Cirque du So Long: Honoring the Fantasy Era of the St. Louis Rams
Torry Holt was placed on injured reserve Sunday. This was, in all likelihood, the easiest way for the Patriots to cut ties with Holt, saving one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history the embarrassment of being released later.
In turn, it appears now that Marshall Faulk, Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kurt Warner, the intregal pieces of the Rams 1999 Super Bowl Championship, are all seemingly done playing football now.
However, their offensive explosion in St. Louis known as “The Greatest Show on Turf” will always be one of the greatest fantasy eras in dynasty leagues across the country.
As dynasty league owners, we find ourselves constantly looking ahead. Let’s take a second to look back and appreciate the group who is widely regarded as the foursome who helped popularize fantasy football.
Kurt Warner, QB
Every hardcore football fan remembers a teary-eyed Dick Vermeil at the podium saying, “We’re going to rally around Kurt Warner, and we’ll play good football.” Boy, did they ever.
Warner’s storybook 1999 season is one of the best in the history of fantasy football. His 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns may just be the most surprising season statistically in NFL and fantasy history. In the three-year span from 1999-2001, Warner threw for 12,612 yards and 98 touchdowns. That's ridiculous, by any standard.
Dynasty league owners are constantly searching for the next great waiver wire pickup. Warner was quite likely the best one in history.
Add in his career numbers with Arizona and he’s an NFL Hall of Fame candidate. He’s squarely in the fantasy Hall of Fame already.
Marshall Faulk, RB
Warner was a huge reason for the Rams' success around the turn of the century, but Faulk deserves a lot of credit as well.
Faulk’s numbers between 1999 and 2001 are just as mind boggling as Warner’s. Faulk ran for 4,122 yards and 31 touchdowns during that span. He also had 2,643 receiving yards and another 22 touchdowns.
There may be no other single player in the history of fantasy football who carried teams like Faulk did. His rushing and receiving ability literally made him a team by himself.
Faulk will always be remembered as a dominant, one-of-a-kind running back.
Torry Holt, WR
Holt came into his own in 2000, when he posted 1,635 yards, and six touchdowns. That year of production began an amazing streak of eight straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Holt was a mainstay in fantasy football from 2000 through 2007. He averaged 94 catches, 1,385 yards, and eight touchdowns per season over that span.
Dynasty league owners became spoiled having such a consistent weapon at wide receiver for such a long span. Many owners are still scrambling to find a replacement No. 1 wide receiver after Holt’s numbers finally started declining.
“Big Game” Holt was big time for fantasy owners in dynasty leagues.
Isaac Bruce, WR
Bruce will always be one of the most underrated performers in the history of fantasy football.
His fantasy career is unique because of his consistency before and after the emergence of Warner in St. Louis.
Bruce actually had his best season statistically in 1995, when he posted an amazing 1,781 yards and 13 touchdowns on 119 catches.
His production during the “Greatest Show” era was dominant as well. He produced 4,817 yards and 34 touchdowns between 1999 and 2002.
While many look back at this fantasy era and focus on Holt, Warner and Faulk, the production of Bruce cannot be forgotten. Bruce was a very solid No. 2 fantasy wide receiver for more than a decade.
The ludicrous numbers put up by the St. Louis Rams in “The Greatest Show on Turf” era helped revolutionize fantasy football and dynasty leagues.
Fans became enamored with the records broken by this offense and started tracking subsequent statistical history a little closer. The result has been a nationwide fantasy football and dynasty league phenomenon.
Veteran fantasy football players in professional dynasty leagues owe a lot to these former Rams. They helped open the door conceptually to the game we love today.
Cirque du so long.
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Article written by Ken Kelly
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