We all have a fantasy football journey. For most, it began with football without the fantasy, as we had a favorite team and a favorite player. Possibly even a special memory of watching football with a loved one on Sundays. Our fandom all began somewhere.
Fantasy football began for me before I even knew it existed. I was a box score junkie growing up. I looked up numbers the old school way; newspaper in hand, crunching numbers to give me a visual of how things played out from the day before. Fast internet connection wasn’t really a thing in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s. Neither were the latest 5G smartphones.
Card collecting would be another way for me to get my statistical nerd on. Instead of spending my hard-earned chore money on Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis games, I would go to the card shop to buy football cards. I would study pass attempts, completion percentage, and touchdown passes like a 6- year old would study a cereal box.
I could reel off former Broncos quarterback John Elway’s yearly statistics off the tip of my tongue. 551 pass attempts with 348 completions, 4,030 passing yards, and 25 touchdown passes in 1995. His career-high in touchdown passes was 27 in 1997 with Mike Shanahan running the offense. 51,475 career passing yards. 300 career touchdowns.
Elway’s career numbers could be seen as pedestrian by today’s standards. Far inferior quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning have eclipsed Elway’s passing marks. The NFL’s emphasis on generating offense has made it tougher to defend. No longer could you be physical with a wide receiver without being called for defensive holding or pass interference. The league also is protecting (or pandering) quarterbacks providing them with a cleaner pocket to make plays.
Just think how successful Dan Marino would be in today’s pass-happy NFL. Marino threw for a then-record of 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns in 1984. Marino threw for 4,000 plus yards four times in the 1980s. Back then something like that was NOT supposed to happen.
Barry Sanders’ dazzling runs are ingrained in my head just as his 2,053-yard season in 1997. The following season Terrell Davis brought some Mile High Magic with 2,008 yards. Those were the only back-to-back 2,000 yard seasons by two running backs in NFL history.
Most Fantasy Points In a Game
Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles against Oakland was one of the most unique stat lines that you’ll ever see in a fantasy football game. Without looking, could you guess how many rushing yards that Charles had in this game? I’ll give you a minute to think about it.
Charles only had twenty rushing yards and a touchdown in the game. No, that’s not a typo. He had eight points on the ground as the majority of his 59.5 points came in the air.
Charles who was always known for his receiving prowess had eight receptions for 195 yards four receiving touchdowns. Watching the highlights, he seemed to be untouchable as no Raiders were able to get a hand on him. It’s a marvel to watch how good Charles was in his prime. To say that this was a game for the ages is quite an understatement. You could witness the greatness for yourself here with a highlight reel of his touchdowns.
Is This Record Breakable?
Charles has held this record for seven seasons now. That’s not to say that other players haven’t flirted with breaking this record. We saw two instances this season alone where the record almost was broken.
First, we saw Tyreek Hill go off against the eventual Super Bowl Champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12. Hill fell 1.6 points (57.9 total points) shy of Charles’ record by recording 15 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
In ‘A Christmas Story,’ all Ralphie wanted a BB gun for Christmas. He eventually got the BB gun (before shooting his eye out) as his wish came true. We later saw Alvin Kamara literally provide fantasy players a Christmas miracle. On Christmas day against the Minnesota Vikings, Kamara delivered the goods with 155 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground. He added another three receptions for 17 yards. On the day Kamara produced 56.2 fantasy points. He single-handedly won the championship for so many fantasy players.
Who Will Break The Record?
Carolinas running back Christian McCaffrey has the upside to break the all-time points scored in a game record. He possesses the rushing and receiving ability to do so. Throughout his career, he has shown he gets the volume on a game-by-game basis (19.64 touches per game) allowing him to produce 114 yards and .88 touchdowns per game. This could allow him to break the record.
Carolina appears to be in the quarterback market as Panthers owner David Tepper is reportedly smitten over Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. If they are unable to acquire Watson, the Panthers may have to go the more practical approach and draft a quarterback. The Panthers may be aggressive by trading up in the draft for Zach Wilson or Justin Fields, or hope that Trey Lance falls to them at eight. Regardless, McCaffrey will produce no matter who is playing quarterback. In 2019, he averaged 29.4 points per game with an injury-riddled Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, and Will Grier, essentially earning the label quarterback proof.
No one should ever assume in football but as of now, James Robinson is the guy in the Jacksonville backfield. Robinson is no stranger to breaking records. He holds the record for most rushing yards (1,040) for an undrafted rookie. The stud from Illinois State added another 344 yards through the air along with ten total touchdowns while adding a healthy 49 receptions in just 14 games as a rookie. Robinson was seventh in total running back points (250.4) and points per game (17.9).
He proved that he could be a three-down back in the league. In 12 of his 14 games, he touched the ball at least 17 times. In six of those games, he had 20 plus touches. Robinson has six games of at least five targets or more.
With a competent quarterback in Trevor Lawrence and a commitment from new head coach Urban Meyer, Robinson could find himself in game scripts where he could put up massive performances.
How many second year running backs do you know have their own ‘day?’ Rockford, Illinois is celebrating James Robinson Day every year on March 15th. Every Sunday should be James Robinson Day for fantasy players.
Justin Jefferson was not the most talked about wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft, yet he was the most productive. Jefferson had 88 receptions for 1,400 and seven touchdowns as a 21-year-old. Jefferson had seven games in which he eclipsed 100 or more yards, including totals of 175, 166, 135, and 133. In five of those games, he had eight-plus receptions. Jefferson’s highest-scoring fantasy effort produced 11 receptions for 166 yards, two touchdowns for a total of 39.6 fantasy points; the first rookie to do so since Mike Evans in 2014.
Jefferson made his presence felt during the second half of the season. From Week 9 through Week 17 Jefferson was the fourth-highest producing fantasy wide receiver. He averaged 93 yards per game, 6.3 receptions, and four touchdowns for a total of 166.9 points. Those numbers were good for 18.5 points per game. Only Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, and Tyreek Hill scored more fantasy points over that span.
Minnesota’s once stout defense took a huge step back in 2020 by giving up an average of 393.2 yards per game and 29.7 points per game. To put it into context, the 2020 Vikings defense gave up 54.5 more yards per game and a staggering 10.3 more points per game than the 2019 Vikings.
The Vikings had no choice but to abandon their run-centric, conservative offensive for a pass happy offense due to their defensive inefficiencies. The Vikings were 11-5 in over/unders, including 6-3 from Week 9 on. This is important because of those six games that went over the total, Jefferson received 11.1 targets, 7.5 receptions and 110.5 yards per game. The over trends should continue in 2021 as they will not be able to fix their aging defense in one off-season.
Jefferson has planted the seed for huge fantasy games in the future. He has the talent, opportunity and the Vikings’ propensity to play in shootouts. Don’t be surprised if he comes close to the single-game fantasy points record.
Who do you feel has an opportunity to break the single game fantasy record? Look forward to part two of Shot or No Shot-Fantasy Records Records Edition coming soon! In the meantime, enjoy all of Fantasy Interventions content. Articles, Quick Shots, YouTube videos from some incredibly talented people. Consume responsibly.
You could find me on Twitter @BrownieNJD82 for your fantasy football and sports betting needs.