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Top 10 Super Bowl fantasy performances of all-time

Who stepped up in the big game through history

USA Today/Getty Images/Peter Rogers Illustrations

The pinnacle of our great sport is rapidly approaching and as I like to do, I’ve gone back in time (well, back to 1970 anyway) to identify the highest scoring fantasy performances in Super Bowl history. I’ve used standard fantasy scoring from ESPN to deliver the results, so without further ado, here are the top 10.

10) Roger Craig, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl XIX – 31.5 Points

Kicking off the top ten, we have the first of a whopping six 49ers players to make the top 10. Roger Craig was the first player in history to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl, as he caught two touchdown passes from Joe Montana and ran for another score in the 49ers’ 38-16 win over the Dolphins. Craig had 58 rushing yards and 77 receiving yards in the game as he became the first player in history to amass 30 or more fantasy points in a Super Bowl.

9) Jerry Rice, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl XXIV – 32.8 Points

Following on from his former team mate above, Jerry Rice became the second player in NFL history to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl as the 49ers won the most lopsided Super Bowl in history, defeating the Broncos 55-10. Rice caught 7 of 9 passes thrown his way for 148 yards and the three scores. Crazily this was the third fewest yards Rice had receiving in his four Super Bowl appearances, with the 215 yards he had in Super Bowl XXIII not even making the top 10 fantasy scores in Super Bowl history (27.5 points, 15th all-time).

8) Marcus Allen, RB, Los Angeles Raiders

Super Bowl XVIII – 32.9 Points

Marcus Allen is the first entry in the top 10 whose performance also earned them MVP honors. Allen rushed for 191 yards on 20 attempts (a then Super Bowl record), at a massive 9.6 yards per attempt, and put the ball in the end zone twice as the Raiders beat the Washington team 38-9. The performance was crowned by a 74-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, which at the time was also an NFL record.

7) Timmy Smith, RB, Washington

Super Bowl XXII – 33.3 Points

My favorite entry on this top 10 list, comes from Timmy Smith. Smith was a rookie playing in just his 7th career game before exploding in the Super Bowl with 204 rushing yards at 9.3 yards per carry and two touchdowns. The 204 yards were the first and so far only time we’ve seen a 200 yards rushing game in the Super Bowl, and was driven by a second quarter where Smith rushed for 122 yards, including a 58 yard touchdown run, plus another run of 43 yards. This helped Washington overcome a 10-0 first quarter deficit and meant they went into half time with a 35-10 lead. A further touchdown run in the second half helped cement one of the more remarkable Super Bowl performances.

Smith’s star burned so brightly that he never came close to reaching those heights again. In fact, his career only lasted 20 games where he amassed just 944 yards, so 22% of his career yardage came in that one Super Bowl appearance.

Note: Ricky Sanders put up the 11th all-time fantasy Super Bowl points in the same game with 30.9 Points (193 receiving yards and two touchdowns).

6) Joe Montana, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl XXIV – 33.4 Points

The first of two appearances in the top 10 for Joe Cool. His first comes in the 55-10 beat down of the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV. Montana threw for 297 yards and a record (at that time) 5 touchdowns, three of which he threw to Jerry Rice. Montana completed 76% of his passes and at one point completed a record 13 consecutive throws as the 49ers ran away with the title. Montana also collected his third Super Bowl MVP award to match his regular season MVP honors.

=4) James White, RB, New England Patriots

Super Bowl LI – 33.9 Points

The only player to make the top 10 from the last 20 years, James White stepped up on the big stage to help the Patriots complete the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history (you may have heard they were losing 28-3 at one point). White contributed both on the ground (29 yards, two touchdowns) and through the air (14 catches, 110 yards, touchdown), with the 14 receptions breaking the Super Bowl record. White also took a direct snap into the end zone for a 2-point conversion to bring the Patriots within 8 points in the 4th quarter, before scoring with minute left and then the winning touchdown in overtime.

=4) Jerry Rice, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl XXIX – 33.9 Points

Rice put up almost identical stats to his Super Bowl XXIV performance with 149 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns, making him the only player in NFL history with three touchdowns in two separate Super Bowls. The difference from his Super Bowl XXIV performance (148 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns) is the 10 rushing yards which gave Rice one extra point and joint 4th place all time. Rice started the game with a 44-yard receiving touchdown on the opening drive as the 49ers ran away with the game, defeating the San Diego Chargers 49-26.

Note: Ricky Watters also scored three touchdowns for the 49ers (two receiving, one rushing), with 108 total yards for 30.8 fantasy points, good enough for 12th all-time.

3) Terrell Davis, RB, Denver Broncos

Super Bowl XXXII – 36.5 Points

It was quite the game for Super Bowl XXXII MVP Terrell Davis, as he led the Broncos to the first Super Bowl win by an AFC team for 13 years. Davis carried the ball 30 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns (tying the Super Bowl record), with a fumble thrown in for good measure. Without the fumble, Davis would be second on this list.

Davis left the game during second quarter due to a migraine, though he managed to return to help put the Broncos ahead on a fake handoff play that allowed John Elway to score, before returning in the second half after taking migraine medication.

Davis was the first player to rush for three touchdowns in a Super Bowl and was the first non-49ers player to score three in the big game.

2) Joe Montana, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl XIX – 37.1 Points

Joe Montana’s second Super Bowl MVP performance places him second on the all-time list, with his ability to use his legs being the difference maker. Montana threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns as he outdueled Dan Marino in a 38-16 win for the 49ers. Montana also added 59 rushing yards, including a 6-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter to give the 49ers a 21-10 that they never relinquished.

1) Steve Young, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl XXIX – 41.9 Points

The top scoring player in fantasy Super Bowl history is yet again a 49ers player and is the only player to score more than 40 fantasy points. Young threw a record six touchdown passes (that still stands today) in the 49ers’ 49-26 victory, with three to Jerry Rice, two to Ricky Watters and one to William Floyd. Young also used his running skills to put up another 49 yards on five rushes, alongside his 325 yards through the air. A dominant performance that led to Young collecting the Super Bowl MVP award to go with his regular season MVP title.

Author’s note: A special mention to Dan Ross, who has the highest Super Bowl fantasy score in history by a Tight End. Ross, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI, caught two touchdown passes and totaled 104 receiving yards in the Bengals’ 26-21 loss to the 49ers, good enough for 22.4 fantasy points, 44th all-time.