This decade has seen some of the greatest single-season performances by players in the history of the game. Which got us to thinking: What if you could put together the ultimate fantasy football roster, made up of players plucked from any season in the last 10 years?
Well, we ran the numbers and peppered in our own opinion to come up with the decade's ultimate fantasy football team—a powerhouse roster for the ages.
QB1 – Tom Brady (2007 New England Patriots) – Not only does Brady’s 2007 season serve as the finest fantasy football campaign by a QB this decade, it is widely considered the best season by a QB in NFL history. Brady threw for the 3rd most yards in NFL history with 4,806, he broke Peyton Manning’s single season TD record by throwing for a ridiculous 50 TDs and he added 2 more scores on the ground while throwing just 8 interceptions all season . Brady led the Patriots to an undefeated regular season in 2007, only to have the dream end with a devastating 17-14 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Regardless, it is highly unlikely that we will ever be lucky enough to witness a season like it again.
QB2 – Peyton Manning (2004 Indianapolis Colts) – Manning has had many amazing seasons, but from an individual accolades and fantasy perspective, none of them have been bigger than his 2004 campaign. En route to his second NFL MVP award, Manning threw for 4,557 yards with a record breaking 49 TDs (since broken by Tom Brady in 2007) and just 10 interceptions. He threw for 3 or more TDs in 9 of 16 games in 2004 highlighted by a 6 TD performance against Detroit and 5 TD efforts against Green Bay, Houston and Kansas City, respectively. It was a monster season indeed.
RB1 – LaDainian Tomlinson (2006 San Diego) – If you were fortunate enough to have him on your fantasy football team in 2006, chances are you owned your league. It was an unbelievable season for LT and fantasy owners alike as he was able to find pay dirt a record-setting 31 times. He rushed for 1,815 yards with 28 TDs and added 508 yards and 3 TDs on 56 receptions. He ended the 2006 season with 2,323 total yards and 31 TDs. It is easily regarded as the finest fantasy football season ever by a RB.
RB2 – Priest Holmes (2003 Kansas City Chiefs) – Due to injury, Holmes reign as the king of fantasy football may have been short, but it is also one that will not be forgotten anytime soon. While Holmes has a handful of impressive single season efforts to his credit, including a monster 2002 season, none were bigger than 2003. He was the must have RB for fantasy football rosters that season as he managed to light up the scoreboard an NFL best 27 times while rushing for 1,420 yards. He also added 690 receiving yards on 74 receptions. Holmes 2002 and 2003 seasons will forever be remembered in the fantasy football community as two of the all time best.
WR1 – Randy Moss (2007 New England Patriots) – Following a lackluster season with the Oakland Raiders in which many so called experts had declared him “washed up,” Moss took his talents to New England where his career and fantasy football value would experience a massive resurgence and soar to new heights with a little help from Tom Brady. In just his first season as a Patriot, Moss caught 98 passes for an impressive 1,493 yards and a record breaking 23 TD passes. He surpassed the legendary Jerry Rice, who in 1987, had 22 TD grabs for the 49ers (a record many thought would never be broken). Moss is still one of the top 3 WRs in the NFL and fantasy football alike.
WR2 – Randy Moss (2003 Minnesota Vikings) – Moss will forever be remembered and admired for his 2007 season with the Patriots, but he wasn’t too shabby in his Viking years either and anyone who was lucky enough to have Moss aboard their 2003 fantasy roster can attest to that as both sentiment and fact. In that season, Moss was the go to receiver and biggest beneficiary of a high powered Minnesota passing attack led by QB Daunte Culpepper. Moss managed to rack up 1,632 receiving yards on 111 receptions with a league best 17 TDs. To put that into perspective, his average game in 2003 would have looked like this: 7 receptions for 102 yards and a TD. As you can imagine, his impact on fantasy football that year was enormous.
WR3 – Marvin Harrison (2002 Indianapolis Colts) – When it comes to consistent top flight fantasy production year in and year out this decade, you can't ask for a better wide receiver than Marvin Harrison, but his record breaking 2002 campaign stands out most. Sure, he has had bigger years as far as TDs go, but his reception and yardage totals in 2002 are literally off the charts. Harrison shattered Herman Moore’s single season reception record (123 receptions in 1995) by hauling in an unbelievable and unmatched 143 passes that season. His 1,722 receiving yards in 2002 ranks as the 4th most all time and Harrison is also the only player to crack the 1,700 yard receiving mark in the last 24 years. Can you imagine the kind of fantasy numbers this guy put up in Points Per Reception leagues in 2002?
TE – Antonio Gates (2004 San Diego Chargers) – In 2004, Gates put up numbers that would rival those of some of the best WRs in the NFL that season. His 13 TD grabs are the most ever recorded by a TE in a single season in the NFL's history. You top it off with 964 yards on 89 receptions and you have one of the best, if not the best, single season ever produced by a TE. It is safe to say that Antonio Gates’ 2004 season revolutionized the way people view the TE position in fantasy football.
Flex – Marshall Faulk (2000 St. Louis Rams) – He was an absolute beast and there was not a better player to have on your fantasy team in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s than Faulk. His most monumental contribution to fantasy football came in 2000 with the St. Louis Rams in what was deemed “The Greatest Show on Turf.” In that season, he rushed for 1,359 yards and 18 TDs and added another 830 receiving yards and 8 TDs on 81 receptions. For the 2000 season, Faulk totaled a whopping 2,189 yards and 26 TDs. A feat made even more impressive by the fact that he only played in 14 games that year.
K – Jeff Wilkins (2003 St. Louis Rams) – Yes, even kickers have a place on this roster. Playing in a high powered Rams offense in 2003 certainly had its perks for Wilkins and fantasy owners alike. He connected on an NFL best 39 of 42 field goal attempts that season and he was a perfect 4 for 4 on attempts of 50 yards or longer. Wilkins also hit on 100% of his extra point attempts in 2003 going a flawless 46 for 46. Unlike most kickers, Wilkins was actually a difference maker on fantasy football rosters in 2003.
DEFENSE – 2006 Baltimore Ravens – While the Ravens have had several shut down defenses over the last decade, including their 2000 Super Bowl winning defense, none have been better from a fantasy standpoint than the 2006 edition of the Baltimore Ravens defense. They gave up just 12.6 points per game, accumulated 60 sacks with 28 interceptions, and scored 6 defensive TDs. Even the ’76 Steelers and ’85 Bears would have had a hard time matching this defense in fantasy scoring.
QB – Daunte Culpepper (2004 Minnesota Vikings) – He threw for 4,717 yards with 39 TDs and just 11 interceptions. Culpepper also had 406 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs in 2004. It was an elite fantasy season for Culpepper, one that is often overlooked because of Peyton Manning’s career best 49 TD passes in the same year.
RB – Shaun Alexander (2005 Seattle Seahawks) – He rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 TDs and also added 1 receiving TD. If his numbers were just a tad better in the passing game, Alexander’s 2005 season would have easily cracked our starting line up. It stands as an exemplary fantasy season nonetheless.
RB – Priest Holmes (2002 Kansas City Chiefs) – The first of back to back monster seasons, Holmes totaled 2,287 yards in 2002 and he had 24 TDs to his credit. He was God’s gift to fantasy football during the ’02 and ’03 seasons.
WR – Torry Holt (2003 St. Louis Rams) – Affectionately known as “Big Game” during his tenure in St. Louis, Holt certainly lived up to his nickname in 2003 as he racked up 117 receptions for 1,696 yards and 12 TDs. He is widely considered amongst the elite WRs in fantasy football over the last 10 years.
WR – Terrell Owens (2001 San Francisco 49ers) – Love him or hate him, Owens has been one of the best fantasy WRs the NFL has to offer over the last decade. In 2001, T.O. had the best season of his career with 93 receptions for 1,412 yards and 16 TDs.
WR – Marvin Harrison (2001 Indianapolis Colts) – Harrison’s 2002 season is widely regarded as the best of his career, but his numbers in 2001 come in a close second. Harrison hauled in 109 passes for 1,524 yards and 15 TDs that season. He was a weekly lock for fantasy production in 2001.
TE – Tony Gonzalez (2008 Kansas City Chiefs) – He has many big seasons to his credit, but none are quite as elaborate as the one in 2008. The elite TE had 96 receptions for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs that year. While Gonzalez stellar play wasn’t enough to save a struggling Chiefs team in 2008, he did earn kudos in fantasy football circles by leading many teams to victory.
K – Mike Vanderjagt (2003 Indianapolis Colts) – He is probably best remembered as the Colts liquored up kicker (if you were to ask Peyton Manning anyway), but Vanderjagt also made a major impact on fantasy football in 2003. He enjoyed a perfect season, going 37 for 37 on FG attempts and 46 of 46 on extra point attempts. Vanderjagt is the only kicker in NFL history to have more than 35 FG attempts with 100% accuracy.
DEFENSE – (2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – The 2002 edition of the Tampa Bay Bucs defense was a force to be reckoned with, giving up just 12.3 points per game. They had an unbelievable 31 interceptions that season, to go along with 15 fumble recoveries, 43 sacks and they scored 5 defensive TDs.