The Five: Best fantasy football picks since 1950

Aug 20, 2013, 12:00 PM | Updated: 12:00 pm

Football season is here!

And the weeks leading up to football season are littered with fantasy football drafts. From Anchorage, Alaska to Zion, Illinois, football fans are preparing their draft boards for another season of low-wage gambling and artificial interest in sport.

Hey, I’m not judging. Fantasy football is great. I haven’t played in a few years, but I still recall taking Jerry Rice with my first ever fantasy football draft pick in 1990. I won.

In fact, 1990 is about as far as fantasy football goes back. Imagine the frenzy of trying to get the top pick to select Jim Brown in the early ’60s, or the clamor to land Bradbury Robinson in 1906 since he was the only guy in football throwing a forward pass.

Well, I’m not going to attempt to go back to 1906 for this week’s “The Five,” but I do intend to mix history with the modern pastime known as fantasy football.

These would have been the greatest fantasy football picks of all-time (or since 1950), not because they were the best overall statistical seasons we’ve seen but because they were the greatest individual seasons compared to that given year’s competition.

Quarterback: The 1986 season of Dan MarinoKen O'Brien of the Jets threw for 25 touchdowns in '86, the second-highest total in the league. Marino threw 44 touchdown passes that year, 56 percent more than the next highest total! And how about 4,736 passing yards? That's a 635 over second best. Today's quarterbacks match Marino's ridiculous numbers from the mid-'80s, but no one has ever matched the dominance he showed early in his career.(AP Photo) Second Running Back: The 1963 season of Jim Brown
Brown finished with nearly 1,000 more rushing yards than any other player in the NFL in '63. 1,000! In just 14 games, he rushed for 1,863 yards, eclipsed 2,100 yards from scrimmage and found the end zone a league-high 15 times. If you didn't have Jim Brown on your fantasy team from 1958 to 1965, you simply weren't winning the league.
(AP Photo) First Running Back: The 1995 season of Emmit Smith
The All-time leading rusher had the best season of his career in 95. His 25 touchdowns were seven better than anyone else in the league. He also finished first in rushing yards with 1773 (273 more than the next guy) and total yards from scrimmage with 2148 (250 yards better than everyone else).(AP Photo) Wide Receivers: The 1987 season of Jerry Rice and the 1951 season of Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch 
Due to the players' strike and scab replacement football, Rice only played 12 games in 1987, but he scored 23 touchdowns, 12 more than any other player in the league. And if you think that's impressive, Hirsch enjoyed the most dominant season by a receiver in history, when in '51 he led the Rams and the NFL with 17 touchdowns (five more than anyone else) and 1,495 receiving yards, 669 more yards than the league's next highest total.(AP Photos) Tight End: The 1980 season of San Diego Charger Kellen Winslow
Winslow is given credit for reinventing the tight end position. The Thomas Edison of big physical receivers began getting his lab results in 1980. He caught 89 passes that season to lead the NFL and his 1290 yards more than doubled those of Atlanta's Junior Miller, who was named Second-Team All-NFL in '80.(AP Photo)

Chuck Powell

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The Five: Best fantasy football picks since 1950