FantasyPros911.com has decided to do a four-part top 10 list on the best fantasy seasons of all time. Today we start with the Top 10 Quarterback seasons.
All point totals are courtesy of Pro Football Reference.com, which uses a scoring system of one Point per 25 yards passing, one point per every 10 yards rushing or receiving and six points per every touchdown pass, catch or rush. There is also a two-point penalty for interceptions and fumbles.
Here are the 10 best seasons since 1990 for fantasy quarterbacks, a cutoff I made, because most people did not play fantasy football before the 1990s. Keep in mind that some players qualified for the list more than once, which in that event I took the best season.
10) Steve Beuerlein 1999 Panthers (388 fantasy points) - Probably the most unlikely name on the list; I had totally forgotten about this season until I started doing the research and did not realize that his point total would actually be 15 fantasy points better than the 5,069-yard season that Drew Brees had in 2008.
It's the only season Beuerlein cracked the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks, but that season was also one of the best in fantasy history, evidenced by 4,436 yards passing, 36 passing touchdowns, 124 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
9) Warren Moon 1990 Oilers (393 fantasy points) - Moon benefited from playing in a Run-and-Shoot offense that featured four wide receivers and very few runs. In 1990, his best season, he threw for 4,689 yards and 33 passing touchdowns. On top of that, he tallied 215 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns. The surprising thing is that his 393 fantasy points were not even the best for that season; an honor held by the No. 5 name on this list.
8) Jeff Garcia 2000 49ers (403 fantasy points) - Garcia was helped by his ability to run the ball. His 4,278 yards passing and 31 passing touchdowns are very pedestrian for this list, but he also tallied 414 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns. Lost in the Terrell Owens' circus that has been a front and center story in the NFL for the last decade, Garcia and Owens were a lethal fantasy duo that dominated the NFL from 2000 to 2002.
7) Kurt Warner 1999 Rams (409 fantasy points) - I thought this season would be in the top five when I started doing my research, but even tough Warner threw for 41 touchdown passes, he had only 4,353 yards passing and contributed nothing on the ground with just 92 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown. Regardless, those 41 passing touchdowns kept Fantasy Owners happy the entire season and 1999 was the birth of the "Greatest Show on Turf," which helped owners tally points at an alarming rate from 1999 to 2001.
6) Brett Favre 1995 Packers (415 fantasy points) - Favre finished in the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks 13 times in 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, making him one of the most dominant fantasy players ever. He led all quarterbacks in fantasy points from 1995 to 1997 and was in the top three from 1994 to 1998. His 1996 season would have also made the top 10 at 390 points. However, there is no arguing that 1995 was by far his best fantasy season, as he tallied 4,413 yards passing, 38 passing touchdowns, 181 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns.
5) Randall Cunningham 1990 Eagles (417 points) - This was another season that I did not expect to see, until I crunched the numbers. Everyone remembers the 1998 season when Cunningham stepped in for an injured Brad Johnson and with the help of Chris Carter, Randy Moss and Robert Smith had 3,704 yards passing and 34 touchdown passes, but 1990 was still by far Cunningham's best statistical year.
In 1990, he had only 3,466 yards passing, but his 30 passing touchdowns, 942 yards rushing and five rushing touchdowns gave fantasy owners a lot of joy. While Michael Vick created a lot of buzz with his running ability from 2002 to 2006, this is the best fantasy season ever in terms of both passing and rushing at the quarterback position.
4) Steve Young 1998 49ers (440 points) - I fully expected Steve Young to be on the list, as he was the leading fantasy scorer among quarterbacks four times in his career. I also knew this was a good season, but I didn't realize it was better than his 1994 season, when he tallied 420 fantasy points and led the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory. Young's most complete season in terms of statistics was 1998, when he had a career-high 4,170 yards passing and 36 touchdown passes. Even though he was 37, he was still dangerous on the ground with 454 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns. While 1994 will be remembered as the year he broke away from Joe Montana's giant Super Bowl shadow, 1998 was Steve Young's best statistical season.
3) Daunte Culpepper 2004 Vikings (453 points) - It is hard to believe that a 453 point season could be ranked No. 3 on the list, but was only the second best in the 2004 season. Thank Peyton Manning for that, but Culpepper still made fantasy owners proud with 4,717 yards passing, 39 passing touchdowns, 406 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Had Randy Moss not missed three starts, and been limited in a few others by injury, who knows if Culpepper's name would be even higher on this list.
2) Peyton Manning 2004 Colts (460 fantasy points) - Peyton Manning is another player that has been a perennial leader in fantasy scoring. He has been in the top 10 every year of his 11-year NFL career and has led quarterbacks in scoring twice. Surprisingly, this is his only season that qualifies for this list, but what a season it was with 4,577 yards passing and 49 passing touchdowns.
1) Tom Brady 2007 Patriots (498 fantasy points) - Tom Brady torched NFL defenses at a record rate in 2007, finishing with 4,806 yards passing, 50 passing touchdowns, 98 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. His 498 points beat every other total on the list by 38 points, which clearly separates it from every other season on the list.
Brady has always been a top 10 fantasy quarterback, but never put up numbers even remotely in the ballpark of his 2007 season. It will be interesting to see how he responds to a year off from knee surgery and the expectations to repeat a season that was the very best fantasy football has ever seen.
Most Likely Name to Join the List in 2009: Seeing that Brady, Manning and Warner are already on the list, I think it is a toss up between Brees and Philip Rivers. Brees was just 15 points shy of cracking the top 10, so if he can cut down on his interceptions and have a few more touchdown passes, he will be in prime position. Repeating 5,069 yards passing will be a very difficult feat.
Rivers was about 30 points shy of being on the list for his 2008 season and is coming into his own as one of the game's most dangerous quarterbacks. With both quarterbacks under 32-years old, they are in the prime of their careers and play on offenses that love to throw the ball. They have the best chance in 2009 of producing a season worthy of being on this list.