NFL All-Decade Series: Top 10 Running Back Performances

NFL All-Decade Series: Top 10 Running Back Performances

In the NFL All-Decade series, we're revisiting and recapping the top fantasy performances of the decade. Today, we'll indulge in a look back at the most explosive backfield performances since 2010. Like most skill-position recaps, reminiscing over running back showcases is a treat: for those who've watched the games in question, recapping these stat lines brings back enough memories of dominant runs or explosive agility to have them almost leap off the page.

For our RB series, fantasy points are calculated based on:

  • 0.5 points per reception
  • 1 point per 10 receiving/rushing yards (0.1 point per yard)
  • 6 points per receiving/rushing TD
  • 2 points per two-point conversion scored
  • -2 points per fumble lost
  • Tiebreakers based on total yards

10) Le'Veon Bell: 44.5 fantasy points - Steelers 42 @ Bengals 21 (Week 14 - 2014)

26 carries, 185 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD

Bell's NFL career got off to a somewhat bumpy start, but his sharp sophomore rebound left little doubts to his talent. Week 14 marked the first time in his career that he would score both a rushing and receiving touchdown, a trend which he'd take a liking to going forward.

9) Darren McFadden: 44.6 fantasy points - Raiders 59 @ Broncos 14 (Week 7 - 2010)

16 carries, 165 yards, 3 TDs; 2 catches, 31 yards, 1 TD

Coming off a four-game absence after knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus isn't usually a recipe for success. For McFadden, having a team that managed to put up 59 points against a division rival helped those prospects a fair amount. He became just the fourth skill-position Raider of all time to score four times in a single contest.

8) Todd Gurley: 44.6 fantasy points - Rams 27 @ Titans 23 (Week 16 - 2017)

22 carries, 118 yards; 10 catches, 158 yards, 2 TDs

On Dec. 24, 2017, Christmas came early for fantasy managers with Todd Gurley on the roster. His historic Week 16 showing, in which he became the third player in NFL history to record 100 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in the same game, secured many a championship trophy.

7) Christian McCaffrey: 44.7 fantasy points - Panthers 34 vs. Jaguars 27 (Week 5 - 2019)

19 carries, 176 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD

A statement game if there ever was one. With Cam Newton out, the Panthers turned to McCaffrey as the engine of the offense, and he did more than step up – he made history. The 23-year-old's 84-yard touchdown to open the second half was the longest run in team history. McCaffrey's remarkable durability and consistency gives him an outside shot at joining the 1,000/1,000 club in 2019, though he's already solidified himself as a transcendent talent.

6) Aaron Jones: 45.7 fantasy points - Packers 34 @ Cowboys 24 (Week 5 - 2019)

19 carries, 107 yards, 4 TDs; 7 catches, 75 yards

Remember when Aaron Jones dominated the Cowboys in Week 5 and single-handedly won his owners' fantasy weeks, provided they weren't facing Will Fuller? (See: our upcoming top 10 WR performances list.) Given that it happened only a few months ago, I'd wager it remains in recent memory. Big play after big play led the way for Jones to tie the franchise record of four rushing touchdowns in a game, and he assisted in keeping Green Bay's undefeated record in Dallas intact.

5) Jahvid Best: 45.7 fantasy points - Lions 32 vs. Eagles 35 (Week 2 - 2010)

17 carries, 78 yards, 2 TDs; 9 catches, 154 yards, 1 TD

Much of Best's rookie season was spent dinged up due to a turf toe injury, but he did manage a career-best performance Week 2, capped by a 75-yard reception for a score. The No. 30 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, Best's briefly showcased upside will always raise the question of "what could have been" among Lions fans.

4) Derrick Henry: 47.8 fantasy points - Titans 30 vs. Jaguars 9 (Week 14 - 2018)

17 carries, 238 yards, 4 TDs

The only zero-catch performance on our list. Henry has always been one to make his mark via broken tackles and brute force rather than receiving utility, and his tremendous showing on Thursday Night Football set Tennessee's franchise record for rushing yards in a single game. I think it would be fair to call his 99-yard TD dash, in which he shredded three defenders with stiff arms, the definitive run of Henry's career to date.

3) Le'Veon Bell: 49.8 fantasy points - Steelers 27 @ Bills 20 (Week 14 - 2016)

38 carries, 236 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 62 yards

On a day that Big Ben threw four INTs, Bell didn't just carry the Steelers to victory – he was the team's entire offense. Bad weather seemed to only accentuate the Pro Bowler's trademark patience and balance as he handled a career-high 38 carries. Bell broke Pittsburgh's franchise record for rushing yards in one contest, capping the day with a highlight-reel hurdle to put the Bills away.

2) Doug Martin: 53.2 fantasy points - Buccaneers 42 @ Raiders 32 (Week 9 - 2012)

25 carries, 251 yards, 4 TDs; 4 catches, 21 yards

Doug Martin's rookie season already had convinced many a dynasty manager to pay up, and he turned it up to another level against Oakland in Week 9. Touchdown runs of 45, 67 and 71 yards made him the first player in NFL history to rush for three scores of 45-plus yards in the same game. Perhaps most impressively, he did that damage after a first half in which he'd been constrained to a mere 31 yards.

1) Jamaal Charles: 55.5 fantasy points - Chiefs 56 @ Raiders 31 (Week 15 - 2013)

8 carries, 20 yards, 1 TD; 8 catches, 195 yards, 4 TDs

Nobody other than the man who epitomized 'explosiveness' at the running back position could occupy the top seat on this list. Charles' performance was almost an antonym for the one Derrick Henry logged in the No. 3 spot, as he did almost all of his damage through the air using game-breaking speed and elusiveness. His fantasy performance still ranks No. 4 all time at the running back position, trailing only Billy Cannon, Gale Sayers and Clinton Portis.

Honorable Mentions

11) Jonas Gray: 44.1 fantasy points - Patriots 42 @ Colts 20 (Week 11 - 2014)

37 carries, 201 yards, 4 TDs

12) Arian Foster: 43.9 fantasy points - Texans 41 @ Titans 7 (Week 7 - 2011)

25 carries, 115 yards, 2 TDs; 5 catches, 119 yards, 1 TD

13) Todd Gurley: 43.5 fantasy points - Rams 42 @ Seahawks 7 (Week 15 - 2017)

21 carries, 152 yards, 3 TDs; 3 catches, 28 yards, 1 TD

14) Kareem Hunt: 43.1 fantasy points - Chiefs 42 @ Patriots 27 (Week 1 - 2017)

17 carries, 148 yards, 1 TD; 5 catches, 98 yards, 2 TDs, 1 fumble lost

15) David Johnson: 42.9 fantasy points - Cardinals 40 @ Eagles 17 (Week 15 - 2015)

29 carries, 187 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 42 yards

16) Arian Foster: 42.3 fantasy points - Texans 34 vs. Colts 24 (Week 1 - 2010)

33 carries, 231 yards, 3 TDs; 1 catch, 7 yards

17) Christian McCaffrey: 42.3 fantasy points - Panthers 27 vs. Seahawks 30 (Week 12 - 2018)

17 carries, 125 yards, 1 TD; 11 catches, 112 yards, 1 TD

18) Saquon Barkley: 41.9 fantasy points - Giants 41 @ Redskins 35 (Week 16 - 2019)

22 carries, 189 yards, 1 TD; 4 catches, 90 yards, 1 TD

19) Marshawn Lynch: 40.8 fantasy points - Seahawks 38 vs. Giants 17 (Week 10 - 2014)

21 carries, 140 yards, 4 TDs; 1 catch, 23 yards

20) Maurice Jones-Drew: 40.6 fantasy points - Jaguars 41 vs. Buccaneers 14 (Week 14 - 2011)

27 carries, 85 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 51 yards, 2 TDs

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ilango Villoth
Ilango produces NFL content for Rotowire. Beat writer for the Miami Dolphins.
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