2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the fantasy football league that is most near and dear to my heart. Reflecting over the years brings about a sense of nostalgia, but it also reminds me how much I have forgotten.
Be it time, age, or the endless steam of information that comes and goes, the memory can become clouded. Seemingly unforgettable names, accomplishments, and statistics have made way for more important information such as where did I leave my car keys.
In these fantasy dog days between the Super Bowl and the upcoming NFL draft, I thought I'd take some time to review the last 20 seasons with a series that highlights the top fantasy performers of that span.
Using a modern day PPR system, I will compile stats and figures in an attempt to identify the All Fantasy Team for each season from 1989 to present.
The scoring system rewards one point per reception, one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving, and a point for every 25 yards passing. All touchdowns are six points. For kickers, all field goals are three points, and an extra point is just that.
The roster will consist of a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, a kicker, and a rover. A rover can be either a WR or a RB, and will be determined by finding the top scorer remaining after two RB's and three WR's have made the team.
Now that we have the parameters set, I give you...
The 1989 NFL All Fantasy Team
Don Majkowski (GB) - 400.5 points
In his first full season as the Packers' starting quarterback, the "Majik Man" did not disappoint. In what was by far his greatest season, Don Majkowski had 4,318 yards passing to go with 27 touchdowns in the air.
What helped Majkowski to surpass the likes of Jim Everett and Randall Cunningham for the top fantasy spot was the fact that he had another five touchdowns and 358 yards on the ground.
Jim Everett (LA) - 354.9 points, Randall Cunningham (PHI) - 348.1 points.
1. Dalton Hilliard (NO) - 325.6 points
I wouldn't have guessed this one in a million years. Dalton Hilliard was a homegrown Louisiana talent who spent his college years at LSU. Hilliard had an eight year career that was plagued by injuries, but in 1989, he put everything together for a great fantasy run and his only Pro Bowl.
In '89 Hilliard rushed for 1,262 yards to go with 11 touchdowns on the ground. A dual-threat, he had career highs in catches (52), receiving yards (514), and touchdown catches (five).
2. Thurman Thomas (BUF) - 323.3 points
For as much as he and his teammates have been ridiculed throughout the years for not winning the Super Bowl, I'd be willing to bet that Thurman Thomas has won more than his fair share of fantasy championships. I myself can attest to a couple.
For at least eight of his 13 years as an NFL player, Thurman Thomas was a fantasy STUD. Thurman's stretch of fantasy greatness from 1989 to 1994 is simply amazing.
That run began with this season when Thomas had 1,244 yards rushing and 60 catches for 669 yards. He also had a total of 12 touchdowns.
Greg Bell (LA Rams) - 307.7 points, Barry Sanders (DET) - 283.2 points *rookie*
1. Jerry Rice (SF) - 335.6 points
Saying Jerry Rice is the greatest of all time has almost become a cliche, but the truth is the truth. This was just another season in what was the greatest career for any wide receiver period.
In 1989, Joe Montana found Rice 82 times for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns. Jerry also added 33 rushing yards that year.
2. Sterling Sharpe (GB) - 306.8 points
Although he truly hit his stride when Favre took the helm in 1992, Sterling Sharpe had established himself as an elite receiver well before that. In a career that was tragically cut short by injury, Sharpe shined bright and burned out fast.
1989 was Sterling's best non-Favre season with 90 catches, 1,423 yards, and 12 touchdowns. It was his first of five Pro Bowl seasons in his seven years in Green Bay.
3. Mark Carrier (TB) - 282.2 points
Mark Carrier was a first round pick of the Yuckaneers in 1987. He played in the NFL for 12 seasons with Tampa, Cleveland, and Carolina. His one and only Pro Bowl came in 1989 when he uncharacteristically caught 86 passes for 1,422 yards and nine touchdowns. A fantasy anomaly, but an All Fantasy performance nonetheless.
Andre Reed (BUF) - 276.3, Anthony Miller (SD) - 262.3
Neal Anderson RB (CHI) - 310.9 points
Perhaps one of the NFL's most seamless transitions from fullback to halfback occurred when Neal Anderson switched positions to take the place of the great Walter Payton. The pressure of replacing a legend turned Anderson into a diamond.
In his first four seasons carrying the load, Neal Anderson went to four straight Pro Bowls. In 1989 he had his best fantasy performance by gaining 1,275 yards rushing, and scoring 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Anderson also caught 50 balls for another 434 yards receiving.
Mike Cofer (SF) - 138 points
There's not much I can say about a kicker. They just kick footballs. Mike Cofer was 29/36 on field goal attempts, and made 51 extra points in the 49ers high scoring offense of 1989.
He enjoyed eight seasons as an NFL kicker. Six of them were spent in San Fransisco. Not a bad gig.
RB- John L. Williams played fullback for Seattle, and averaged 14.6 fantasy points per week. He only rushed for 499 yards, but he caught 76 passes for 657 yards and six touchdowns. Not bad for a fullback.
WR- The Washington Redskins had a vicious three headed monster in Art Monk (86 catches), Ricky Sanders (80 catches), and Gary Clark (79 catches) at the receiver position.
To give out an MVP for the most valuable fantasy player of the 1989 season is tough. There was a lot of competition at each position, and no real stand alone performance.
Based on the fact that he had a larger margin between himself and the rest of his position, I'd have to give it to Don Majkowski.
Besides, he was probably drafted late in most leagues, and a good late round steal is what usually puts a fantasy team over the top.
So here you go, Don "Majik Man" Majkowski, wherever you are. Congratulations on a belated fantasy football award. I'm sure your career is now complete.
Don Majkowski: 1989 FANTASY FOOTBALL MVP
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