Top 20 fantasy performances of 2013 (10-6)


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 of the season. Check back here daily as we count down all the way to No. 1.

No. 10: Megatron blasts Cowboys

This probably won't shock anyone, but Calvin Johnson is good at football. The big receiver proved it yet again in Week 8 when he put on a performance for the ages against the Dallas Cowboys.

It actually took awhile for Johnson to get involved. He didn't catch his first pass of the day until Detroit's third possession. But it was a big one -- 87 yards to be exact. Four plays later, Megatron hauled in a 2-yard touchdown catch on fourth down and he was off and running.

When the final gun sounded, Johnson had racked up career-highs with 14 catches for an eye-popping 329 yards and a touchdown. The Lions needed every bit of it in their 31-30 victory. For Johnson, the result was a Week 8-best 36.90 fantasy points, barely edging out Marvin Jones for top honors. That's why he's the undisputed king of fantasy wide receivers.

No. 9: Easy, Breesy

Drew Brees was good for fantasy owners all season long. He just happened to be extra good when some of those owners needed it most.

Going against division rival Tampa Bay in the final week of the regular season, fantasy football's most consistent quarterback reminded everyone why he's earned that title. Brees torched the Buccaneers for 381 passing yards and four touchdowns. For good measure, he capped the day with a 9-yard touchdown run to put the finishing touches on a 42-17 shellacking.

Brees' 38.04-point Week 17 total put the finishing touches on a season that saw the veteran rank second among all fantasy scorers ... though he was a distant second to Peyton Manning. Still, you won't hear any of Brees' fantasy owners complaining.

No. 8: Gordon makes history

A suspension kept Josh Gordon off the field for the first two games of the 2014 season. Once he returned, the Browns receiver immediately started making up for lost time. That was certainly evident in Week 12 when he posted 237 receiving yards and a touchdown. The next week, Gordon turned things up a notch.

Week 13 turned out to be a little unlucky for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They were haunted all day long by Gordon, who went off for 10 catches, 261 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was a history-making performance as the Cleveland receiver became the first man in NFL history to record back-to-back games with 200-plus receiving yards.

Somehow, the Jags survived Gordon's onslaught for a 32-28 win. But fantasy owners certainly weren't complaining about the production they got from a player who was likely drafted in the later rounds and far exceeded his preseason projections. After all, 38.10 fantasy points is nothing to sneeze at ... until you realize it was the SECOND highest total of the week.

No. 7: McCown mauls Cowboys

When Jay Cutler went down with an injury midway through last season, both the Bears and fantasy owners were forced to do a little shuffling at the quarterback spot. Enter Josh McCown. The journeyman signal-caller didn't seem to be the answer. But things aren't always what they seem.

In five starts in 2013, McCown averaged more than 22 fantasy points per game. But the high-water mark came in Week 14 against the Dallas Cowboys. McCown dusted off the already beleaguered Cowboys secondary to the tune of 348 passing yards and four touchdowns. Then for fun, McCown scored just the fourth rushing touchdown of his career -- the first since 2004. The defense that has been victimized by Peyton Manning in Week 5 was humbled by a far less "brand name" quarterback.

It ended as a 39.52-point day. Not a bad way for McCown to end his tenure as a Bears starter as Cutler returned the next week. We'll see if a move to Tampa Bay can yield the same results for McCown this season. At least we'll always have Week 14.

No. 6: A.J.'s big day

For about a decade, Andre Johnson has been among the elite receivers on the field and in fantasy football. But if there's one complaint fantasy owners have had about Johnson in recent seasons, it's been a lack of touchdowns. It's a complaint that Johnson muted ... at least for one week.

Case Keenum was making just his second career start in place of the slumping Matt Schaub, and it didn't take long for Keenum to find a security blanket. One minute into Houston's Week 9 game against the Colts, Johnson caught a 62-yard touchdown. Nearly 10 minutes later, the pair connected on a 41-yard score. The veteran receiver would find the end zone one more time and eventually put the finishing touches on a nine-catch, 229-yard, three-touchdown day -- good for 40.90 fantasy points.

It wouldn't be enough for the Texans, who gave up 21 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters to lose 27-24. But it would be plenty good for fantasy owners, who would only celebrate two more Johnson touchdowns for the remainder of the season.

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