The biggest outlier performances the NFL: Nick Foles, Jonas Gray, and Doug Martin headline the list


We’ve spent the last few days looking at the greatest players in Fantasy history, focusing Monday on the best seasons ever, and Tuesday on the best careers at each position. And we all have fond memories of the likes of Ladainian Tomlinson, Randy Moss and Tony Gonzalez on our Fantasy football teams.

But superstars playing like superstars is expected. You build your team around them for a reason, but they aren’t the reason you win a Fantasy championship. No, the players who come out of nowhere to put you over the top are.

We’re focusing on those players on Wednesday’s episode of the Fantasy Football Today podcast and live show on CBS Sports HQ — the biggest breakouts and one-year wonders in history, plus the biggest outlier performances of all time.

No doubt, you remember many of these games: Doug Martin‘s breakout showing as a rookie in 2012; Nick Foles‘ seven-touchdown game in 2013; Jonas Gray‘s four-touchdown performance against the Colts in 2014. Those games stay with Fantasy players forever, especially if you happened to have them in your lineup when they went boom.

We’re remembering those three games, as well as 13 of the other biggest outlier performances here. Let’s take a trip down memory lane:

Biggest QB outlier games

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams

Before he was catching touchdowns in the Super Bowl, Nick Foles put up one of the biggest games in Fantasy history. 
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

Nick Foles — Week 9 2013 PHI vs. OAK: 406 yards, 7 TD, 59.24 FPTs (2nd-most by a QB since 1997)

The game that seemed to confirm Chip Kelly’s offensive genius has some competition for the most memorable game of Foles’ career — catching a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl win is pretty hard to top — but it’s the one Fantasy players remember. 

Mitchell Trubisky – Week 4 2018 CHI vs. TAM: 354 yards, 6 TD, 53 RUSH yards

This wasn’t even two years ago, believe it or not. Trubisky had a stretch as a dominant Fantasy quarterback in 2018, but otherwise, his career has been a massive disappointment. 

Matt Flynn – Week 17 2011 GB vs. DET: 480 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT

This game represents 35.3% of Flynn’s career touchdown total. He did have another four-touchdown game in 2013, but nothing even close to what he did in this shootout win over Matthew Stafford in Week 17. Flynn parlayed this game into a contract with the Seahawks that paid him $10 million guaranteed, or more than $1 million per pass he threw for them.

Biggest RB outlier games

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Doug Martin was a headache for Fantasy players for a long time, but he was pure gold in his huge rookie season. 

Doug Martin – Week 9 2012 TB @ OAK: 251 yards, 4 TD, 4 REC, 21 yards, 55.2 FPTs  (8th most)

Who can forget this one? Martin had two huge seasons, and had his share of big games, including another 200-yard performance in 2015. But this stands as one of the great running back performances of this era, but this is his highest-scoring game by nearly 20 Fantasy points. 

Mike Anderson – Week 14 2000 DEN @ NO: 251 yards, 4 TD, 1 REC, 5 yards, 50.6 FPTs

Anderson led countless Fantasy players to the championship game with his performance down the stretch in 2000, and this was merely the highest point during an epic run that saw him total eight touchdowns and 577 rushing yards from Week 13-15. But his Week 14 stands alone, as he never scored 35.0 Fantasy points in another game. Unfortunately for those of you who rode him in 2000, he might’ve cost you a title with his 8.8 Fantasy-point effort in Week 16. 

Jahvid Best – Week 2 2010 DET vs. PHI: 78 yards, 2 TD, 9 REC, 154 yards, 1 TD, 50.2 FPTs

Some of you may not remember, but Jahvid Best was special. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry in college and put up this massive performance in just his second NFL game. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to just 22 games in his NFL career, though he would go on to run for Saint Lucia at the 2016 Olympic Games. 

Ronnie Brown + Ricky Williams – Week 3 2008 @ NE: Brown: 113 yards, 4 TD, 19-yard TD pass, 1 REC, 9 yards; Williams: 98 yards, 2 REC, 21 yards; Combined for 57.96 FPTs

This one is a bit of a cheat, but I had to get it on here — it’s not an exaggeration to say this game changed the NFL. This is the Wildcat Game, the day the Dolphins absolutely embarrassed the Patriots by breaking out the double-RB package that would become their widely copied signature. It wasn’t a true read-option offense, but it was the precursor to the option-heavy offenses we see dominating the NFL these days. As Ricky Williams said: “There is an invisible wall between college football and the NFL. There may be some good reasons, but it seems like a lot of it is just tradition and habit. We exploited that.”

Jonas Gray Week 11 2014 NE @ IND: 37 CAR, 201 yards, 4 TD (44.1 FPTs)

This might have been Bill Belichick at his most Belichickian. Starting just his second game of the season, Gray dominated the Colts on Sunday Night Football, and then didn’t play a snap the following week after being late to the team’s facility prior the Friday before the game. Gray would rush for one more touchdown in his career, making this the true biggest outlier in Fantasy history.

Biggest WR outlier games

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans

Will Fuller dominated the Falcons in 2019.
Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports

Will Fuller – Week 5 2019 HOU vs. ATL: 14 REC, 217 yards, 3 TD (53.7 FPTs, 3rd-most)

When Fuller hits, he hits big, and never bigger than this one last season. What’s most surprising about this one is that Fuller only had one touchdown of more than 35 yards. This was just a constant drumbeat of dominance, as he caught 14 of 16 passes thrown his way. Let’s hope he can stay healthy and show more of that with DeAndre Hopkins gone from Houston this season. 

Drew Bennett – Week 14 2004 TEN vs. KC: 12 REC, 233 yards, 3 TD (53.3 FPTs, 4th-most)

Bennett was actually coming off a three-touchdown game coming into Week 14, and he followed it up with a two-score game, making this arguably the best three-week stretch by a WR in Fantasy history. Those were big games, but neither came close to this one. However, like Mike Anderson, Bennett likely cost countless players a championship, as he followed up that three-game stretch where he averaged 42.6 Fantasy points by dropping 4.6 points in Week 16. Agonizing. 

Kevin Curtis – Week 3 2007 PHI vs. DET: 11 REC, 221 yards, 3 TD (51.1 FPTs, 8th-most)

Really, this wasn’t even an outlier game — it was an outlier half-quarter. Curtis caught a 68-yard touchdown with 3:04 left on the clock in the first quarter, then caught three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown on the very next drive, ending with 12:51 left in the second quarter; the Lions went three-and-out on the next series, and Donovan McNabb hit Curtis on the first play of the next drive for a 43-yard touchdown, giving him five catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns in seven minutes, 32 seconds. Unbelievable. 

Qadry Ismail – Week 14 1999 BAL @ PIT: 6 REC, 258 yards, 3 TD (49.8 FPTs)

Like Curtis, this was just one unbelievable stretch by Ismail, who had touchdowns of 54, 59 and 76 yards in the third quarter against the Steelers. Ismail, Chris Johnson and Randy Moss are the only players since the merger to have three touchdowns of at least 50 yards in one game, and the only to do it in one quarter.  

Chris Chambers – Week 13 2005 MIA vs. BUF: 15 REC, 238 yards, 1 TD (44.8 FPTs)

Who can forget the Chris Chambers-Gus Frerotte connection? Chambers closed the 2005 season with 620 yards and six touchdowns in the final five games, though none was bigger than Chambers’ demolition of the Bills. There has only been one game with more targets to a wide receiver since the stat began being recorded in 1992 than the 26 Chambers received in this game.

Biggest TE outlier games

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We’re still waiting for Blake Jarwin to follow up his huge 2018 performance. 

Blake Jarwin – Week 17 2018 DAL @ NYG: 7 REC, 119 yards, 3 TD (36.9 FPTs)

Even though this was just two seasons ago, I had completely forgotten about this game. The Cowboys signed Jason Witten in the aftermath of this game, putting a big, slow roadblock in the way of Jarwin’s hoped-for breakout, but maybe it is coming in 2020 instead.

Alge Crumpler – Week 7 2006 ATL vs. PIT: 6 REC, 117 yards, 3 TD (35.7 FPTs)

Crumpler was a fixture of the mid-2000s Falcons, but nothing else he did came close to this game. This was one of just four games with 100-plus yards or multiple touchdowns in his career, and his only 30-point game.  

Eric Johnson – Week 5 2004 SF vs. ARI: 13 REC, 162 YD, 1 TD (35.2 FPTs)

Johnson had exactly two 100-yard games in his career, and they came in consecutive weeks in 2004. He followed up a 10-catch, 113-yard game with this career-best performance. He had just four career games with 20-plus Fantasy points. 





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