This is the latest installment in my attempt to document the greatest fantasy football players from each of the past 20 seasons. I hope to put together a collection of articles that can serve as a history book of fantasy football from 1989 through this year.
Using a modern day point-per-reception scoring system, I have converted each year's statistical leaders into fantasy points and identified the top performers for each season.
So far, we've found out that Thurman Thomas and Jerry Rice were fantasy football gods year in and year out. Both players have been on the All-Fantasy Team each of the first four years, and have consistently ranked in the top two of their respective positions.
There have also been players long forgotten like Mark Carrier, Barry Foster, and Don Majikowski who had their one fantasy season in the sun. These guys were flashes in the pan that burned owners who chose them much too high in the following year's draft.
The All-Fantasy Teams consist of a quarterback, two running backs, and three WR/TE's. A rover, who is the highest scoring remaining RB, WR, or TE, will also be included as the best flex option.
And just for the sake of saying I did a thorough job, I've included kickers as well.
In 1993 we find that the same select group of players who have been the cream of the fantasy crop for years past is dominating fantasy football. The early ‘90's had some surprises here and there, but the really great fantasy studs seemed to be the same guys every season.
Then again, these were some really great players.
The NFL's all time leading receiver, rusher, and passer were all in the prime of their careers in 1993. All three of these players would end up being the NFL's career touchdown leader at their respective positions as well.
This was a great time to be playing fantasy football, and for those who were, this era has to bring back some great memories. Here are the best of the best, from the golden age of fantasy football.
Here is the 1993 All-Fantasy Team.
Steve Young - SF - 404.0 points
In a move that put the San Francisco 49ers on the very top of my most hated list, Steve Young took the reigns from Joe Montana in 1993. The move definitely worked for fantasy owners who chose Young, but it backfired on a San Francisco team that eventually lost to Dallas in the NFC Championship.
Despite falling short of the Super Bowl, Steve Young had a spectacular statistical season in 1993. Young passed for 4,023 yards and ran for 415 more. The Niners' new quarterback also combined for 33 touchdowns in the air and on the ground.
John Elway (DEN) - 326.5 points; Warren Moon (HOU) - 285.9 points
Emmitt Smith - DAL - 307.0 points
Emmitt hit the ground running and never looked back as a fantasy football and NFL star. In only his fourth season, this is Emmitt's third year as an All-Fantasy performer. He was the most dominant fantasy player in 1992, and followed up with another great performance in '93.
In the season leading up to the Cowboys' second straight Super Bowl, Emmitt Smith had 1,486 yards rushing and nine touchdowns on the ground. Smith also snagged 57 passes for 414 yards receiving and another TD.
The most impressive aspect of Emmitt Smith being the NFL's top fantasy back in '93 was the fact that this was the year of Emmitt's hold out. Without any training camp, and despite missing the first two games of the year, Emmitt finished more than 50 fantasy points ahead of the second best back in the NFL.
Thurman Thomas - BUF - 254.2 points
The 1993 season marks the fifth straight that Thurman Thomas has made the NFL All-Fantasy team. That is five consecutive years of being one of the top two or three fantasy running backs in the game.
Although Thurman doesn't get the historical credit of a Barry Sanders, Thurman was much more valuable to fantasy owners.
In 1993 Thurman had yet another stellar fantasy season. He ended the year with 1,315 yards and nine touchdowns running, and caught 48 passes for 387 yards as well.
Ricky Watters (SF) - 250.5 points; Jerome Bettis (STL) - 235.3 points
Jerry Rice - SF - 351.2 points
Drafting the top wide receiver in fantasy drafts was very easy for a long time from the ‘80's to late ‘90's. During that period, if Jerry Rice wasn't the best fantasy receiver in the league, it was because he was merely the second best fantasy receiver in the league.
In 1993 Jerry Rice just kept chugging along with another 98 catches for 1,503 yards and 15 touchdowns. Rice also added 69 yards and another score on the ground to give him 16 total TD's.
Sterling Sharpe - GB - 306.2 points
It's too bad that Sterling Sharpe's career had to end so prematurely. It would have been interesting to see how many yards and touchdowns he could have racked up with Brett Favre as his quarterback for a longer period of time.
Sterling made his third All-Fantasy Team in 1993 by grabbing a league leading 112 catches for 1,274 yards and 11 scores. Sharpe was the best receiver not named Rice for most of the early years of fantasy football.
Andre Rison - ATL - 300.2 points
Looking back, most people only associate the run-and-shoot offense with the Houston Oilers. But other teams such as the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons also used this fantasy friendly scheme.
Andre Rison's fantasy numbers may have benefited more from the run-and-shoot than any other player in the NFL. The '93 season marked the third time that Rison was an All-Fantasy receiver in four years.
In 1993, Andre Rison caught 86 passes for 1,242 yards and a career high 15 touchdowns.
Cris Carter - MIN - 247.1 points
Michael Irvin - DAL - 263.6 points
This is the first season that the rover on the All-Fantasy team has been a wideout and not a running back. The fantasy numbers at the running back position were uncharacteristically low throughout the league, and that helped Michael Irvin to be selected to his second All-Fantasy Team in three years.
Michael Irvin had one of his strongest fantasy seasons in 1993 as he helped the Cowboys to back-to-back titles. The playmaker finished the regular season with 88 receptions for 1,330 yards and seven touchdowns.
Marcus Allen RB - (KC) - 224.2 points
Jeff Jaeger - LAR - 146 points
The Los Angeles Raiders had the best fantasy kicker in the NFL in 1993. Jeff Jaeger hit four field goals from beyond 50 yards, and had six more from 40 to 49 yards. Jaeger also added 25 more three pointers from less than 40 yards, and he knocked in 27 extra points.
1993 FANTASY FOOTBALL MVP:
Steve Young - As much as it kills me to say it, Steve Young had a great season in an impossible situation. He was replacing a legend who was renown as one of the greatest of all time, and who arguably had something left to contribute when he was traded.
Young's 400-plus point fantasy season in a down statistical year makes him hands down the 1993 NFL Fantasy MVP.