Greatest Fantasy Football Player
Laura Lee - July 8, 2023

For many people, fantasy football is the highlight of every NFL season and has grown incredibly popular over the past few decades. Many people create their clubs (or teams) every year to score enough points to win their league. Some people only use it as a tiny pastime or something to kill time. Others find it to be much more. Come on, everyone who is reading this is familiar with the person who plays in 10 or 12 leagues. Of course, different leagues have different scoring methods. We decided to exclusively discuss the Super Bowl era, which started with the 1966 season, even though NFL history spans more than a century.

Running back Leroy Kelly #44 of the Cleveland Browns runs off the field

Getty Images/ Diamond Images/ Ron Kuntz Collection

Charley Taylor, a wide receiver and halfback who played 13 NFL seasons—all in Washington—is at the top of the list. However, the Cleveland Browns’ new running back, Leroy Kelly, rapidly surpassed him for the No. 1 ranking. Fran Tarkenton, a quarterback in the Hall of Fame who spent 18 NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, is quickly moving up the rankings as we enter the 1970s. In the early 1980s, Tarkenton held onto his advantage. Still, Chicago Bears rushing back Walter Payton, who amassed 1,200 or more yards on the ground in his 13 NFL seasons, finally dethroned the legendary Vikings player in 1983.

By 1990, Montana had climbed to position No. 4, but as his career ended, that was the highest he would ever reach. Payton still maintained the lead when the decade changed, but Dan Marino and Jerry Rice, in particular, started to nudge their way up the rankings. While Rice remained the top running back throughout the 2000s, Marshall Faulk and Emmitt Smith, who holds the record for most rushing yards in NFL history, moved up the leaderboard. Tom Brady and Drew Brees initially appeared on the list in the early 2010s, and as the decade progressed, they quickly moved up the rankings.

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