By Ryan Bickerstaff
The 2020 fantasy football playoffs have come and gone. If you survived week 16 and arose victorious, congrats, Champ. If you weren’t so fortunate, keep at it. Dust yourself off and come back even stronger next season.
In a season as chaotic as 2020 has proven to be, even making the playoffs was an achievement, let alone winning the whole thing. Week 16 of this season proved to be equally chaotic and incredible.
This week alone gave us five of the greatest individual performances on Championship Week since 2010.
That’s 25% of the following list.
So, with fantasy football’s regular season now finished, and the year coming to a close, let’s take a look back at the very best week 16 performances of the past decade; to remember the incredible performances that won championships for so many.
These point totals will reflect PPR, 6-point passing TD, and -2 points per fumble scoring. All statistics in this article were pulled from Pro Football Reference and Stathead.
Now, without further ado: The Top 20 Championship Week Performances 2010-2020!
20. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals, 2013
363 YD, 4 TD; 10 RuYD (39.52 fantasy points)
Shoutout to the 2020 version of Andy Dalton, who rewarded his fantasy managers with an unexpected 32.6 point performance in week 16. This wasn’t the first time he came up big in the biggest game of the year, however. In 2013, Dalton led the Bengals to a dominant 42-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Cincy would go on to win the AFC North in 2013 at 11-5.
19. Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2010
237 YD, 5 TD; 23 RuYD, 1 FUM (39.78)
Freeman may have been a flash in the pan in the earlier part of this decade, but he put up a couple quality fantasy seasons during his brief career. In a game where Freeman led his Buccs to a huge win over the Seattle Seahawks in a 38-15 blowout, he also led his fantasy managers to victory on the biggest stage of the year.
18. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos, 2013
400 YD, 4 TD (40.00)
In a year where Manning broke records with 5477 passing yards and 56 total touchdowns, let’s just say he came up big for his managers more than once before this fantasy championship week gift. The Broncos would easily defeat the Houston Texans 37-13 in this game. Manning would go on to be named First-Team All-Pro, Offensive Player of the Year, and MVP.
17. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2020
10 REC, 181 YD, 2 TD (40.10)
As an Evans manager, I understand how frustrating it has been to have him on your roster this season. His usual highs and lows have never been more unpredictable and he never seemed to fully get on the same page as Tom Brady. However, it seems they got it figured out just in time for the championship, and Evans’ managers were rewarded handsomely for sticking with him.
16. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills, 2020
320 YD, 4 TD; 35 RuYD (40.30)
The changing of the guard in the AFC East is official. Buffalo relegated the New England Patriots to second-class citizen status in the division they once ruled with an iron fist, defeating them 38-9. Allen, in his third season, has developed into the best young quarterback in the game not named Patrick Mahomes, and took that next step into superstar territory.
15. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks, 2014
339 YD, 2 TD; 88 RuYD, 1 TD (40.36)
Wilson historically tends to come up big in week 16, but his biggest performance of them all came in 2014 when he dismantled the hapless Arizona Cardinals, who got blown out 35-6 in this game, en route to a 12-4 season where Seattle won the NFC West. Of course, they eventually lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. At least Wilson’s managers won their’s.
14. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans, 2018
339 YD, 2 TD; 49 RuYD, 2 TD, 1 FUM (40.46)
Even though Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles came out victorious in this match, 32-30, Watson put up one of the best performances in recent memory. In just his second season, back when people still believed Bill O’Brien was a good coach, the star QB led his team to an 11-5 record, winning the AFC South, and I’d wager quite a few fantasy Super Bowls.
13. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys, 2012
416 YD, 4 TD (40.64)
It’s easy to forget how good some players were, and Romo is one of those players for me. Doing this research today reminded me of how awesome of a quarterback the former undrafted free agent turned out to be. Despite one of Romo’s finest performances, the Cowboys unfortunately came up short against the New Orleans Saints in this one, losing 34-31.
12. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers, 2010
404 YD, 4 TD; 26 RuYD, 1 FUM (40.76)
When it comes to week 16 greatness, Rodgers is king. This is merely the first of a whopping four appearances he made on this list. This is also a season that ended with a Packers Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as Rodgers being named Super Bowl MVP. Green Bay would defeat the New York Giants in this late December game, 45-17.
11. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills, 2020
9 REC, 145 YD, 3 TD (41.50)
While Josh Allen will get most of the glory for Buffalo’s huge win over New England, Diggs was quietly the player of the game. The Allen-Diggs connection has been special all season. And Diggs is a special player who saved his greatest performance of the season for a week where the most eyes would be on him. I can’t wait to see what these guys have in store for the playoffs.
10. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers, 2011
283 YD, 5 TD; 18 RuYD (43.12)
Talk about an encore performance. Rodgers did it even bigger in 2011 than he did in 2010. This year wouldn’t end in another Super Bowl victory for the Packers, but it almost certainly did for Rodgers’ fantasy managers. Who was the unfortunate team at the receiving end of this statistical beat down on Christmas? Divisional rivals, the Chicago Bears, who lost 35-21.
9. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers, 2020
11 REC, 142 YD, 3 TD (43.20)
Adams, who just turned 28 on December 24, celebrated his birthday and Christmas in style, not only helping defeat the Tennessee Titans 40-14, but also by helping his fantasy managers get the W in their biggest game of the year. With this clinic he put on, Adams has officially surpassed Tyreek Hill as the #1 receiver in fantasy, despite missing two games to an injury.
8. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys, 2012
9 REC, 224 YD, 2 TD (43.40)
Someone had to catch all the passes Tony Romo was throwing in this game. If you played the Romo-Bryant stack on this particular day, you laughed your way to the bank as your team won the league championship walking away. As a side note, it’s really cool to see Dez catching touchdowns again here in 2020. He has worked hard to get back, hopefully he can stick for a while.
7. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants, 2019
189 YD, 1 TD; 4 REC, 90 YD, 1 TD (43.90)
If anyone needed a reminder of how great Barkley can be, let this serve as one. In the midst of an injury-riddled 2019 season, Barkley rounded back into form and then some just in time for the holidays to give his managers the gift of a league-winning performance against the Washington *Name Redacted*. The G-Men won this contest 41-35.
6. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2018
14 REC, 185 YD, 2 TD (44.50)
It feels like it has been so long since we saw AB torching defenses like this. It’s amazing to see how much things can change in just a couple short years. The Steelers may have lost the battle in this one, falling to the New Orleans Saints 31-28, but Brown’s fantasy managers won the war, cashing in on this incredible effort.
5. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings, 2016
12 REC, 202 YD, 2 TD; 4 RuYD (44.60)
A star was born on Christmas Eve of 2016 when Thielen, still living in relative obscurity, burst onto the fantasy football scene with a career day against the Green Bay Packers. It saddens me to think about how many leagues Thielen was a free agent in when he did this. The Vikings would lose this game 38-25, but the select few who took a chance on Thielen certainly won.
4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers, 2016
347 YD, 4 TD; 13 RuYD, 1 TD (45.18)
For those of you keeping count, this is only Mr. Rodgers’ third appearance on this list. This also happens to be the very same game referred to in the Thielen blurb. It was quite a contest to give us two of the top five very finest week 16 fantasy performances of the decade. Rodgers finished the season with 40 touchdown passes, #1 in the league.
3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers, 2018
442 YD, 2 TD; 32 RuYD, 2 TD; 2PT (46.88)
In a 44-38 shootout victory over the New York Jets, Rodgers delivered the greatest fantasy Super Bowl performance of his spectacular career. He may never have the actual Super Bowl wins that Tom Brady has or Drew Brees’ numbers, but Rodgers is the undisputed GOAT of fantasy championship week. He’s a baaaaad man.
2. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams, 2017
118 YD; 10 REC, 158 YD, 2 TD (49.60)
How the mighty have fallen. Now on his way to becoming a mere footnote in football history, Gurley, at his peak, was one of the best running backs of his era. He will be fondly remembered for performances such as this championship week gem where he practically single-handedly defeated the Tennessee Titans 27-23, along with those unfortunate enough to play against him.
1. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints, 2020
155 YD, 6 TD; 3 REC, 17 YD (56.20)
In a performance that will go down in fantasy football lore, Kamara’s Christmas Miracle was the greatest week 16 showing of any in the 2010-2020 era, as he carried his team to a 52-33 win over the Minnesota Vikings. I predict his favorite charity will see a sharp increase in donations in the near future with all those championship dollars he just won for his fantasy managers.
As someone whose team you helped win a championship, thank you, Mr. Kamara.
Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year.