Did you know that the best point-per-reception fantasy football starting lineup of all time goes all the way back to the 1950 NFL season?
No one knew that, until this list existed. I learned that little fun fact the other day when the SportsClash staff began searching for the greatest fantasy football team ever. We wrote a best-ever single-season article years ago for another site, but this is about the best game ever. Old Houston Oilers’ fans might have a leg up in putting together this list, because they’re the only ones with two entries. But unless you’ve heard of Cloyce Box, you did not know the answer to this question.
Having the best possible point total in a week is a fantasy owner’s dream, but I’m afraid to tell you this list comprises 7 different decades. Of the past 80 years of football, only the 1970s weren’t represented as a decade.
Besides, it’s a pipe dream hoping for the perfect fantasy starting lineup. Just as likely, they’re going to face the nightmare scenario where their opponent scores with less-than-optimal lineup choices, such as the other day, when my opponent fielded Jameis Winston and his 5 touchdowns–and Terrance Williams’ 1 TD, which was almost as amazing.
We’ve all faced one of those lineups before. I remember having a 12-1 team lose to a 2-11 team one year when Tim Biakabatuka had a career game. Tim Freaking Biakabatuka, I tell you. That’s what you would face if you looked at your opponent one week and saw some of the names below. While they were stars in their time, several are obscure today.
Greatest Single Game PPR Stats Ever
It might seem odd that Barry Sanders and Brett Favre aren’t on the list below. Some of the players listed were superstars of their time, but not all of them. Unless you’re from Detroit, I bet you’ve never heard of “Cloyce Box”.
Speaking of which, I can’t be 100% that all these guys are tops. I do not have a super-computer or access to the NFL database, so it’s tough to sort through rushing and receiving stats for bunches players. This is the best our crack team of researchers found after months of works (maybe not months, but copious research). I encourage anyone who has corrections to write in to our administrator; he’ll be happy to give you credit (and a link) when verified.
Before I post the list, let’s take a look at the scoring system. I’m using the conventional scoring system most likely to be used in your main league. No bonuses for yardage, but it’s a high-performance PPR system.
PPR Scoring System
- 6 Points for a Passing, Rushing, or Receiving Touchdown
- 1 Point for 25 Passing Yards
- 1 Point for 10 Rushing Yards
- 1 Point for 10 Receiving Yards
- 1 Point Per Reception (PPR)
- 3 Points for a Field Goal
- 1 Point for an Extra Point
- 21 Pts for a Shutout
- 17 Pts for 2-6 Scored
- 14 Pts for 7-9 Scored
- 10 Pts for 10-13 Scored
- 7 Pts for 14-16 Scored
- 3 Pts for 17-20 Scored
- 0 Pts for 21 or more scored
- 1 Point for a Sack, Interception, Fumble Recovery, Blocked Punt, Blocked Field Goal
- 6 Points for a Defensive or Special Teams Touchdown
The defensive stats might be higher than your league, but it reflects my own local league’s scoring system, which we’ve used for 21 years.
The Best One-Day Fantasy Football Lineup Ever
- QB – George Blanda – 1961 Houston Oilers – 65 fantasy points
- RB – Billy Cannon – 1961 Houston Oilers – 67 pts
- RB – Clinton Portis – 2003 Denver Broncos – 61 pts
- WR – Cloyce Box – 1950 Detroit Lions – 66 pts
- WR – Jerry Rice – 1990 San Francisco 49ers – 65 pts
- Flex (RB) – Jamaal Charles – 2013 Kansas City Chiefs – 59 pts
- TE – Kellen Wnslow – 1981 San Diego Chargers – 61 pts
- K – Rob Bironas – 2007 Tennessee Titans – 26 pts
- DEF – 2002 Houston Texans – 46 points
One-Week Total: 516 Fantasy Points
QB – George Blanda – Houston Oilers – When: 1961 vs the New York Titans
George Blanda had 7 passing touchdowns, 418 passing yards, and 7 extra points against the New York Titans on November 19, 1961. This game took place at old Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas.
This was the second year of the American Football League, which was known for its high-scoring games.
The Oilers defeated the Titans. who later became the New York Jets, by a score of 49-13.
It is no typo that George Blanda also kicked 7 extra points. He was a notable field goal kicker. In fact, years after George Blanda stopped being a starting quarterback in the AFL/NFL, he continued as a field goal kicker. He holds the record as the oldest player to play in an NFL game (48) and the player to have played the most seasons (26), and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
RB1 – Billy Cannon – Houston Oilers – When: 1961 vs New York Titans
You can tell that the Titans prepared to stop the pass when the rematch came with the Houston Oilers on December 10, 1961. The team lined up to stop George Blanda, so running back Billy Cannon torched the Titans for the best-ever single game by a fantasy football runner: 216 rushing, 3 rushing TDs, 5 receptions, 114 receiving yards, and 2 receiving TDs. Too bad fantasy football wasn’t invented for another two years.
Billy Cannon had a combination of brute strength and sprinter’s speed in his 6’1″, 216 pound frame. He is in the College Football Hall of Fame for having led the LSU Tigers to their first national championship. Later, Billy Cannon was one of the early stars of the AFL. He is one of only 20 players to have played in all 10 seasons of the AFL, before it became the AFC in the merged National Football League.
RB2 – Clinton Portis – Denver Broncos – When: 2003 vs the Kansas City Chiefs
Late in the 2003 season, the 2nd-year runner Clinton Portis rushed for 218 rushing, 5 rushing TDs, 2 receptions, and 36 yds receiving. Clinton Portis’s career game came during the fantasy playoffs, which makes such players fantasy legends.
Though Clinton Portis is best known for his 7 years of excellence with the Washington Redskins, he was one of the last elite runners in the Mike Shanahan offense with the Denver Broncos (traded for Champ Bailey). Articles about this game describe a grudge match between Denver and Kansas City. Broncos QB Jake Plummer described how the fifth Portis touchdown was supposed to be a run into the line, but the Chiefs mushy run defense couldn’t stop him at that point. I bet that last score won a lot of fantasy football championships.
WR1 – Cloyce Box – Detroit Lions – When: 1950 vs Baltimore Colts
The single-best game ever by a wide receiver was put in by Cloyce Box during the 1950 Detroit Lions season. Box had 12 receptions for 302 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns for the Lions against the Baltimore Colts.
Believe it or not, the Detroit Lions were a powerhouse in the NFL in the 1950s. Cloyce Box was a key contributor on their 1952 and 1953 back-to-back NFL Championship teams. (The Lions won another in 1954 and another in 1957, which is the team’s last NFL championship.)
Cloyce Box, who had been a 20th round pick of the Redskins in 1948, eventually retired to become a Texas oilman. He owned the Box Energy Company, known for its many lawsuits, and eventually bought the Cloyce Box Ranch. The Cloyce Box Ranch house later was used as the first version of the South Fork Ranch on the Dallas mini-series. The more famous version of South Fork Ranch was used for the continuing TV series, Dallas.
WR2 – Jerry Rice – San Francisco 49ers – When: 1990 vs Atlanta Falcons
Jerry Rice proved his brilliance in a 1990 game versus the Atlanta Falcons, thus becoming the second receiver on this team behind Cloyce Box. I watched this game. This was the first year Deion Sanders was in the NFL and a lot was made in the hype running up to this game about Deion Sanders versus Jerry Rice. In the end, it turned out to be more of a Jerry Rice vs Charles Dimry showdown, which is why Rice collected 13 receptions for 225 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. I remember feeling sorry for Charles Dimry at a point, though it was funny seeing head coach Jerry Glanville look disgusted on the Falcons sideline.
Jerry Rice is considered the best wide receiver to ever play American football. I once said you could cut Jerry Rice’s career stats into two halves and both players would get him in the Hall of Fame. His statistics might not seem as outlandish by today’s standards, but he played in an era where different rules were in place. As it is, Jerry Rice holds records that even today’s receivers are going to find hard to surpass. Even as a Cowboys fan who hated the San Francisco 49ers of that era, I respected and liked Jerry Rice. Plain and simple, he played the game the right way.
Note: Charles Dimry went on to win the NFL’s Ed Block Courage Award twice and the San Diego Charger’s Most Inspirational Player. He played 12 NFL seasons with the Falcons, Broncos, Bucs, Eagles, and Chargers.)
Flex Player – Jamaal Charles- Kansas City Chiefs RB – When: December 10, 2013 vs Raiders
You knew the Oakland Raiders of the past 15 years would have to be on this list in a negative fashion. In the 2013 season, the Raiders D gave up 8 receptions for 195 yds receiving and 4 receiving TDs (along with 20 yds rushing and 1 rushing TD). This game signalled that Jamaal Charles was fully back from his 2011 ACL injury and was in his prime. Jamaal Charles said at the time, “A big part of this team depends on me. Once I’m healthy this offense can go a long way and this team can go a long way.
Jamaal Charles scored on a 49-yard pass reception on the first play of the game, then continued to score all night in a 56-31 defeat of Oakland. The game clinched a playoff spot for the resurgent Chiefs in their first year under Andy Reid. The team had been 2-14 the year before in a season which was overshadowed by the murder-suicide of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. The suicide was in the Chiefs’ parking lot, an act which scarred many Kansas City players.
Like so many of these games, Jamaal Charles’ career day came in December. It goes with my theory that defenses get tired late in the season, and big totals are possible. I’m a fan of starting fresh running backs like Thomas Rawls, Javorius Allen, and Spencer Ware late in the season, when you can. Jamaal Charles is a beast of a different stripe, but this all-time great list does nothing to disprove my theory.
TE – Kellen Winslow – San Diego Chargers – When: November 22, 1981 vs Oakland Raiders
Well, well, well…the Oakland Raiders make the list again. This was went the Raiders were in the midst of 2 World Titles in 5 seasons, so Kellen Winslow’s game was against a stout defense.
Quite simply, Kellen Winslow Sr. was the finest tight end I’ve ever seen play. The NFL Films of his effort in the 1981 playoff game against the Miami Dolphins is must-watch TV for an NFL fan.
In this game, Kellen Winslow helped the Chargers win with 13 receptions, 144 yards receiving, and 5 touchdowns. Four of the TD passes were from Dan Fouts. The fifth touchdown was from Chuck Muncie, an a halfback pass. The San Diego Chargers of the Air Coryell Era were so fun to watch. I can’t imagine what kind of numbers that unit would put up using the current set of rules.
K – Rob Bironas – Tennessee Titans – When: October 27, 2007 vs Houston Texans
Rob Bironas set an NFL record with 8 field goals (52, 25, 21, 30, 28, 43, 29, 29) in a 38-36 victory over the Houston Texans in 2007. Bironas added 2 extra points. The Titans offense was led by Kerry Collins, who was filling in for Vince Young due to an injury. This was the rare NFL game where the field goal kicker was the storyline, and it was the rare week when a fantasy football kicker could win a game for an owner. The game was a barn burner, with Sage Rosenfels leading the Texans on a comeback with 29 fourth quarter points. The 8th Bironas field goal was the difference in the game, after the Texas took the lead on a touchdown with :53 seconds left.
The game helped Rob Bironas become a Pro Bowler, an All-Pro, and a Golden Toe Award winner in 2007. It had been a long road to such acclaim for the kicker, who had signed as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2002. He was cut by the Packers that year, then had brief stints with the Buccaneers in 2003 and the Steelers in 2004. In between, he kicked with Arena Football League teams like the Charleston Swamp Foxes (AF2), the Carolina Cobras, and the New York Dragons. He eventually kicked with the Titans from 2005 to 2013, then died under mysterious circumstances in a car wreck in 2014. Only three months prior to the accident, he had married Rachel Bradshaw, the daughter of Terry Bradshaw.
DEF/ST – Houston Texans Defense – When: 2002 vs Pittsburgh Steelers
In 2002, the Houston Texans defense held the Pittsburgh Steelers to 6 points, while getting 2 interceptions, fumble recoveries, 6 sacks, and 3 defensive touchdowns in a 24-6 victory at Heinz Field. Kenny Wright scored on a 40 yard fumble return touchdown in the 1st Quarter. Aaron Glenn scored on a 70 yard interception return later in the 1st Quarter, then added a 65 yard interception return with 2 minutes remaining in the game. The Steelers were only down 17-6 at that point and they were driving, so the late Aaron Glenn pick-six INT happened while the game was still in doubt.
It was an inspired effort for an expansion team, and one of two surprising results for the Dom Capers-led team that year. The team began the year with a victory in its first game against the Dallas Cowboys. This game has the distinction of the least yards collected by a winning team from the line of scrimmage (46). People might see that the Steelers were led by Tommy Maddox, but Maddox had his moments in the NFL and the Steelers squad that was shut down that night included Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, and Plaxico Burress. The Houston Texans finished 4-12 that year, which is great by expansion standards.
Defense Note: The 1985 Chicago Bears Defense tied the 2002 Houston Texans Defense with 43 points. I remember the game well, though I’d just as soon not remember it. The Chicago Bears were playing the Dallas Cowboys, led by Danny White, and the game was a pick ’em. This is still when Tom Landry teams had a mystique about them. The Bears were crushing everybody, behind the legs of Walter Payton, the swagger of Jim McMahon, and that amazing Buddy Ryan-coordinated defense. The defense had Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Wilbur Marshall, Hampton & McMichael, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, and Dave Duerson. Heck, even Rams HC Jeff Fisher chipped in.
Anyway, the game got out of hand pretty early, with two defensive touchdowns. Then Mike Ditka’s Bears simply ran it down the Cowboys’ throats in the second half. Danny White was replaced by Gary Hogeboom or Steve Pelleur–I can’t remember–and it was bad.
Along with a playoff game versus the L.A. Rams where Eric Dickerson ran for 200+ yards, it was one of two games that signalled the real end of the Dallas Cowboys’s long dominance in the NFC. If I remember correctly, 1985 was either the last of 20 consecutive winning seasons, or it was the season that ended that streak.
Either way, it was a sick feeling for a Dallas Cowboys fan. I remember going to play backyard football after that game and everyone badmouthing the Cowboys. I remember there was a kid in a “Riggo” jersey and I tackled him especially hard.
In any case, I’m pretty sure the fumble recoveries put the Houston Texans’ 2002 squad a few points ahead of the ’85 Bears Defense.
Field Goal Note: I’ve seen a 26-point week from a place kicker before, but I also play in leagues where you get bonus points for long FGs. If you use Rob Bironas in that situation, you would score in the low-to-mid-30s.
Best Ever 1-Week Fantasy Football Scores
That is the all-time great list for one single NFL or AFL football game. The totals above would beat any other lineup your opponent could possibly field. It would be great to have half that total on DraftKings or FanDuel any given week. Whatever the case, if you ever have a bet with a friend about the all-time best fantasy scores, don’t forget about Cloyce Box, Billy Cannon, and George Blanda.