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Factoid

Older wide receivers

How might 30-somethings fare?

A reader asked a question regarding older wide receivers. He mentioned Adam Thielen (34 in August), Brandin Cooks (31 in September), and a few others of that ilk. This is something I've looked at before (an Odell Beckham item, I think) but I'm going to try a different approach.

Previously I just pulled all the older-than-30 wideouts who had put up top 30 or 40 numbers in the past. There were usually about a handful a year, showing it does happen. But that doesn't really show the odds of it happening, just that it's possible.

This time I went to the files to pull the numbers from all wide receivers aged 31 or older who have started at least 10 games. If an older guy is going somewhere to be the No. 3 or 4, like Beckham, you're not expecting him to put up great numbers. So let's look at all the older guys who at the start of the season figured to be in the 60-70 players anticipated to be regular starters for their teams. How did they work out?

In the last decade, there have been 63 wide receivers aged 31 or older to start at least 10 games in a season. About a quarter of them (15) ranked in the top 25 at the position (PPR scoring). That includes four guys from last year: Thielen, Davante Adams, Keenan Allen and DeAndre Hopkins (pictured).

About half (29) of the 63, though, didn't rank in the top 40. The 42nd-ranked wide receiver in PPR leagues has value; maybe he's a semi-regular starter in a typical 12-team league that starts three wide receivers. But probably not a league-winner.

Those 62 31-year-old (or older) wideout to start at least 10 games the 10 seasons are shown in the table below, sorted by PPR ranking.

31-YEAR-OLD (OR OLDER) WIDE RECEIVERS, 10-PLUS STARTS (2014-2023)
YearPlayerAgeGSTgtRecYdsAvgTDRk
2016Jordy Nelson, G.B.311615297125713.0142
2015Brandon Marshall, NYJ3116173109150213.8143
2017Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.3416161109115610.665
2019Julian Edelman, N.E.3313153100111711.267
2015Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.3216145109121511.297
2023Keenan Allen, LAC3113150108124311.578
2023Davante Adams, L.V.3117175103114411.1810
2016Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.331615010710239.6611
2023Adam Thielen, Car.331713710310149.8417
2014Steve Smith, Balt.351613479106513.5618
2014Anquan Boldin, S.F.341613083106212.8519
2018Julian Edelman, N.E.32121087485011.5621
2014Roddy White, Atl.33141258092111.5721
2023DeAndre Hopkins, Ten.311613775105714.1722
2018Emmanuel Sanders, Den.3112987186812.2523
2018Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.35161126973410.6626
2020Cole Beasley, Buff.31101078296711.8427
2021Adam Thielen, Min.3113956772610.81028
2014Andre Johnson, Hou.33151468593611.0328
2015James Jones, G.B.3115995089017.8830
2022Adam Thielen, Min.32171077071610.2631
2019Emmanuel Sanders, 2TM3216976686913.2532
2023Tyler Lockett, Sea.31171227989411.3533
2014Vincent Jackson, T.B.311614270100214.3233
2021Marvin Jones, Jac.31161207383211.4434
2017Ted Ginn, N.O.3210705378714.9434
2019Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.36161097580410.7435
2016Steve Smith Sr., Balt.37141017079911.4537
2014Marques Colston, N.O.31131005990215.3537
2018Jordy Nelson, Oak.3314886373911.7338
2017Mike Wallace, Balt.3114925274814.4438
2018Demaryius Thomas, 2TM3115895967711.5539
2015Anquan Boldin, S.F.35131116978911.4440
2014Malcom Floyd, S.D.3316925285616.5640
2020T.Y. Hilton, Ind.3115935676213.6542
2016Anquan Boldin, Det.361695675848.7842
2014Greg Jennings, Min.3113925974212.6642
2018DeSean Jackson, T.B.3210744177418.9543
2019Golden Tate, NYG3110854967613.8645
2017DeSean Jackson, T.B.3113905066813.4345
2017Jordy Nelson, G.B.321588534829.1646
2019Danny Amendola, Det.3410976267810.9149
2016Brandon Marshall, NYJ32151285978813.4349
2015Nate Washington, Hou.3214944765814.0449
2014Reggie Wayne, Ind.36151166477912.2250
2014Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.31131036378412.4251
2021Emmanuel Sanders, Buff.3413724262614.9454
2017Brandon LaFell, Cin.3115895254810.5355
2018Michael Crabtree, Balt.31161005460711.2356
2018Danny Amendola, Mia.331579595759.8157
2022Marvin Jones, Jac.3210814652911.5358
2015Andre Johnson, Ind.3414774150312.3458
2014Nate Washington, Ten.3111724064716.2266
2020A.J. Green, Cin.32141044752311.1268
2014Jerricho Cotchery, Car.3213784858012.1169
2015Malcom Floyd, S.D.3413683056118.7370
2015Roddy White, Atl.3416704350611.8173
2020Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.371372544097.6174
2023Robert Woods, Hou.3111754042610.7178
2019Demaryius Thomas, NYJ3210583643312.0183
2015Harry Douglas, Ten.3112723641111.4283
2021Julio Jones, Ten.3210483143414.0193
2022A.J. Green, Ari.341047242369.82104

--Andy Richardson

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