The chips are down in Weeks 14-16. It's one of the blessings and curses of Fantasy football that it all comes down to a three-week stretch in December. You can build the best team in your league throughout the bulk of the regular season, but if they don't come through with it when it matters most, you won't take home the trophy.
But that's also what makes victory taste that much sweeter. It doesn't matter if it was a late-season breakout or your star RB1 coming up extra clutch, you remember who did what in those all-important three weeks to push you to glory.
Here are the greatest playoff performances in Fantasy football history.
Todd Gurley, 2017
Gurley was the clear RB1 in all formats in his bounceback 2017 season, but while he was already good enough to lead you into the postseason, he really carried Fantasy rosters in the biggest weeks.
I'm not even sure how you could have beaten a Gurley-led team that year. Gurley's 28.5 PPR points with 135 yards from scrimmage and two scores in Week 14 seemed quiet by the time he was done, though plenty of his managers had byes that week already. In Week 15, Gurley went nuclear, racking up 180 total yards and four touchdowns. Good luck stopping that 45-point PPR outburst.
Then in the Fantasy championship, Gurley came back with an even more ludicrous performance, catching 10 passes for 158 yards and two scores(!) on top of 118 yards on the ground. His 276 total yards helped propel him to 49.6 PPR points and many Fantasy managers to easy championship victories.
Jamaal Charles, 2013
In Weeks 14 and 16, Charles was something close to human. Sure, he posted at least 140 total yards and a score in each, but 29.8 and 25.4 PPR points pale in comparison to some of the gaudier totals on this list.
He's here more because of one game, the Fantasy semifinals, when he rushed... just eight times for 20 yards?!
Charles wasn't needed on the ground that day because he was absolutely carving up Oakland's defense through the air. When it was all over, Charles had caught all eight targets thrown his way for 195 receiving yards and four touchdowns. With the 1-yard rushing touchdown he added, his final line featured 215 yards from scrimmage and five scores for 59.5 PPR points, the highest single-game total in any Fantasy playoff week in this era.
Odell Beckham, 2014
Beckham's rookie season started slowly, with a hamstring costing him Weeks 1-4. He made his debut in Week 5, and caught three touchdowns over the next three weeks but didn't go over 50 yards in any, totaling 106 yards on 10 catches.
But after the Giants Week 8 bye, Beckham had one of the greatest nine-game stretches in NFL history. Starting in Week 9, Beckham's average line the rest of that season was 12.8 targets, 9 catches, 133 receiving yards and a touchdown, a 16-game pace of 204-144-2132-16.
And he saved his best work for the Fantasy playoffs, where he went 15-11-130-1 (30.9 PPR points with his 9 rushing yards), 15-12-143-3 (42.3 PPR) and 12-8-148-2 (34.8 PPR).
Jordan Reed, 2015
Reed's 2015 has made, but it most clearly belongs here. That's because during the Fantasy playoffs, Reed didn't play like a tight end — he averaged just over 29 PPR points per game, more than four points per game higher than the next best Fantasy playoff performance by any tight end ever.
In Week 14, Reed caught all 9 targets he saw for 120 yards and a score, for 27 PPR points. In Week 15, he caught all 7 he saw for 84 yards and two touchdowns, a 27.4-point performance. And in Fantasy championship week, he had his best game of the season, catching 9 of 11 targets for 129 yards and two more house calls, a 33.9-point performance that — particularly when considering positional scarcity — solidified him as a bona fide league-winner.
LaDainian Tomlinson, 2003
Just seven running backs have ever posted a 400-point PPR season, and two of them did it in 2003. Those two — Priest Holmes and Tomlinson — are also among just three backs who have ever hit the 400-point plateau twice, joined by Marshall Faulk.
So it's no surprise that one of those backs finds their name on this list, and Holmes' 2003 could arguably also find its way here given he scored a whopping eight touchdowns across Weeks 14-16. But Tomlinson outdid him, and the 2003 Fantasy playoffs were a passing of the torch of sorts as Tomlinson would go on to dominate the Fantasy landscape through the rest of the decade.
Tomlinson scored six times during the 2003 Fantasy playoffs — twice each week — and really made an impact through the air. In Week 14, he caught 9 passes for 148 yards and two scores, and in Week 15 he caught 11 more for 144 yards and two more receiving touchdowns. Tomlinson's 115 PPR points across Weeks 14-16 easily outpaced Holmes' 96.8, though it was closer in the non-PPR formats that were more popular then (Tomlinson still bested Holmes by 9.2 points). Only Gurley in 2017 totaled more PPR points in a single Fantasy playoff since 1997 than Tomlinson in 2003.
Steven Jackson, 2006
Fantasy players maybe don't remember Jackson as among the very elite, and that's mostly fair — with the exception of 2006. While Jackson totaled at least 1250 yards from scrimmage in eight straight seasons, the 2334 he put up in 2006 crushed his next best season by nearly 600 yards. Jackson also scored 16 touchdowns in 2006, the only time he ever had more than 10, and caught 90 passes — 39 more than his next highest total.
The fascinating thing about Jackson's 2006 is it started relatively slowly. Sure, Jackson was averaging just under 130 yards from scrimmage through the first five weeks, but he'd scored just once. From Week 6 on, his 11-game stretch compares favorably to what Christian McCaffrey just did in 2019. During that stretch, Jackson averaged 6.5 catches, 153 yards from scrimmage and 1.4 touchdowns per game; McCaffrey's 2019 season averages in the second-best PPR season of all time were 7.3 receptions, 150 yards from scrimmage and 1.2 touchdowns.
But Jackson isn't on the list for his 11-game stretch. In Week 14, he caught 10 passes, posted 139 total yards and scored twice (35.9 PPR). In the Fantasy semis, he inexplicably didn't catch a pass, but he rushed 31 times for 127 yards and two scores (24.7 PPR). And in the Fantasy championship that year, Jackson caught six passes for 102 yards, added another 150 on the ground, and scored twice yet again (43.2 PPR).
All told, Jackson outscored Tomlinson — who in that same 2006 year posted the single highest-scoring Fantasy season ever — by 23.9 PPR and 10.9 non-PPR points across the all-important Weeks 14-16.
Doug Baldwin, 2015
Coming into 2015, Baldwin's career highs were 98 targets, 66 catches, 825 yards and 5 touchdowns. He'd become a key part of Seattle's passing offense, but Russell Wilson was only through the first three seasons of his career and had yet to throw for 3,500 yards; Seattle's passing offense wasn't much to write home about.
While Seattle's passing offense still isn't quite what we'd hope for, things did start to change in the second half of 2015. Baldwin would finish that year with his first 1,000-yard season, but it was the streak of touchdowns he put up that were legendary. Including Weeks 12 and 13, the two weeks preceding the Fantasy playoffs, Baldwin caught 11 touchdowns in five games, with six of those coming in Weeks 14-16.
A three-touchdown Week 14 gave him 32.2 PPR points, and then he scored twice more in Week 15 for 20.5 PPR points. Week 16 must have felt like something of a let down with just a single touchdown, snapping a streak of four straight multi-touchdown games, but Baldwin caught 8 of 10 targets for 118 yards to put up another 27.8 points that week.
Honorable mentions and fun notes
- Drew Bennett, 2004 — Bennett's continued through Week 15, but despite the second-most WR points in a single Fantasy playoffs during this era, it felt wrong to include him in the main list with a Fantasy championship line of 6-2-26-0.
- Jeff Garcia, 2000 and 2003 — Garcia and Drew Brees are the only quarterbacks to have two of the 10 best quarterback Fantasy playoff performances since 1997.
- Marshall Faulk, 1999-2001 — In each of Faulk's three straight seasons as the RB1, his Fantasy playoffs performances lived up to his full season. His three seasons rank seventh, fifth and fourth among Week 14-16 running back PPR scoring in this era.
- Terrell Owens, 2000 and Brandon Marshall, 2009 — Owens' memorable record-setting 20-catch game came in the Week 16 Fantasy championship, while Marshall's 21-catch game in 2009 that set a new record came in Week 14.
- Jerome Harrison, 2009 — Harrison's epic 286 rushing yards and three scores in Week 15 came one week after he rushed just seven times for 9 yards. Harrison did back up the performance with another 148 rushing yards and a score in Week 16.
- Amani Toomer, 2002 — Toomer had the third-most Week 16 PPR points in this era — behind only Owens and Gurley — with his 10 catches for 204 yards and three scores in Week 16, 2002.
- Derrick Henry, 2018 — Henry's late-season stretch ranked fifth among all running back playoffs performances in non-PPR scoring, but he caught just two passes across those three weeks for a 14th-place PPR finish.
- Patrick Jeffers, 1999 — Jeffers closed the 1999 season with five straight 100-yard games from Week 13 through Week 17, scoring at least one touchdown in each. While he was a Fantasy star for anyone playing him in those playoffs, those were the only five 100-yard games of his career.