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TGIF: The Best Fantasy Football Seasons of The Last 10 Years

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:

  • When a player is chosen, he is chosen only once. Otherwise, the whole list would be LaDainian Tomlinson.
  • Only the last 10 years are chosen because I just didn’t want to pick the best single seasons of all time for each position.
  • I didn’t try to pick an even amount of QB, WR, RB, TE, etc. I am picking the best plain and simple regardless of position. So my list could be all QB’s for all you know.
  • I excluded Tom Brady and Randy Moss from the 2007 season. Oh so controversial. I did this because it was too recent and too obvious to choose. If you can’t handle it then, too damn bad!

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.

10. Daunte Culpepper, (QB) 2004

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).

  • Owners would stretch to draft Culpepper in 2005 but felt nothing but heartache when he would go down with a knee injury and throw for only 1,564 yds and 6 TD in 7 games.

9. Jamal Lewis, (RB) 2003

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.

  • In his historic season, Lewis had 11 games where he rushed for over 100 yds. He also had two games of 200+ yds including a then-NFL record 295 yds. Both 200+ yd games came against his current team, the Browns.

8. Marvin Harrison, (WR) 2002

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.

  • Even though his 2001 season with 1,524 yds and 15 TD technically would have given him a better fantasy year than his record breaking 2002 season, the 143 receptions would have made him a goldmine in PPR (points per reception) leagues.

7. Terrell Davis (RB), 1998

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.

  • The celebration would be very short lived as Davis would suffer numerous injuries including an ACL tear in the 1999 season. The most yds he would run for in a single season would be 701 in 2001.

6. Marshall Faulk, (RB) 2000

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.

  • Faulk would only have one more season of 1,000+ yds rushing before injuries and fatigue took over. I guess you could attribute his demise to the Madden Curse.

5. Priest Holmes (RB), 2003

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.

  • Even more impressive was that the record he broke in 2003 was his own. Holmes had 24 total TD’s in 2002. He would finally go down with injuries in 2004, but not before he scored 14 TD in only 8 games which was only three behind the league leader.

 4. Kurt Warner (QB), 1999

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.

  • Warner has continued his success in the fantasy world with another MVP year in 2001 when he had 4,830 yds and 36 TD. He currently is in a successful role with the Arizona Cardinals where he, as of this writing, leads the NFL in completion percentage with 70.0.

3. Shaun Alexander (RB), 2005

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.

  • 2005 apparently wore Alexander out as he failed to top 1,000 yds rushing for the rest of his career and since that magical season, he has only scored 11 TD. He is currently in a backup role with the Redskins.

2. Peyton Manning (QB), 2004

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.

  • The only thing more impressive than Manning’s fantasy season in 2004 was SportofBoston’s Dan. In 2004, Dan actually had Peyton Manning AND Daunte Culpepper as his starting QB’s in a 2 QB league. Hell, want something even more impressive than that? Dan didn’t even win the league that year.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson (RB), 2006

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.

  • LT still seems to be the #1 player in fantasy football today. Over his entire career, he has never had a season with single digit rushing TD’s and has recorded at least 50 catches in every year he has played. He also has the distinction of being the only back to have a season where he rushed for over 1,000 yds and had 100 receptions.

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.

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