Best Single-Season Fantasy Football Performances RB Edition

By Michael Dubner
Michael Dubner There is always a point during the NFL (and fantasy football) off-season where I like to take a step-back and relish on past greatness. As we get closer to the start of the NFL season and fantasy football talk continues build, I want to take a second to look back at the best single-season running back performances since the turn of the 21st century.

*For some context throughout the article, in 2016, Devonta Freeman was the RB6 with 257.1 half-PPR fantasy points (16.1 ppg).

Didn't Quite Make The Cut:

Le'Veon Bell, 2016, Pittsburgh Steelers - led all non-QBs with 23.3 half-PPR fantasy points per game despite missing 4 games (3 due to suspension). Had a ridiculous 6.25 receptions per game.

Jamaal Charles, 2013, Kansas City Chiefs - 343 half-PPR points in 15 games. 1,980 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns. All-time leader in yards per carry (5.5).

Adrian Peterson, 2012, Minnesota Vikings - must have him on this list for a 2,097 rushing yard season. "Only" 13 touchdowns keeps him lower on this list than others.

Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) and Larry Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs), 2006 - both were overshadowed by LaDainian Tomlinson's 2006 season, but each scored more than 350 half-PPR fantasy points.

DeAngelo Williams, 2008, Carolina Panthers - 315.7 half-PPR points with 20 touchdowns.

The Top RB Fantasy Football Seasons Since 2000:

7. Arian Foster, 2010, Houston Texans
I have nostalgia for Foster's 2010 season where he won me a fantasy football championship. Not only was he the top overall scorer with 360 half-PPR fantasy points, he lapped the field - Aaron Rodgers had the second most fantasy points with 313.5 (46.5 fewer) and Peyton Hillis (lol) had the second most RB fantasy football points with 266.4 (nearly 100 fewer). Foster had 2,220 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns, along with a respectable 66 receptions.

6. Chris Johnson, 2009, Tennessee Titans

A 2,006 rushing and 503 receiving yard performance (2,509 all-purpose yards) with 16 touchdowns was good for 370.9 half-PPR fantasy points. Led the league in fantasy points, outscoring the 2nd place Aaron Rodgers by 22.9 points and 2nd best RB Adrian Peterson by 63 points.

5. Shaun Alexander, 2005, Seattle Seahawks

Tied for second in NFL history with 27 rushing touchdowns in a single-season (28 all-purpose touchdowns) and also added on 1,880 rushing yards - totaling 366.3 half-PPR points. These were the years when running backs dominated fantasy football, with the top 5 total fantasy scorers all being running backs.

4. David Johnson, 2016, Arizona Cardinals

Led all non-QBs in half-PPR scoring with 367.8 fantasy points, which was 58.4 points (3.65 ppg) more than the second highest scorer, Ezekiel Elliot. Johnson had a NFL record setting 15 consecutive 100-all-purpose-yard games to start the season, failing to record the season sweep 16th game when he suffered an MCL sprain in the final week. DJ was close to becoming the third player in NFL history to reach the historic mark of 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season - he earned 1,239 rushing-yards and a receiver-like 80 receptions for 879 receiving-yards (2,118 all-purpose-yards). Johnson also tacked on 20 all-purpose touchdowns, the first player to reach this mark since LeSean McCoy in 2011.

3. Priest Holmes, 2003, Kansas City Chiefs

Priest Holmes tied for second (with Shaun Alexander) with 27 rushing touchdowns in a season. Holmes also accumulated 1,420 yards on the ground and 690 receiving yards on 74 receptions. His 409 half-PR fantasy points are the third most by a RB since 2000. He also had a 406.7 half-PPR point year just the season before.

2. Marshall Faulk, 2000, St. Louis Rams

The Greatest Show on Turf featured Marshall Faulk in the running game where he posted 2,189 all-purpose yards, 81 receptions, and 26 touchdowns. Faulk recorded the second most half-PPR points among running backs since 2000 with 419.4 points, yet only played in 14 games. You can make a strong argument that Faulk should be number one on this list because his 29.96 half-PPR fantasy points per game is the most since 2000.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, 2006, San Diego Chargers

Arguably the most dominant player in fantasy football history, LT accumulated 1,815 rushing yards (2,323 all-purpose yards) and set a NFL single-season record 28 rushing touchdowns. He even threw for two touchdowns and caught another three touchdowns through the air, totaling a staggering 33 all-purpose touchdowns. He is the only player to score more than 420 half-PPR points in a single season during this time frame, with a breath-taking 453.1 points. LT was an unstoppable force that set the league on fire for years. Tomlinson would be on this more than once, but I decided to only include his best season and share the love to other deserving players as well.

You can find me on Twitter @Michael_Dubner. Let me know your thoughts - who did I not include in this article that you would have? Always looking to talk football.