Fantasy Football: Revisiting the Top 10 WR Games Since 2000
We’ve all had that moment of confusion. You pull out your phone, check your fantasy team, and think ‘that can’t be right’.
Once in a while – and often out of nowhere – fantasy WRs go absolutely bananas. Herculean efforts can single-handedly win (or lose) you a week. Some of the best fantasy memories are built on these anomalous performances.
In 2017, our fearless editor-in-chief Kyle wrote a piece detailing the ten best WR performances since the turn of the millennium. In the years since, history has been written again. Today, thanks to data from nflfastR, we re-visit the record books.
Something interesting to note: despite wide receivers putting up north of 200 yards and multiple touchdowns, many of the NFL teams on this list actually lost. This speaks to the importance of game-script in fantasy football. It can be a good move to have WRs on teams involved in close games or frequently playing from behind. The more that an NFL team needs to score, the more volume your wideout is likely to get.
Honorable Mention: Amari Cooper’s three TD performance vs. the Eagles in 2018 – including his deflected touchdown that let the Cowboys walk off – just narrowly misses out of the all-time top ten. This masterpiece came just six weeks after being traded from the Raiders for what would become the 27th overall pick (Gruden voice: come on, man).
10. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions – Total PPR Points: 50.9
2013: Week 8 vs. Dallas Cowboys
Rank in 2017: #7
Megatron’s 329-yard romp is still good enough to round out the top ten. As Kyle noted, a fumble lost and two tackles at the 1-yard line conspired to keep this from being the all-time greatest performance.
9. Kevin Curtis, Philadelphia Eagles – Total PPR Points: 51.1
2007: Week 3 vs. Detroit Lions
Rank in 2017: #6
This single game represented 20% of Curtis’ overall 2007 yardage output and half of his 2007 TDs scored (he notched three in this game). The Eagles put up 56 points in a rout of the Lions.
8. Wes Welker, New England Patriots – Total PPR Points: 51.6
2011: Week 3 vs. Buffalo Bills
Rank in 2017: #5
While Wes’ 217 yards and two touchdowns were a career highlight, this game does not kindle fond memories in New England. Despite Welker’s performance, Tom ‘The Plant Man’ Brady suffered one of his rare losses against the Bills as a starter for the Patriots (32-3 overall).
6 (tie). Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks – Total PPR Points: 53.0
2020: Week 7 vs. Arizona Cardinals
“Hot Lockett” dominated with 3 touchdowns and 200 yards on 15 catches in a division loss to the Cards. This was actually his second 3-TD performance in four weeks (Cowboys Week 3), solidifying his position as an unparalleled upside option.
6 (tie). Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos – Total PPR Points: 53.0
2009: Week 14 vs. Indianapolis Colts
Rank in 2017: #4
With 200 yards on 21 catches and two trips to the end zone, Brandon Marshall basically generated all of the Broncos’ offense. It wasn’t enough, and the Colts won easily (28-16).
5. Drew Bennett, Tennessee Titans – Total PPR Points: 53.3
2004: Week 13 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Rank in 2017: #3
Impressively, Drew Bennett notched 233 yards and three scores on just 12 catches. This performance was part of a three-week tear where he posted 517 yards and 8 (!!) touchdowns. All for naught: the Titans went 0-3 in this stretch, losing by an average of over 14 points per game.
4. Will Fuller V, Houston Texans – Total PPR Points: 53.7
2019: Week 5 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The stack of Deshaun Watson and the ‘Flying V’ in this game actually ranks as the highest-scoring, single week same-team QB/WR in the last 20 years. Fuller delivered three touchdowns and 217 yards in the ultimate ‘chase the dragon’ game: these were his first touchdowns of the year, and he didn’t find the end zone for the rest of the season.
3. Terrell Owens, San Francisco 49ers – Total PPR Points: 54.8
2000: Week 16 vs. Chicago Bears
Rank in 2017: #2
TO delivered in a big way during the 2000 fantasy championship week. His 283 yards – he logged 1451 that season – are good enough to earn Bronze on this list.
2. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs – Total PPR Points: 57.9
2020: Week 12 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
‘The Cheetah’ broke away early and often in a 13-catch, 269-yard, 3-touchdown romp against Tom Brady’s Bucs. In the first quarter alone, he generated 203 yards and 2 scores! The Bucs, of course, eventually got the last laugh: Tyreek was held to 73 yards and no touchdown backflips in a Super Bowl blowout.
1. Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars – Total PPR Points: 62.1
2000: Week 2 vs. Baltimore Ravens
2017 Rank: #1
Jimmy Smith’s magnum opus has stood the test of time. With 15 catches, 291 yards, and 3 touchdowns, Jimmy is the only wideout in the past 20 years to eclipse 60 fantasy points. In true Jags fashion, this Week 2 tour de force turned into a 39-36 loss.
Did I forget anyone? Message me on Twitter if I’ve left someone off. Here’s hoping your team makes this list in 2021.