Week in and week out, plenty of NFL players have the potential to put up some huge numbers. Whether they’re putting in the extra effort for a playoff push, playing a bad team, or they’re just feeling it, these players’ abilities translate to mondo fantasy football points for your weekly matchup.
Although quarterbacks and running backs tend to pad the stat sheet more than others, other positions — and more intriguingly — lesser-known players can give that any-given-Sunday effort out of nowhere. So which NFL player has scored the most fantasy points in a game? The answers might surprise you.
You may have been on the receiving end of a fantasy football breakout performance, or maybe you were on the lucky side. In either case, you’ve probably developed a healthy love or senseless personal hate for the player just because of a single game. Or, perhaps you’re just a fan of advanced metrics.
Note: For the sake of even comparisons, these players scored the most fantasy points in a game based on standard scoring — not PPR scoring (points per reception) — which favors wide receivers and tight ends (to a lesser extent) — more than any other position. For the sake of modernity, we’re only going back to 1989 as that was around the time that fantasy football became widely playable across the United States.
Interesting tidbit: Newspapers and enthusiasts have offered fantasy football leagues since the early 1960s, either through mail-in cards or in-person bar/venue events.
The most fantasy points in a game might not be a household name, but nevertheless, a solid running back by all accounts. On December 7, 2003, Portis put up 55.4 points for the Denver Broncos against the Kansas City Chiefs en route to a 45-27 victory.
To accumulate such a tally, Portis had an absolutely insane day out of the backfield, tallying:
With 254 total yards and 5 TDs, this Week 14 performance is widely regarded as one of the most complete rushing performances in the history of the NFL. If you were one of the OGs of online fantasy football, hopefully, you weren’t on the losing side of Portis’ absolute dominance. If so, you may have wanted to quit the league, and rightfully so.
On Christmas Day of 2020, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara nearly eclipsed Portis for the most fantasy points in a game. During a 52-33 win against the Minnesota Vikings, Kamara valiantly paraded through the Vikes’ defense for an NFL record-tying six touchdowns — a feat previously held for almost 100 years by Chicago Cardinals fullback and St. Louis Browns pitcher — you read that right — Ernie Nevers in 1929.
To go along with six touchdowns, Kamara also had 155 rushing yards and 17 receiving yards, cementing his game as one of the best ever played — at least in a fantasy football sense. We can only hope you had him in the starting lineup, or at least in the flex spot.
Finishing just a tenth of a point behind Kamara, Alexander lit up the once-again, defensively hapless Vikings on September 29, 2002. During the game, Alexander was clearly dialed in, showcasing both his rushing prowess and soft receiving hands. When the final whistle blew, Alexander had:
With 231 total yards dispersed somewhat evenly, Alexander foreshadowed his greatness in the NFL, which culminated with an MVP during the 2005 season.
The lone wide receiver to crack the top five, and more specifically, the top 10, is none other than Flash 80 himself — Jerry Rice. While many wide receivers can boast some ridiculous stats, Rice’s Week 6 performance of the 1990 season was beyond absurd.
During a game against the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers wideout hauled in 5 TDs for 255 yards on 10 receptions. It set the record for most fantasy points in a game for a wide receiver by a long shot — only Tyreek Hill’s 44.9-point performance in 2020 has come close since.
The only major downfall of Rice’s achievement is that fantasy football was still in its infancy. If you were playing in 1990, maybe your next goal should be mastering a superflex league.
Let’s call it another oldie but a goodie — Corey Dillon’s 51.6-point game for the Bengals against the not-so-awesomely named Tennessee Oilers in 1997. During the game, Dillon tore up the Oilers’ defense for 246 rushing yards, 4 TDs, and 30 receiving yards. Although the Bengals were already eliminated from the playoffs, it showed what Dillon could do as one of the elite running backs of the late 1990s.
Beyond these five outstanding performances, several other players have cracked the top 10 for most fantasy points in a game in amazing fashion. Maybe unsurprisingly, they’re all RBs, making the final tally of nine RBs and one WR. If that’s not a sign of who to start or put in your flex spot — hint, hint — maybe you need to choose a different fantasy sport. Rounding out the top 10 are:
Maybe you didn’t see your favorite player or top pick in your fantasy football auction draft listed above. But then again, it’s not exactly easy to crack the top five for the most fantasy points in a game. So in case you were still curious, here are the most fantasy points in a game by positions not listed above.
Following a prison sentence for a dogfighting ring, Michael Vick got new life when he was offered a contract by the Philadelphia Eagles — and he made it count with both his arm and his legs. In a 59-28 win over Washington, Vick tallied 49.32 fantasy points, courtesy of:
Few other QBs made such an impact and transformed the NFL game into a scrambler’s heaven like Vick — and few probably will.
The tight end position is another favorite of most fantasy football players. In modern times, they’ve become more of a receiving position and less of a blocker, offering even more opportunities to score points.
That said, the record for the most fantasy points in a game by a tight end is held by Shannon Sharpe when he put up 33.4 points for the Broncos against the Chiefs. During the game, he grabbed 12 passes for 214 yards and 2 TDs.
Quick Note: Three TEs put up more than 33.4 points, but all were in 1985 or before, so we nixed them from the list. This list includes:
Kickers are in the nice-to-have pile, but few put together a massive punch in the fantasy ranks — unless you had Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas on your squad in Week 7 of the 2007 NFL season.
In a game against the Houston Texans, Bironas was a perfect 8-for-8 on field goals to set an NFL record and 2-for-2 on extra points to put together a 28-point fantasy performance:
If you’re in a league that uses the D/ST, you might be astounded to know what team holds the record for D/ST points. Nope, it’s not the legendary 80s Chicago Bears, the Steelers, Patriots, Cowboys, Seahawks, Ravens, or any other team that’s had an insurmountable defense in recent memory.
It’s actually the 1989 Cleveland Browns. Yep, that year, the Browns made it all the way to the AFC championship game — something that seems like a long shot now. However, they hold the record for the most D/ST fantasy points in a game.
On September 10 of that year, the Browns’ defense dominated a solid New York Giants team, recording two safeties, three defensive TDs, and six fumble recoveries. Talk about one heck of a defensive game.
Although standard scoring has been the measuring stick so far, we’ll appease the hardcore PPR fans by discussing which player tallied the most fantasy points in a game.
In a typical PPR league, the No. 4 Jerry Rice performance would’ve tallied 65.5 points, making it the single greatest fantasy football performance in the history of the game. Aside from that, it’s the astounding Jamaal Charles, who earned 59.5 PPR points in a game with 195 receiving yards and 4 TDs out of the running back position.
With the stats listed above, you can see that just about any player can destroy their opponent from week to week. The only problem as a fantasy player is choosing the right personnel each and every Sunday.
You have your stalwarts and your superstars, but beyond that, choosing who to sit and who to start isn’t always as simple as it sounds. That’s when you need a little coaching and help from Wise Guys Edge.
Using the information from Las Vegas sportsbooks, we boast easy comparisons, statistics, and everything else you need to find that elusive 40-point phenom. Thanks to Wise Guys Edge, when someone asks you who has the most fantasy points in a week, you can smugly, unequivocally, and simply say, “Me.”