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Published: June 18, 2011 at 06:38 p.m.
Updated: July 6, 2011 at 06:43 p.m.

Top Single-Season Fantasy Running Back Performances Since 2001

As we get geared up for yet another exciting fantasy football campaign, let’s take a look back at the best single-season RB performances of the last decade. Our list is based on a standard scoring system, and takes into account only the highest point totals for the RBs who had multiple enormous fantasy seasons.

10 Photos Total

  • Arguably the most dominant running back in fantasy football since Marshall Faulk, Tomlinson was a staple at the top of drafts for several seasons during his time in San Diego. Among his enormous statistical seasons was 2006, when he totaled 56 receptions, 2,323 yards from scrimmage and set the NFL single-season record for total touchdowns with an incredible 31 scores. 10

    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers (2006)

    Arguably the most dominant running back in fantasy football since Marshall Faulk, Tomlinson was a staple at the top of drafts for several seasons during his time in San Diego. Among his enormous statistical seasons was 2006, when he totaled 56 receptions, 2,323 yards from scrimmage and set the NFL single-season record for total touchdowns with an incredible 31 scores.

  • When Marshall Faulk's time as a fantasy star ended, Holmes took up the title as the top fantasy back. Though his tenure as fantasy's main man was short-lived, Holmes did post some huge seasons under coach Dick Vermeil. In 2002-03 he posted back-to-back seasons with 373 fantasy points, finding the end zone an incredible 51 times for the Chiefs. 9

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    Priest Holmes, Chiefs (2002)

    When Marshall Faulk's time as a fantasy star ended, Holmes took up the title as the top fantasy back. Though his tenure as fantasy's main man was short-lived, Holmes did post some huge seasons under coach Dick Vermeil. In 2002-03 he posted back-to-back seasons with 373 fantasy points, finding the end zone an incredible 51 times for the Chiefs.

  • Alexander was an absolute fantasy star during a five-year stretch of the 2000s, but his best statistical season came in 2005. He rushed for a career-best 1,880 yards and scored what was at the time an NFL record 28 total touchdowns, which helped countless fantasy owners take home a league title. Unfortunately, injuries (and maybe the "Madden" curse) struck Alexander during his final three seasons. 8

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Shaun Alexander, Seahawks (2005)

    Alexander was an absolute fantasy star during a five-year stretch of the 2000s, but his best statistical season came in 2005. He rushed for a career-best 1,880 yards and scored what was at the time an NFL record 28 total touchdowns, which helped countless fantasy owners take home a league title. Unfortunately, injuries (and maybe the "Madden" curse) struck Alexander during his final three seasons.

  • One of fantasy football's current superstars, Johnson had his breakout season in 2009 when he posted 50 catches, broke the NFL record for yards from scrimmage (2,509) and found the end zone 16 times. The versatile speedster saw a decrease in production last season, but is still a lock to be a top-five selection in 2011 fantasy drafts. In fact, he'll be the top overall pick in some leagues. 7

    Jim Brown/US Presswire

    Chris Johnson, Titans (2009)

    One of fantasy football's current superstars, Johnson had his breakout season in 2009 when he posted 50 catches, broke the NFL record for yards from scrimmage (2,509) and found the end zone 16 times. The versatile speedster saw a decrease in production last season, but is still a lock to be a top-five selection in 2011 fantasy drafts. In fact, he'll be the top overall pick in some leagues.

  • Green had a nice string of productive fantasy seasons in Titletown, but his best was in 2003. The versatile back rushed for a career-best 1,883 yards, caught 50 passes for 367 yards and found the end zone 20 times. That would be the last time Green made a major fantasy impact, however, as he rushed for 1,000-plus yards just twice in his final six seasons in Green Bay and Houston. 6

    David Stluka/Associated Press

    Ahman Green, Packers (2003)

    Green had a nice string of productive fantasy seasons in Titletown, but his best was in 2003. The versatile back rushed for a career-best 1,883 yards, caught 50 passes for 367 yards and found the end zone 20 times. That would be the last time Green made a major fantasy impact, however, as he rushed for 1,000-plus yards just twice in his final six seasons in Green Bay and Houston.

  • The poster boy for fantasy football stardom for much of his career, Faulk led countless owners to league titles during his illustrious tenure. He had his best fantasy season in 2000, but that didn't meet the criteria for our search (the last 10 years). Faulk's next best fantasy season was 2001, when he recorded 83 catches, 2,147 yards from scrimmage and found the end zone 21 times. 5

    Kevin Terrell/Associated Press

    Marshall Faulk, Rams (2001)

    The poster boy for fantasy football stardom for much of his career, Faulk led countless owners to league titles during his illustrious tenure. He had his best fantasy season in 2000, but that didn't meet the criteria for our search (the last 10 years). Faulk's next best fantasy season was 2001, when he recorded 83 catches, 2,147 yards from scrimmage and found the end zone 21 times.

  • Johnson quickly emerged into an elite fantasy player when Priest Holmes was at the end of his career. Johnson had two huge seasons that were nearly identical in terms of fantasy points, but his 2005 campaign was slightly better as he produced 2,093 yards from scrimmage and scored 21 touchdowns. Unfortunately, his career hit the skids after enduring an NFL-record 416 carries in 2006. 4

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Larry Johnson, Chiefs (2005)

    Johnson quickly emerged into an elite fantasy player when Priest Holmes was at the end of his career. Johnson had two huge seasons that were nearly identical in terms of fantasy points, but his 2005 campaign was slightly better as he produced 2,093 yards from scrimmage and scored 21 touchdowns. Unfortunately, his career hit the skids after enduring an NFL-record 416 carries in 2006.

  • Foster came out of nowhere last season to emerge as the No. 1 player in fantasy football, leading all positions in points despite a mid-round average draft position on NFL.com. He put up an impressive 66 receptions, 2,220 scrimmage yards and found the end zone 18 total times. Based on his immense level of statistical success, Foster will be one of the top three (if not the top) players drafted in 2011. 3

    Brett Davis/US Presswire

    Arian Foster, Texans (2010)

    Foster came out of nowhere last season to emerge as the No. 1 player in fantasy football, leading all positions in points despite a mid-round average draft position on NFL.com. He put up an impressive 66 receptions, 2,220 scrimmage yards and found the end zone 18 total times. Based on his immense level of statistical success, Foster will be one of the top three (if not the top) players drafted in 2011.

  • Jackson has been among the top fantasy running backs for much of his career. His breakout season came in 2006, when he posted career bests in receptions (90), rushing yards (1,528), yards from scrimmage (2,334) and total touchdowns (16). Though he's never been able to duplicate that level of success, Jackson has still rushed for 1,000-plus yards in six straight seasons. 2

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Steven Jackson, Rams (2006)

    Jackson has been among the top fantasy running backs for much of his career. His breakout season came in 2006, when he posted career bests in receptions (90), rushing yards (1,528), yards from scrimmage (2,334) and total touchdowns (16). Though he's never been able to duplicate that level of success, Jackson has still rushed for 1,000-plus yards in six straight seasons.

  • Williams' career didn't take off until he went to Miami, where he thrived in Norv Turner's offense. His most productive season was 2002, when he recorded career bests in rushing yards (1,853) and touchdowns (16) while also averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per carry. Despite several ups and downs in his career, including a stint in the CFL, Williams has still recorded five 1,000-yard seasons. 1

    Gary Rothstein/Associated Press

    Ricky Williams, Dolphins (2002)

    Williams' career didn't take off until he went to Miami, where he thrived in Norv Turner's offense. His most productive season was 2002, when he recorded career bests in rushing yards (1,853) and touchdowns (16) while also averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per carry. Despite several ups and downs in his career, including a stint in the CFL, Williams has still recorded five 1,000-yard seasons.