This article is part of our CFB All-Decade Team series.
Passing was already on the rise in college football heading into the 2010s. This was the decade when the FBS was completely overtaken by throwing the ball. NFL teams started complaining about quarterbacks who didn't know how to operate from under center and undersized offensive linemen until they realized they were the ones that needed to change. Heck, by the end of the decade even LSU was spreading it out!
As such, there have been many massive seasons from wide receivers since 2010. This, naturally, also had a major impact on fantasy college football, with grew along with the passing game over this decade. To sort of chart the evolution of the game this decade, I decided for this All-Decade team to take one player from each year of the 2010s. Repeat performers were not allowed. This is for fantasy, mind you, so I focused on the stats that mattered the most for fantasy players, namely yards and touchdowns. If you played in a PPR league, I apologize. As a tiebreaker, I chose players from what has become known as the "Power Five" conferences, since some leagues out there don't include Group of Five players. Time for a trip down memory lane!
2010: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
He didn't pan out as a pro, some of it for off-field issues, but man did Blackmon get it done on the field for the Cowboys. While he finished second to Hawaii's Greg Salas in yards, Blackmon had 1,782 to Salas' 1,889, the Oklahoma State standout found the end zone a whopping 20 times. I didn't even need the tiebreaker of Blackmon being at the bigger school. Nobody else was within five touchdowns on him.
2011: Jordan White, Western Michigan
Blackmon made another run at it in 2011, even though he wasn't eligible, as he finished the year with 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns. Only Houston's Patrick Edwards had more touchdowns with 20. However, in the end I am going with White. If you did happen to play in a PPR league, his 140 catches blew everybody else away. On top of that, though, he led the FBS with 1,911 yards and he threw in 17 receiving scores for good measure. White may have had the advantage of being a little older than many of his compatriots, he was a sixth-year senior, and didn't do anything in the NFL.
2012: Stedman Bailey, West Virginia
Behold the power of Dana Holgorsen. Both Bailey and his teammate Tavon Austin had big years in 2012. What really blows me away, though, is Bailey's touchdown numbers. We're talking a whopping 25 touchdowns through the air. Nobody else had more than 18. You may have heard of the guy who did that. He was a promising young player at Clemson named DeAndre Hopkins.
2013: Davante Adams, Fresno State
This was a real neck-and-neck battle between Adams and Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State. Adams had 131 catches to Cooks' 128. Cooks eked past Adams in yards ever so slightly to the tune of 1,730 yards to 1,718. On top of that, Cooks has the advantage of playing for a Pac-12 school, while Fresno State had recently joined the Mountain West at this time. It's hard not to go with Adams, though, because he had 24 touchdowns while Cooks had 16. Either way, both guys have gone on to have impressive NFL careers.
2014: Amari Cooper, Alabama
Cooper was eked out by Rashard Higgins in both receiving yards and touchdowns. Higgins had 1,750 yards and 17 touchdowns, while Cooper had 1,727 yards and 16 scores. Ah, but here is a time where I have to factor in the two schools in question. Cooper, as you know, played for the Crimson Tide. Higgins was at Colorado State, a smaller school that's not in a Power Five conference. When I consider that, I have to go with Cooper.
2015: Corey Coleman, Baylor
The top of the receiving charts in 2015 were dominated by small school guys. We're talking places like Bowling Green and Western Kentucky. Only one player from a Power Five school finished with more receiving yards than Coleman, and that was JuJu Smith-Schuster at USC. However, Smith-Schuster only had 10 touchdowns, while Coleman had 20. That led the FBS, as nobody else had more than 17. Yeah, the Baylor Bear ranked ninth in receiving yards, but that's good enough for me when you are scoring that often.
2016: Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Alright, I have to get Taylor in here somehow. You know that guy who had 17 receiving touchdowns in 2015, finishing second to Coleman? That was Taylor, who also had 1,467 yards receiving to rank third in the FBS. In 2016 he finished third in receiving yards again, this time with 1,730 (I told you passing has been on the rise in college football), and had 17 touchdowns once again. This is partially an acknowledgment of Taylor's great 2016 campaign, but also a bit of a career achievement award. Hey, if it's good enough for Martin Scorsese, it's good enough for the once-and-future Hilltopper.
2017: Anthony Miller, Memphis
The AAC, which was in full effect by 2017, is a bit of neither fish nor fowl as a conference. It's clearly the best Group of Five conference, but isn't considered part of the Power Five, even if it is the successor to the Big East, which was considered one of the "power" conferences. However you want to classify Miller's conference, he was a fantasy college football dream in 2017. In addition to his 96 catches for 1,462 yards he had 18 touchdowns. Nobody else had more than 14.
2018: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
From a pure numbers perspective, the top receiver in 2018 was Andy Isabella. He had 102 catches for 1,698 yards. Nobody was within 200 yards of him. However, he also played for UMass. Had he blown everybody away on touchdowns as well I would have still had to go with him, but he only had 13. Instead, I'm going with Wallace, giving the Cowboys their second representative. Wallace had 12 touchdowns of his own, and he was second in the FBS with 1,491 receiving yards.
2019: Ja'Marr Chase, 2019
If I had told you at the beginning of the decade that the top fantasy receiver of 2019 would be an LSU Tiger you would have thought I was crazy. You, and Chase, can thank Joe Brady for this. This is another case where there is a small-school guy, in this instance Omar Bayless from Arkansas State, led the nation in yards. However, Chase had 1,498 yards. Also, he had 18 touchdowns, which is one more than Bayless. When you do that against an SEC schedule instead of a Sun Belt schedule, you've earned the final spot on our All-Decade team.