During these difficult times, I wanted to revisit some happy memories and remember those standout fantasy performances that would have had you screaming with delight that you rostered that player that week. Digging into the history for the top-10 from the 2010’s, I rediscovered some truly momentous days that stick in the memory, plus others that looking back feel somewhat surprising but nonetheless were outstanding individual days for those players.
Note: all fantasy scores are based on 1 point per reception scoring
10. Amari Cooper, Cowboys vs Eagles, Week 14, 2018 - 49.7 Fantasy Points
We start this list in the not too distant past and a performance that came in just Cooper’s fifth start for the Cowboys after being traded from the Raiders in late October of 2018. His performance in this match up was looking like a dud with Cooper reeling in just 3 catches for 54 yards through three quarters, before a fourth quarter and overtime where Cooper went 7 catches for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 75 yard score with three minutes left and the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Cooper finished the game with 10 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Cowboys all but asserted their playoff place and you won your fantasy playoff match up.
If Cooper’s performance was all about coming good at the end, then Andre Johnson’s 49.9 point effort was the complete opposite as he had 44 of those points by half time in this game against the Colts. Johnson reeled in 10 catches for 190 yards and 3 touchdown passes from Case Keenum as the Texans took a 21-3 halftime lead. The second half saw just 2 catches for 39 yards for Johnson who finished with 9 catches for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns as Andrew Luck led the Colts to a fourth quarter comeback and a 27-24 victory.
8. Jahvid Best, Lions vs Eagles, Week 2, 2010 - 50.2 Fantasy Points
Remember Jahvid Best? Drafted by the Lions in the first round of the 2010 draft, Best played just 21 career games before ultimately having to retire with ongoing concussion related issues. He was a productive fantasy back in his short career, averaging 14.8 fantasy points per game, and in just his second game as a pro, he dropped this fantasy bombshell.
In the match up vs the Eagles, Best led the Lions in rushing and receiving, finishing with 9 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown, plus 78 rushing yards and a further 2 touchdowns. Though it was a sensational fantasy performance, it was in a losing effort as the Lions fell behind in the second half and ran out of time as they attempted a comeback. Best’s highlight moment was a 75 yard catch and run as he burst through the Eagles’ defense, displaying the blistering track speed he’d displayed in college.
Fun Fact: Best competed for St Lucia in the 100m at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, racing against Usain Bolt in the heats.
7. Julio Jones, Falcons vs Buccaneers, Week 12, 2017 - 50.8 Fantasy Points
In a career of big games, Jones achieved his highest fantasy score in his third career game where he posted over 250 receiving yards. That feat has only been done 23 times in NFL history and Julio has 3 of them. No one else has more than one. Incredible.
It was a typical dominant performance from Jones who had the Bucs’ defense tied in knots as he bossed contested catches and broke ankles with sharp route-running. His play of the game came on a 51 yard touchdown pass from receiver Mohammed Sanu as he got behind the Tampa defense to make the grab. Jones finished the game with 12 receptions for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus a 15 rush on an end-around for his one and only 50 point fantasy day.
6. Calvin Johnson, Lions vs Cowboys, Week 8, 2013 - 50.9 Fantasy Points
If Julio’s performance was dominant, then Calvin Johnson’s day was a receiving masterclass. In one of the most memorable performances from a receiver of all time, Johnson posted the second most receiving yards in a game ever, totaling 329 yards on 14 catches, plus a first quarter touchdown to put the Lions ahead. Johnson just kept adding the yards, with 156 yards by the half and then a further 173 after the interval. His final catch, a 21-yard between two Cowboys defenders was his most important as it put the Lions at the 1-yard line and led to a Matt Stafford sneak for the winning touchdown.
Death by a thousand cuts would be an apt way to describe this monstrous fantasy day from Welker, who totaled a whopping 16 receptions on his way to 217 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in this loss to the Bills. The game is more remembered for the epic 21-0 comeback by the Bills, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Welker still dominated in his role out of the slot and put the Patriots ahead in the first quarter, and then made the score to tie the game with 3:33 remaining. This was a one-off performance from Welker, who never achieved higher than 36 points in any other game of his career.
4. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers @ Bills, Week 14, 2016 - 51.8 Fantasy Points
Fun in the Buffalo snow for Bell, who dominated on the ground with 236 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns in a 27-20 victory for the Steelers. Bell’s full skillset was on show as he also chipped in with 4 catches for 62 yards as he was able to help his team overcome 3 interceptions by Ben Roethlisberger as post the 4th highest fantasy score of the decade.
3. Will Fuller, Texans vs Falcons, Week 5, 2019 - 53.7 Fantasy Points
Will Fuller has been a huge fantasy tease in his 4-year career to date, showing huge promise and big play ability, but he has also missed more than 20 games through a series of injuries. He had himself a day against the Falcons, consistently getting behind their defense to reel in a huge 14 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Texans posted a 53-32 victory. Fuller’s caught touchdown passes of 6, 33 and 44 yards for by far the biggest fantasy day of his career so far.
2. Doug Martin, Buccaneers @ Raiders, Week 9, 2012 - 55.2 Fantasy Points
The Muscle Hamster was in record-breaking form in this outing in his rookie season. It was a quiet first half for Martin, as he compiled just 52 total yards as the Raiders held a 10-7 lead. Then he went bananas, tying the NFL record with 4 second half rushing touchdowns, including touchdown runs of 45, 67 and 70 yards, with a final game icing 1-yard run with 1:49 remaining. Martin totaled 251 rushing yards at 10 yards per carry and 4 touchdowns, plus a further 4 catches for an extra 21 yards for the second highest rookie fantasy score of all time (Jerry Butler, 60.7 points, 1979 season).
1. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs @ Raiders, Week 15, 2013 - 59.5 Fantasy Points
The number 1 fantasy score of the decade comes from the last player to score 5 or more touchdowns in a single game. Charles destroyed the Raiders as a receiver in the game, catching 8 passes for 195 yards (24.4 yards per catch) and 4 receiving touchdowns. He added to this with a further 20 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a 56-31 road victory.
Charles got off to a flying start, with a pair of receiving touchdowns in the first quarter of 49 and 39 yards, plus a further 2 scores before half time. He saved his best for last as he took an Alex Smith pass 71 yards for his 5th touchdown of the game.
This performance propelled Charles to finish as the RB1 in 2013 and career high 378 fantasy points (per ESPN scoring). This was his fantasy apex as he dropped to the RB7 in 2014 before a knee injury in 2015 started the gradual decline before his final season in 2017.
Not to the glory boy receivers and running backs have their own way, here are the top scoring quarterback and tight end fantasy performances of the last 10 years.
Michael Vick, Eagles @ Washington, Week 10, 2010 - 49.32 Fantasy Points
Vick had the greatest fantasy performance by a quarterback of all time back in 2010 as he threw for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns, as well as rushing for 80 yards and 2 further scores in the Eagles’ 59-28 victory on Monday Night Football, including the famous 90-yard pass to Deshaun Jackson that travelled 61 yards through the air.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots vs Bears, Week 8, 2014 - 41.9 Fantasy Points
A final mention for the highest scoring tight end fantasy performance of the decade and no surprises it was Gronk that recorded it. In a 51-23 win for the Patriots, Gronkowski caught 9 passes for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Patriots scored 38 first half points to blow away the Bears. Gronk signed off his career day in the third quarter with a signature 46-yard catch and run, where he threw off multiple defenders before crashing into the end zone.