319
Anquan Boldin200525ARI288.71410214027
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN288.71610113179
Victor Cruz201125NYG287.9168215369
DeAndre Hopkins202028ARI287.81611514076
Chad Johnson200729CIN287.7169314408
Randy Moss200932NWE287.41683126413
Isaac Bruce200028STL287.2168714719
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN2861677144811
Stefon Diggs202128BUF285.517103122510
Chad Johnson200325CIN285.51690135510
Wes Welker200928NWE285.41412313484
Marvin Harrison200432IND285.31686111315
Mike Evans201825TAM284.4168615248
Reggie Wayne200931IND284.416100126410
Jordy Nelson201126GNB284.31668126315
Larry Fitzgerald200926ARI284.21697109213
Santana Moss200526WAS284168414839
Alshon Jeffery201323CHI283.6168914217
Terrell Owens200633DAL2831685118013
Anquan Boldin200323ARI282.71610113778
Marques Colston200724NOR282.21698120211
Derrick Alexander200029KAN281.61678139110
Calvin Ridley202026ATL281.5159013749
Calvin Johnson200823DET2811678133112
Wes Welker200726NWE280.91611211758
Larry Fitzgerald201532ARI280.51610912159
Reggie Wayne201032IND280.51611113556
Chad Johnson200426CIN280.3169512749
Brandon Marshall200723DEN280.21610213257
Eric Decker201326DEN279.81687128811
Andre Johnson201332HOU279.71610914075
Marvin Harrison200331IND279.51594127210
Miles Austin200925DAL278.81681132011
Dwayne Bowe201026KAN278.61672116215
Terrell Owens200431PHI278.51477120014
Keenan Allen201725LAC278.21610213936
Torry Holt200024STL278.2168216356
Roddy White201130ATL277.61610012968
Pierre Garcon201327WAS277.51611313465
Hines Ward200327PIT277.41695116310
Joe Horn200028NOR277169413408
Drew Bennett200426TEN276.941680124711
Brandon Marshall200925DEN276.915101112010
Jeremy Maclin201426PHI276.81685131810
Chris Godwin201923TAM276.1148613339
Cris Carter200035MIN275.4169612749
Jarvis Landry201523MIA275.361611011574
Greg Jennings201027GNB274.41676126512
Diontae Johnson202125PIT274.41610711618
Derrick Mason200329TEN274.4169513038
Justin Jefferson202021MIN274.2168814007
Julio Jones201930ATL274.1159913946
T.Y. Hilton201627IND273.8169114486
A.J. Green201527CIN273.71686129710
Reggie Wayne200628IND273168613109
Joey Galloway200534TAM272.11683128710
D.K. Metcalf202023SEA271.31683130310
Donald Driver200631GNB271.1169212958
Steve Smith200924NYG2711610712207
Cooper Kupp201926LAR270.51694116110
Randy Moss200124MIN270.261682123310
Troy Brown200130NWE2701610111995
Peerless Price200226BUF269.9169412529
Torry Holt200630STL269.81693118810
Reggie Wayne200426IND269.61677121012
Tim Brown200135OAK269.4169111659
Eric Decker201225DEN269.41685106413
DeSean Jackson201327PHI269.4168213329
Larry Fitzgerald201128ARI269.1168014118
Roddy White201231ATL269.1169213517
Reggie Wayne201234IND2691610613555
Doug Baldwin201527SEA268.91678106914
Marvin Harrison200533IND268.61582114612
DeAndre Hopkins201927HOU268.541510411657
Percy Harvin201123MIN268.216879676
Demaryius Thomas201528DEN267.41610513046
Roddy White200928ATL266.51685115311
Stefon Diggs201825MIN266.31510210219
Chad Johnson200628CIN266.3168713697
Calvin Johnson201025DET266.21577112012
Robert Woods201826LAR265.6168612196
Tyler Lockett202028SEA265.416100105410
Greg Jennings200825GNB265.2168012929
Chris Chambers200527MIA2651682111811
Roddy White200827ATL264.6168813827
Amani Toomer200228NYG264.5168213438
Jordy Nelson201328GNB264.4168513148
Steve Smith Sr.201132CAR264167913947
Joe Horn200129NOR263.9168312659
Joe Horn200230NOR263.4168813127
Allen Robinson202027CHI262.91610212506
Mike Evans202128TAM262.51674103514
Julio Jones201223ATL261.81679119810
Alshon Jeffery201424CHI261.61685113310
Keenan Allen201927LAC261.51610411996
Larry Fitzgerald201734ARI261.441610911566
Calvin Johnson201530DET261.4168812149
DeSean Jackson200923PHI261.3156211569
Vincent Jackson201229TAM260.4167213848
Jimmy Smith200031JAX260.3159112138
Sidney Rice200923MIN260.2168313128
Keenan Allen201826LAC260.1169711966
Brandon Marshall200824DEN260.11510412656
Jarvis Landry201725MIA260161129879
Julio Jones201627ATL259.9148314096
Steve Smith Sr.200627CAR259.7148311668
Anquan Boldin200828ARI259.51289103811
Torry Holt200125STL259.3168113637
Marty Booker200125CHI259.261610010718
Hunter Renfrow202126LVR259.11710310389
Golden Tate201426DET259.1169913314
Eric Moulds200027BUF259169413265
T.Y. Hilton201425IND258.5158213457
Michael Thomas201724NOR258.51610412455
Steve Smith Sr.200829CAR258.1147814216
Keenan Allen202129LAC257.81610611386
Marty Booker200226CHI257.66169711896
Muhsin Muhammad200027CAR257.51610211836
Donald Driver200429GNB257.2168412089
Lee Evans200625BUF257.2168212928
Andre Johnson201029HOU256.6138612168
Julian Edelman201933NWE256.281610011176
Tim Brown200034OAK2561676112811
Torry Holt200731STL255.9169311897
Michael Thomas201623NOR255.7159211379
Victor Cruz201226NYG255.21686109210
Jerry Rice200240OAK255.1169212117
Allen Robinson201926CHI254.9169811477
Derrick Mason200430TEN254.5169611687
Marques Colston201229NOR254.41683115410
Adam Thielen202030MIN254157492514
Doug Baldwin201628SEA253.6169411287
Brandin Cooks201522NOR253.6168411389
Eric Decker201528NYJ252.71580102712
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200629CIN252.7149010819
Plaxico Burress200225PIT252.5167813257
Julio Jones201728ATL251.9168814443
Julian Edelman201327NWE251.71610510566
Laveranues Coles200225NYJ251.3168912645
Steve Smith Sr.200324CAR251.2168811107
Roy Williams200625DET251.2168213107
Jerry Rice200139OAK250.9168311399
Michael Crabtree201225SFO250.3168511059
Hakeem Nicks201022NYG250.21379105211
Antonio Bryant200827TAM250168312487
Mike Wallace201024PIT249.61660125710
Andre Johnson200625HOU249.11610311475
Darrell Jackson200426SEA248.9168711997
Mike Evans202027TAM248.61670100613
Wes Welker200827NWE248.11611111653
Kenny Golladay201926DET2481665119011
Kevin Johnson200125CLE247.7168410979
A.J. Brown202023TEN247.51470107511
Keenan McCardell200334TAM247.4168411748
Steve Johnson201024BUF247.31682107310
Santana Moss200324NYJ247.21674110510
Davante Adams201624GNB246.7167599712
Mike Williams202127LAC246.6167611469
Amari Cooper201925DAL246.5167911898
Brandin Cooks201623NOR246.3167811738
Isaac Bruce200432STL246.2168912926
DeVante Parker201926MIA246.2167212029
Anquan Boldin201333SFO246168511797
Derrick Mason200127TEN245.8157311289
Jaylen Waddle202123MIA245.81610410156
Hines Ward200933PIT245.7169511676
Tyreek Hill201723KAN245.2157511837
Keenan Allen202028LAC245.1141009928
Mike Evans201421TAM245.11568105112
Robert Woods202028LAR245.116909366
Torry Holt200226STL245169113024
Plaxico Burress200730NYG244.51670102512
Michael Clayton200422TAM244.3168011937
D.K. Metcalf202124SEA244.3177596712
Terrell Owens200330SFO244158011029
Larry Fitzgerald201633ARI243.81610710236
Javon Walker200628DEN243.7166910848
Brandin Cooks201825LAR243.2168012045
Jeremy Maclin201527KAN243.2158710888
Danny Woodhead201530SDG243.116807556
Mike Wallace201125PIT243167211938
Bobby Engram200735SEA242.7169411476
Amani Toomer200026NYG242.5167810947
Chris Godwin202125TAM242.4149811035
Vincent Jackson201330TAM242.4167812247
Laveranues Coles200326WAS242.3168212046
Larry Fitzgerald201027ARI241.7169011376
Tyler Lockett202129SEA241.4167311758
Randall Cobb201222GNB240.615809548
Mike Furrey200629DET240.6169810866
Marques Colston201128NOR240.3148011438
Keenan McCardell200132JAX240169311106
Vincent Jackson200926SDG239.8156811679
Derrick Mason200733BAL239.71610310875
Adam Thielen201727MIN239.7169112764
Donald Driver200530GNB239.4168612215
Michael Crabtree201629OAK239.3168910038
T.Y. Hilton201829IND239147612706
Keenan McCardell200031JAX238.7169412075
Rod Smith200434DEN238.7167911447
Michael Pittman Jr.202124IND238.6178810826
Laveranues Coles200629NYJ238.2169110986
Brandon Marshall201127MIA237.7168112146
Koren Robinson200222SEA237.6167812405
D.J. Moore202124CAR237.5179311574
Plaxico Burress200528NYG237.4167612147
Jarvis Landry201927CLE237.4168311746
Joe Horn200331NOR237.36157897310
Hakeem Nicks201123NYG237.2157611927
Amari Cooper202026DAL236.8169211145
Keyshawn Johnson200129TAM236.61510612661
Larry Fitzgerald201330ARI236.2168295410
Santana Moss201031WAS235.9169311156
Steve Smith Sr.200728CAR235.8158710027
Nate Burleson200423MIN235.5166810069
Terrell Owens200835DAL235.51669105210
Donald Driver200227GNB235.4167010649
Tyler Lockett201927SEA235.2168210578
Curtis Conway200130SDG235.1167111256
Roddy White200726ATL235168312026
Reggie Wayne200830IND234.5168211456
Santonio Holmes200925PIT234.4167912485
JuJu Smith-Schuster202024PIT234.116978319
Darrell Jackson200325SEA233.7166811379
Brandon Stokley200428IND233.71668107710
Robert Woods201927LAR232.9159011342
CeeDee Lamb202122DAL232.8167911026
Mike Evans201926TAM232.7136711578
Amari Cooper201622OAK232.3168311535
Brandin Cooks202027HOU232158111506
Brandin Cooks202128HOU231.8169010376
Randy Moss200831NWE231.81669100811
Hines Ward200529PIT231.5156997511
Jarvis Landry201624MIA231.3169411364
Michael Crabtree201528OAK231.216859229
DeAndre Hopkins201422HOU231167612106
Jordan Matthews201523PHI230.716859978
D.J. Moore201922CAR230.5158711754
Odell Beckham Jr.201826NYG230.34127710526
Julian Edelman201630NWE230.3169811063
Dwayne Bowe200824KAN230.2168610227
Anquan Boldin200626ARI230.1168312034
Marques Colston200926NOR230167010749
Chad Johnson200931CIN229.9167210479
Eddie Royal200822DEN229.915919805
Lance Moore200825NOR229.8167992810
Vincent Jackson201128SDG229.7166011069
Julian Edelman201428NWE228.614929724
Miles Austin201026DAL228.4166910417
Marques Colston201027NOR228.4158410237
Andre Johnson200423HOU228.4167911426
Rod Smith200535DEN228.2168511056
Dwayne Bowe201127KAN228.1168111595
Jeremy Maclin201022PHI228167096410
Marvin Jones202030DET227.816769789
Hines Ward200832PIT227.7168110437
David Boston200022ARI227.5167111567
Chris Chambers200325MIA227.3166496311
Amon-Ra St. Brown202122DET227.317909125
Darrell Jackson200123SEA227167010818
Jimmy Smith200233JAX226.9168010277
A.J. Green201729CIN226.8167510788
Calvin Johnson201429DET226.7137110778
James Jones201228GNB226.4166478414
Marquise Brown202124BAL226.3169110086
Isaac Bruce200230STL226.3167910757
Demaryius Thomas201629DEN226.3169010835
Santana Moss200829WAS226.1167910446
Kelvin Benjamin201423CAR225.8167310089
DJ Chark201923JAX225.8157310088
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200528CIN225.814789567
Jimmy Smith200435JAX225.2167411726
Allen Hurns201524JAX225.11564103110
Marvin Jones201727DET225.1166111019

The average age for this group is 27.16 years old. Below is a distribution graph of the ages of qualifying WRs when they hit a peak season.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


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. This past 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 prior to 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 79.1 percent of the individual seasons fall within this range. A more magnified peak is in the 25 to 29 range, where 57 percent of peak seasons reside. As I do these studies annually, the average age becomes younger each season. Last year the average age of this group was 27.26, this year it fell to 27.16.

There is a steady decline that takes place after the age 29 season and continues with each passing year. Just 6.6 percent of the peak seasons happen after the age 32 season and a minuscule 2.2 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 204 seasons. Nine wide receivers in 2020 scored at least 258 PPR fantasy points. Since 2000, an average of 9.7 receivers make this list per season.

The full list of players to qualify is included below.

PlayerYearAgeTmPPRGRecYdsTD
Cooper Kupp202128LAR439.517145194716
Antonio Brown201527PIT388.216136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT386.916129169813
Randy Moss200730NWE385.31698149323
Marvin Harrison200230IND384.216143172211
Randy Moss200326MIN37616111163217
Michael Thomas201926NOR374.61614917259
Julio Jones201526ATL369.11613618718
Calvin Johnson201126DET359.21696168116
Torry Holt200327STL359.116117169612
Davante Adams202028GNB358.414115137418
Marvin Harrison200129IND351.716109152415
Davante Adams202129GNB344.316123155311
Calvin Johnson201227DET342.41612219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN340.916111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ339.216109150214
Deebo Samuel202125SFO338.96167714056
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR337.816103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT337.116112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE335.91612215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI334.616118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN3341687147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU333.516115157211
Terrell Owens200128SFO332.31693141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU331.116111152111
Justin Jefferson202122MIN330.417108161610
Davante Adams201826GNB329.615111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR3291693140516
Tyreek Hill202026KAN328.91587127615
Stefon Diggs202027BUF328.61612715358
Jordy Nelson201429GNB327.91698151913
Marvin Harrison200028IND327.316102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL325.91611316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT323.715104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN322.11610016028
Terrell Owens200229SFO321.914100130013
Terrell Owens200027SFO321.21497145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU320.51611515758
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG319.31596145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN3191692143014
Rod Smith200131DEN31815113134311
Roddy White201029ATL316.216115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL3161688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR315.51612514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT314.91611014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU314.91610115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE314.4148716469
Randy Moss200023MIN313.21677143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI311.11696143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT310.31410115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU309.81596137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND309.416104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI30816103140910
David Boston200123ARI307.3169815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT307.315106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN307.31611313739
Terrell Owens200734DAL3071581135515
A.J. Green201325CIN306.61698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI305.516100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB304.71697125714
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN304.61781145513
Mike Evans201623TAM304.11696132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX3041680140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET303.21484149212
Joe Horn200432NOR301.91694139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN301.81610114049
Marvin Harrison200634IND301.61695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE300.91680128916
A.J. Green201224CIN299.81697135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL299.71692138212
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN297.716112114312
Chad Johnson200527CIN297.5169714329
Julio Jones201425ATL297.41510415936
Jimmy Smith200132JAX2971611213738
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT296.91611114267
Odell Beckham Jr.201624NYG296.616101136710
Tyreek Hill202127KAN296.51711112399
Andre Johnson201231HOU295.81611215984
Javon Walker200426GNB295.21689138212
Odell Beckham Jr.201422NYG2951291130512
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI294.915100140910
Randall Cobb201424GNB293.41691128712
Dez Bryant201325DAL292.41693123313
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN291.41694143410
Torry Holt200428STL291.21694137210
Randy Moss200225MIN290.321610613477
Eric Moulds200229BUF289.916100129210
Wes Welker201231NWE289.41611813546
Torry Holt200529STL289.31410213319
Anquan Boldin200525ARI288.71410214027
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN288.71610113179
Victor Cruz201125NYG287.9168215369
DeAndre Hopkins202028ARI287.81611514076
Chad Johnson200729CIN287.7169314408
Randy Moss200932NWE287.41683126413
Isaac Bruce200028STL287.2168714719
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN2861677144811
Stefon Diggs202128BUF285.517103122510
Chad Johnson200325CIN285.51690135510
Wes Welker200928NWE285.41412313484
Marvin Harrison200432IND285.31686111315
Mike Evans201825TAM284.4168615248
Reggie Wayne200931IND284.416100126410
Jordy Nelson201126GNB284.31668126315
Larry Fitzgerald200926ARI284.21697109213
Santana Moss200526WAS284168414839
Alshon Jeffery201323CHI283.6168914217
Terrell Owens200633DAL2831685118013
Anquan Boldin200323ARI282.71610113778
Marques Colston200724NOR282.21698120211
Derrick Alexander200029KAN281.61678139110
Calvin Ridley202026ATL281.5159013749
Calvin Johnson200823DET2811678133112
Wes Welker200726NWE280.91611211758
Larry Fitzgerald201532ARI280.51610912159
Reggie Wayne201032IND280.51611113556
Chad Johnson200426CIN280.3169512749
Brandon Marshall200723DEN280.21610213257
Eric Decker201326DEN279.81687128811
Andre Johnson201332HOU279.71610914075
Marvin Harrison200331IND279.51594127210
Miles Austin200925DAL278.81681132011
Dwayne Bowe201026KAN278.61672116215
Terrell Owens200431PHI278.51477120014
Keenan Allen201725LAC278.21610213936
Torry Holt200024STL278.2168216356
Roddy White201130ATL277.61610012968
Pierre Garcon201327WAS277.51611313465
Hines Ward200327PIT277.41695116310
Joe Horn200028NOR277169413408
Drew Bennett200426TEN276.941680124711
Brandon Marshall200925DEN276.915101112010
Jeremy Maclin201426PHI276.81685131810
Chris Godwin201923TAM276.1148613339
Cris Carter200035MIN275.4169612749
Jarvis Landry201523MIA275.361611011574
Greg Jennings201027GNB274.41676126512
Diontae Johnson202125PIT274.41610711618
Derrick Mason200329TEN274.4169513038
Justin Jefferson202021MIN274.2168814007
Julio Jones201930ATL274.1159913946
T.Y. Hilton201627IND273.8169114486
A.J. Green201527CIN273.71686129710
Reggie Wayne200628IND273168613109
Joey Galloway200534TAM272.11683128710
D.K. Metcalf202023SEA271.31683130310
Donald Driver200631GNB271.1169212958
Steve Smith200924NYG2711610712207
Cooper Kupp201926LAR270.51694116110
Randy Moss200124MIN270.261682123310
Troy Brown200130NWE2701610111995
Peerless Price200226BUF269.9169412529
Torry Holt200630STL269.81693118810
Reggie Wayne200426IND269.61677121012
Tim Brown200135OAK269.4169111659
Eric Decker201225DEN269.41685106413
DeSean Jackson201327PHI269.4168213329
Larry Fitzgerald201128ARI269.1168014118
Roddy White201231ATL269.1169213517
Reggie Wayne201234IND2691610613555
Doug Baldwin201527SEA268.91678106914
Marvin Harrison200533IND268.61582114612
DeAndre Hopkins201927HOU268.541510411657
Percy Harvin201123MIN268.216879676
Demaryius Thomas201528DEN267.41610513046
Roddy White200928ATL266.51685115311
Stefon Diggs201825MIN266.31510210219
Chad Johnson200628CIN266.3168713697
Calvin Johnson201025DET266.21577112012
Robert Woods201826LAR265.6168612196
Tyler Lockett202028SEA265.416100105410
Greg Jennings200825GNB265.2168012929
Chris Chambers200527MIA2651682111811
Roddy White200827ATL264.6168813827
Amani Toomer200228NYG264.5168213438
Jordy Nelson201328GNB264.4168513148
Steve Smith Sr.201132CAR264167913947
Joe Horn200129NOR263.9168312659
Joe Horn200230NOR263.4168813127
Allen Robinson202027CHI262.91610212506
Mike Evans202128TAM262.51674103514
Julio Jones201223ATL261.81679119810
Alshon Jeffery201424CHI261.61685113310
Keenan Allen201927LAC261.51610411996
Larry Fitzgerald201734ARI261.441610911566
Calvin Johnson201530DET261.4168812149
DeSean Jackson200923PHI261.3156211569
Vincent Jackson201229TAM260.4167213848
Jimmy Smith200031JAX260.3159112138
Sidney Rice200923MIN260.2168313128
Keenan Allen201826LAC260.1169711966
Brandon Marshall200824DEN260.11510412656
Jarvis Landry201725MIA260161129879
Julio Jones201627ATL259.9148314096
Steve Smith Sr.200627CAR259.7148311668
Anquan Boldin200828ARI259.51289103811
Torry Holt200125STL259.3168113637
Marty Booker200125CHI259.261610010718
Hunter Renfrow202126LVR259.11710310389
Golden Tate201426DET259.1169913314
Eric Moulds200027BUF259169413265
T.Y. Hilton201425IND258.5158213457
Michael Thomas201724NOR258.51610412455
Steve Smith Sr.200829CAR258.1147814216

The average age ever so slightly drops by 0.05 years to 27.11. Below is a distribution graph of the ages.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


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 81.4 percent of the seasons, while 60.8 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, 4.8 receivers qualify for this list each season) then the sample size drops to 101 seasons. Out of wide receivers, only Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Deebo Samuel, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs scored over 285 PPR fantasy points this past season. Again, the players are listed below.

PlayerYearAgeTmPPRGRecYdsTD
Cooper Kupp202128LAR439.517145194716
Antonio Brown201527PIT388.216136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT386.916129169813
Randy Moss200730NWE385.31698149323
Marvin Harrison200230IND384.216143172211
Randy Moss200326MIN37616111163217
Michael Thomas201926NOR374.61614917259
Julio Jones201526ATL369.11613618718
Calvin Johnson201126DET359.21696168116
Torry Holt200327STL359.116117169612
Davante Adams202028GNB358.414115137418
Marvin Harrison200129IND351.716109152415
Davante Adams202129GNB344.316123155311
Calvin Johnson201227DET342.41612219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN340.916111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ339.216109150214
Deebo Samuel202125SFO338.96167714056
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR337.816103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT337.116112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE335.91612215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI334.616118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN3341687147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU333.516115157211
Terrell Owens200128SFO332.31693141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU331.116111152111
Justin Jefferson202122MIN330.417108161610
Davante Adams201826GNB329.615111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR3291693140516
Tyreek Hill202026KAN328.91587127615
Stefon Diggs202027BUF328.61612715358
Jordy Nelson201429GNB327.91698151913
Marvin Harrison200028IND327.316102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL325.91611316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT323.715104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN322.11610016028
Terrell Owens200229SFO321.914100130013
Terrell Owens200027SFO321.21497145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU320.51611515758
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG319.31596145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN3191692143014
Rod Smith200131DEN31815113134311
Roddy White201029ATL316.216115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL3161688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR315.51612514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT314.91611014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU314.91610115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE314.4148716469
Randy Moss200023MIN313.21677143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI311.11696143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT310.31410115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU309.81596137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND309.416104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI30816103140910
David Boston200123ARI307.3169815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT307.315106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN307.31611313739
Terrell Owens200734DAL3071581135515
A.J. Green201325CIN306.61698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI305.516100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB304.71697125714
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN304.61781145513
Mike Evans201623TAM304.11696132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX3041680140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET303.21484149212
Joe Horn200432NOR301.91694139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN301.81610114049
Marvin Harrison200634IND301.61695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE300.91680128916
A.J. Green201224CIN299.81697135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL299.71692138212
T.J. Houshmandzadeh200730CIN297.716112114312
Chad Johnson200527CIN297.5169714329
Julio Jones201425ATL297.41510415936
Jimmy Smith200132JAX2971611213738
JuJu Smith-Schuster201822PIT296.91611114267
Odell Beckham Jr.201624NYG296.616101136710
Tyreek Hill202127KAN296.51711112399
Andre Johnson201231HOU295.81611215984
Javon Walker200426GNB295.21689138212
Odell Beckham Jr.201422NYG2951291130512
Larry Fitzgerald200724ARI294.915100140910
Randall Cobb201424GNB293.41691128712
Dez Bryant201325DAL292.41693123313
Demaryius Thomas201225DEN291.41694143410
Torry Holt200428STL291.21694137210
Randy Moss200225MIN290.321610613477
Eric Moulds200229BUF289.916100129210
Wes Welker201231NWE289.41611813546
Torry Holt200529STL289.31410213319
Anquan Boldin200525ARI288.71410214027
Ed McCaffrey200032DEN288.71610113179
Victor Cruz201125NYG287.9168215369
DeAndre Hopkins202028ARI287.81611514076
Chad Johnson200729CIN287.7169314408
Randy Moss200932NWE287.41683126413
Isaac Bruce200028STL287.2168714719
Brandon Lloyd201029DEN2861677144811
Stefon Diggs202128BUF285.517103122510
Chad Johnson200325CIN285.51690135510
Wes Welker200928NWE285.41412313484
Marvin Harrison200432IND285.31686111315

The average age drops again by 0.06 years to 27.05. Below is a distribution graph of the qualifiers.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


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. Last year he became the first 21-year-old to make this list.

The percentage of players under 30 rises to 81.2 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 70 seasons. These are the best of the best receiver seasons – only 3.3 receivers qualify per year. Here are the studs who qualified:

Cooper Kupp202128LAR439.517145194716
Antonio Brown201527PIT388.216136183410
Antonio Brown201426PIT386.916129169813
Randy Moss200730NWE385.31698149323
Marvin Harrison200230IND384.216143172211
Randy Moss200326MIN37616111163217
Michael Thomas201926NOR374.61614917259
Julio Jones201526ATL369.11613618718
Calvin Johnson201126DET359.21696168116
Torry Holt200327STL359.116117169612
Davante Adams202028GNB358.414115137418
Marvin Harrison200129IND351.716109152415
Davante Adams202129GNB344.316123155311
Calvin Johnson201227DET342.41612219645
Demaryius Thomas201427DEN340.916111161911
Brandon Marshall201531NYJ339.216109150214
Deebo Samuel202125SFO338.96167714056
Steve Smith Sr.200526CAR337.816103156312
Hines Ward200226PIT337.116112132912
Wes Welker201130NWE335.91612215699
Brandon Marshall201228CHI334.616118150811
Tyreek Hill201824KAN3341687147912
DeAndre Hopkins201826HOU333.516115157211
Terrell Owens200128SFO332.31693141216
DeAndre Hopkins201523HOU331.116111152111
Justin Jefferson202122MIN330.417108161610
Davante Adams201826GNB329.615111138613
Muhsin Muhammad200431CAR3291693140516
Tyreek Hill202026KAN328.91587127615
Stefon Diggs202027BUF328.61612715358
Jordy Nelson201429GNB327.91698151913
Marvin Harrison200028IND327.316102141314
Julio Jones201829ATL325.91611316778
Antonio Brown201830PIT323.715104129715
Rod Smith200030DEN322.11610016028
Terrell Owens200229SFO321.914100130013
Terrell Owens200027SFO321.21497145113
Andre Johnson200827HOU320.51611515758
Odell Beckham Jr.201523NYG319.31596145013
Demaryius Thomas201326DEN3191692143014
Rod Smith200131DEN31815113134311
Roddy White201029ATL316.216115138910
Dez Bryant201426DAL3161688132016
Michael Thomas201825NOR315.51612514059
Antonio Brown201325PIT314.91611014998
Andre Johnson200928HOU314.91610115699
Josh Gordon201322CLE314.4148716469
Randy Moss200023MIN313.21677143715
Larry Fitzgerald200825ARI311.11696143112
Antonio Brown201729PIT310.31410115339
DeAndre Hopkins201725HOU309.81596137813
Reggie Wayne200729IND309.416104151010
Larry Fitzgerald200522ARI30816103140910
David Boston200123ARI307.3169815988
Antonio Brown201628PIT307.315106128412
Adam Thielen201828MIN307.31611313739
Terrell Owens200734DAL3071581135515
A.J. Green201325CIN306.61698142611
Brandon Marshall201329CHI305.516100129512
Jordy Nelson201631GNB304.71697125714
Ja'Marr Chase202121CIN304.61781145513
Mike Evans201623TAM304.11696132112
Allen Robinson201522JAX3041680140014
Calvin Johnson201328DET303.21484149212
Joe Horn200432NOR301.91694139911
Emmanuel Sanders201427DEN301.81610114049
Marvin Harrison200634IND301.61695136612
Braylon Edwards200724CLE300.91680128916
A.J. Green201224CIN299.81697135011
Dez Bryant201224DAL299.71692138212

The average age drops yet again by 0.12 years to 26.93. Below is a distribution graph of the new qualifiers.

5ppdev.com/web/apex/public


An incredible 82.86 percent of the seasons land within ages 23 to 30. 62.9 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 363 204 101 70
Average Qualifiers Per Season 17.3 9.7 4.8 3.3
Average Age 27.16 27.11 27.05 26.93
Percentage Under 30 78.24% 79.41% 81.19% 82.86%
Players Age 23-30 79.06% 81.37% 80.20% 82.86%
Players Age 25-29 57.02% 60.78% 62.38% 62.86%

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.