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Top 20 fantasy performances of 2013 (15-11)


It won't be too long from now that we're knee deep in training camp. That means the new NFL season will be upon us in earnest. (By the way ... now's a good time to sign up for NFL Fantasy Football in 2014.) But until then, let's take some time to reminisce over the season that was 2013 by reliving the 20 best individual fantasy performances. Check back here daily as we count down all the way to No. 1.


No. 15: Bucs make it Rainey


When the 2013 season started, Bobby Rainey wasn't on anyone's radar. By the time it was over, he was a coveted commodity. The second-year running back began the season with the Cleveland Browns but was released after six games. Enter the Buccaneers, who gave Rainey a chance. He capitalized.

With Doug Martin and Mike James both out with injuries, Tampa Bay turned to Rainey against the Atlanta Falcons. The man from Western Kentucky never had more than eight carries in an NFL game. On that day, he would carry the ball 30 times, burning the Dirty Birds for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns. For added measure, Rainey caught a touchdown pass as well and finished Week 11 as the top scorer in all of fantasy football with 34.70 points.

The Buc pretty much stopped there. Rainey had only one other game of note for the rest of the season -- an 18.3-point performance in Week 14 against the Bills. But for one week at least, the man who was once No. 3 on Tampa's roster was No. 1 in fantasy owners' hearts.

No. 14: Aaron it out


Injuries prevented Aaron Rodgers from posting the type of season totals we've become accustomed to seeing. But in Week 2, Mr. Rodgers looked quite at home in his neighborhood.

Facing a Washington defense that struggled all season long to stop opposing quarterbacks, Green Bay's field leader was at his best. Rodgers threw touchdown passes on three straight possessions in the first and second quarters and added another in the third to help the Packers build a 31-0 lead. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way as Rodgers finished the day with 480 passing yards, four TDs and 34.90 points.

It was the most productive fantasy outing of the year for the Packers' star, who would only throw three TDs in a game once more during the season. Here's to hoping we see a lot more of weeks like this one in 2014.

No. 13: Peyton lassos Cowboys


In Week 5, the Broncos headed down to Dallas to visit the Cowboys ... and it turned into a good ol' fashioned Wild West shootout.

The two teams traded punches with the respective quarterbacks leading the way. Manning continued his eventual MVP season with 414 passing yards and four touchdowns. But the signature play of the day was the naked bootleg that fooled everyone in the stadium (and everyone watching on television), resulting in Manning's first rushing touchdown since 2008.

Denver would escape with a 51-48 win after a Matt Prater field goal and Manning would finish the day with 35.76 points. Most weeks, that would have been tops in fantasy. Not this week. Stay tuned to see who outdueled The Sheriff.

No. 12: No keeping up with this Jones


We're used to seeing A.J. Green have big fantasy games. But Cincinnati's "other" receivers? Not so much.

Marvin Jones set out to prove that there's more than one playmaking pass-catcher in the Queen City by finishing the 2013 season among the 20 best players at his position. But the high water mark was easily his Week 8 outburst against the Jets. The second-year receiver exploded for season-highs with eight catches, 122 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-9 rout of Gang Green.

While those numbers were plenty good for the Bengals to get a win, they weren't good enough for Jones to lead the Week 8 scorers. The bigger shocker? He wasn't beaten by a quarterback. You'll have to read on to find out who it was.

No. 11: Alshon all day


2013 saw the rise of Alshon Jeffery, creating a dynamic duo of receivers for the Chicago Bears. Brandon Marshall might have been the top dog in the Windy City for much of the season, but in Week 13, Robin played the role of Batman.

The Vikings put the clamps on Marshall, limiting him to just 45 yards on four catches. But Minnesota had no answer for Jeffery. The big receiver went off for 12 catches, 249 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Somehow it wasn't enough as Chicago lost, 23-20 to their division rivals.

To add insult to injury ... not only did Jeffery's big day not make him the top Week 13 fantasy scorer, it wasn't even good enough for second on the list. The other two big games? They'll show up a little bit later in our countdown.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who encourages you to keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. You can follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.

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