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I am feeling very opinionated…well everyday. Today though, I just felt like cruising through the magical world of football statistics and thought to myself: “Man, I wish I had him on my fantasy team that year.” Skip ahead several hours of more searching and gear-turning in my head and I have composed what I think are the 10 best fantasy seasons of the last decade.
A few rules for my list include:
Everybody caught up? Good. As always with anybody’s top 10 or top 20 list etc., they are all going to be different and be second-guessed. But that’s what makes them fun.
Before he was partying boatside, Culpepper was a dominant force in the NFL. 2004 was his best season where he threw for 4,717 yds, 39 TD, and 11 INT. That season he lead the NFL in passing yards and completions (379).
2003 was Lewis’ 3rd season in the NFL. He had rushed for 1,300+ yds in each of his first two seasons and owners were expecting similar numbers. What they got were straight up ridiculous numbers. Lewis would end the season with 2,066 yds (2nd most for a single season behind Eric Dickerson) and 14 rushing TD.
Harrison was already established as one the NFL’s best WR before 2002. He had three straight season of at least 1,400 yds and at least 12 TD. During the 2002 season, Peyton Manning decided to throw to Harrison more than usual. Over and over again. Harrison set the single season record for receptions with 143 and also had a career high 1,722 yds to go with 11 TD.
With Barry Sanders retiring after the 1998 season, the NFL saw Terrell Davis as the new icon of the running game. In the last season of arguably the best running back ever, Davis became a member of the exclusive 2,000 yd club when he ran for 2,008 yds. He also ran for a ridiculous 21 TD. He also had 3 receiving TD on top of all that for a grand total of 23 total TD.
Faulk’s amazing 2000 season was part of four straight years where he would compile 2,000+ total yds. However, 2000 was his best. Faulk would rush for 1,359 yds and 18 TD. In addition, he would also have 8 receiving TD for a total of 26 TD, a record for the time.
Before LT was the consensus #1 pick in every draft, Priest Holmes ruled the fantasy world from 2001-2003. The 2003 season was his best when he broke the single season total TD record when he had 27 TD (all rushing). Added to that were his 1,420 rush yds and 690 receiving yds.
Although not statistically the best out of anybody on our list, the story itself makes it worth a spot this high. Warner was an unknown QB playing in the AFL until he was signed as a backup QB by the St. Louis Rams. After starter Trent Green was injured in the preseason, Warner did the unthinkable and absolutely dominated the NFL in passing with 4,353 yds, 41 TD, and 13 INT. His season was capped off with a Super Bowl Championship and an MVP award.
Prior to 2005, Alexander already had four straight season where he scored at least 14 rushing TD’s. That’s just plain unbelievable. How does he top himself? By breaking the single season record for total TD. Alexander scored 28 TD (27 rush, 1 receiving) and rushed for a career high 1,880 yds.
OK, now we have the controversy. Why is he so high on the list? Well, as you can see by the list so far, it is dominated by RB including RB’s who have repeatedly broken TD records. So, when a QB came along and challenges the single season passing TD record, it is special. Plus, since most of the fantasy players who score the most points are RB’s, a QB outscoring everybody else makes him deserving.
Who else remembers watching Manning during the 2004 season? I kept saying to myself every week “There is no way he can keep this up all year.” Guess what? He did. Manning broke Dan Marino’s 20-year-old record by throwing 49 TD. He also only threw 10 INT and passed for 4,557 yds.
He has been the best for years and 2006 was his best by far. The single season TD record had been broken four times from 2000-2005 and now just one year after Shaun Alexander, we had LT going for broke. Tomlinson rushed for 28 TD and added three receving TD for 31 total TD. 2006 also saw LT set a career high in rush yds with 1,815.
There you have it folks, my opinion. Yours will obviously differ from mine and I can learn to deal with that. I am sure you would love to tell me I am stupid and wrong so, feel free to sound off.