Fantasy Football: The Top 5 Healthiest Wide Receivers

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Last week, I revealed some of the healthiest and most durable running backs in fantasy football. This week, we will dive into the wide receiver position and see who you can count on to be on the field with confidence. Eligibility for this list includes wide receivers with at least 5 years of NFL experience. Players are listed in no particular order.

Check out where Andy, Mike, and Jason have these WRs ranked for 2017.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Not surprising, the #1 WR in fantasy football is also one of the most durable players out there. Brown entered the league in 2010 and has had an amazing career thus far. Not including his rookie season, he has played in 16 games every season except for one season in 2012, where he appeared in 13 contests. He played in 15 games last year but only missed week 17 because the Steelers decided to sit him with a playoff spot already secured. The only notable NFL injury on Brown’s resume is a high ankle sprain from 2012, which caused him to miss 3 games. Brown’s talent makes him an obvious top fantasy asset, but you can’t overstate how valuable it is to be able to rely on a guy for 16 games every year.

Year Games Played Receptions Yards TDs
2010 9 16 167 0
2011 16 69 1,108 2
2012 13 66 787 5
2013 16 110 1,499 8
2014 16 129 1,698 13
2015 16 136 1,834 10
2016 15 106 1,284 12
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

DT exploded onto the season a few years ago with Peyton Manning under center in the mile high city. However, in recent years, the fantasy community seems to be down on him due to his limited upside with Trevor Siemian at QB. While I agree that his upside is capped in that offense, you can’t deny that a locked and loaded WR2 who is always on the field is something we’d all love to have in our lineups. Like Brown, Thomas entered the NFL in 2010. After an injury-riddled rookie year, DT has been the picture of health as he hasn’t missed a regular season contest since 2011. His injury history includes a fractured finger, a concussion, and a torn Achilles, so he may be a surprise to make this list. However, he seems to have figured out how to take care of his body and remain on the field. He’s a ‘set it and forget it’ reliable WR2.

Year Games Played Receptions Yards TDs
2010 10 22 283 2
2011 11 32 551 4
2012 16 94 1,434 10
2013 16 92 1,430 14
2014 16 111 1,619 11
2015 16 105 1,304 6
2016 16 90 1,083 5
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

Baldwin has only missed 2 games in his 6 year NFL career – not bad for an undrafted free agent. He entered the league in 2011 but only came into fantasy relevance in the past 2-3 years as he’s established himself as Russell Wilson’s top receiving option while posting back to back 1,000-yard seasons. In 2012, Baldwin suffered 2 injuries, each of which forced him to sit for just 1 game. He was forced to exit from one contest after suffering a high ankle sprain and missed a second contest due to a shoulder injury. Like Thomas, Baldwin isn’t a flashy pick in drafts but a 1,000+ yard receiver in a good offense who is likely to suit up for all 16 games? Yes, please.

Year Games Played Receptions Yards TDs
2011 16 51 788 4
2012 14 29 366 3
2013 16 50 778 5
2014 16 66 825 3
2015 16 78 1,069 14
2016 16 94 1,128 7
Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

After an up-and-down year last season, Golden Tate will be looking to return to his dominant PPR form in 2017. When on the field, Tate is locked in for at least 80 catches in a pass happy offense in Detroit. This type of volume could be troublesome for some players, but not for Tate, who has been on the field consistently throughout his NFL career. Tate entered the NFL in 2010. During his rookie season, he appeared in just 11 games. 3 of those games were missed that season due to a sprained ankle. However, since then, he has missed just 1 regular season contest, playing in all 16 games for the past 4 seasons. Since arriving in Detroit, Tate is dependable, consistent, and reliable, making him a virtual lock for 16 games in 2017.

Year Games Played Receptions Yards TDs
2010 11 21 227 0
2011 16 35 382 3
2012 15 45 688 7
2013 16 64 898 5
2014 16 99 1,331 4
2015 16 90 813 6
2016 16 91 1,077 4
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

Last but not least – the ‘Frank Gore’ of the wide receiver position, Larry Fitzgerald. The 34-year old veteran has been a key cog in the Cards’ passing attack since he entered the NFL in 2004. Given Fitz’s lengthy NFL career, I decided to avoid putting his career statistics into this article, but I’ll provide you with some eye-opening stats. In his 13-year career, he has played in all 16 games 10 times, and in the 3 years where he did miss time, he has missed a total of 6 regular season contests. Think about that for a minute. Fitz has played in 202 out of 208 possible regular season contests. I don’t think much more needs to be said for the future Hall of Famer. 16 games is the norm for one of the most reliable players in NFL history.

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