The role of QBs in fantasy football is always controversial, but with three of the top four season performances of all time coming in the last five years, we might be witnessing a golden age. It is clear that when a QB has a season worthy of making this list, fantasy managers have one less thing to worry about on a weekly basis and can focus their energy elsewhere. Let’s examine the top 10 fantasy performances of all time at the QB position.
Top QB fantasy football seasons of all-time
As you read down this list, it will become clear that there is a certain element of recency bias. One reason for that is the development of the game itself and both the role and protection of the position. The second element is that all the performances here, understandably, come from either 16- or 17-game seasons, as more games naturally lead to a greater number of points.
One way to negate this would be to look at fantasy points per game. However, discussions around fantasy points tend to focus on overall points. Additionally, the per-game element can benefit players who play a handful of games and not give a true view of their overall performance relative to the league. Saying that, the list of the top 10 QB fantasy performance of all time on a per-game basis can be found at the bottom of this article.
10) Aaron Rodgers | 382.3 fantasy points
Rodgers’ 2020 MVP performance sees him take the 10th spot on our list. During that season, Rodgers threw for 4,299 yards but led the league with 48 touchdowns at an incredible rate of 9.1%. He supplemented those passing numbers with three rushing touchdowns and 149 rushing yards. That rushing performance is the difference between Rodgers being 10th or 28th on this list.
9) Cam Newton | 389.1 fantasy points
Newton’s 2015 MVP-winning season seems like a long time ago, given his recent struggles. However, the first overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft impressed with both his arms and legs during the 2015 campaign. The 35 passing touchdowns and 3,837 passing yards may not look all that impressive, but they are only part of the picture.
The dual-threat QB added 10 rushing touchdowns and 636 rushing yards during the season. That saw him add more than 120 fantasy points to his total. Those rushing stats elevate Newton from what would have been a mediocre season from a fantasy perspective to one worthy of being mentioned among the top fantasy performances of all time by a QB.
8) Tom Brady | 390 fantasy points
Given he has seven Super Bowl rings, it is somewhat surprising that Brady is only on this list once and actually in a season in which his team did not win the big game. In fact, not a single season in the top 10 resulted in the QB involved leading their team to a Super Bowl that year!
Brady’s 2007 season was record-breaking as he became the first QB to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season. He also led the league in passing yards with 4,806 while, throwing just eight interceptions. However, Brady’s lack of rushing prowess capped his ceiling with just 98 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
7) Drew Brees | 393.6 fantasy points
Drew Brees’ 2011 season narrowly missed out on topping this list at the time as he fell just under four points short of Rodgers’ mark from the same season. In 16 games, Brees threw for 46 touchdowns and 5,476 yards, both of which led the league. Despite those passing numbers, Brees’ lack of athleticism hurt his fantasy total with just 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
6) Josh Allen | 395.1 fantasy points
The only player other than Rodgers to appear on the list of top fantasy football performances by a QB in a season twice is Allen. After a mixed first two years, Allen’s development took a huge jump in 2020. Having thrown for 20 touchdowns and 3,089 yards in 2019, he took those numbers to 37 touchdowns and 4,544 yards in 2020.
Allen’s fantasy value is also boosted by his ability to run the ball, and especially his skill near the goal line. Allen had 421 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in 2020. He fell just one rushing TD short of having back-to-back 400-fantasy-point performances.
5) Aaron Rodgers | 397.4 fantasy points
It is another MVP-winning season that sits fifth on this list. In 2011, Rodgers led the Packers to a 14-1 record in his 15 games. He threw 45 touchdown passes and 4,643 yards during the campaign. Had he played in Week 17, Rodgers could have become the first QB to break the 400-fantasy-point barrier. Yet, this number reflects what most fantasy managers would have got from Rodgers in a season, with most leagues finishing in Week 16.
4) Josh Allen | 402.6 fantasy points
There has never been a more dominant two-year stretch of fantasy point-scoring than Allen has posted in 2020 and 2021. Interestingly, this is the only performance in our top fantasy performances of all time by QBs to come in a 17-game season. On a per-game basis, Allen’s 2020 season was actually more impressive.
However, that does not diminish what he did in 2021. As a passer, Allen continued to impress with 4,407 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also added a career-best 763 rushing yards, accompanied by six rushing touchdowns.
3) Peyton Manning | 410 fantasy points
Another name that it is surprising to see on this list just once is Peyton Manning. However, like Brady and Brees, his lack of mobility hurts his upside from a fantasy-scoring perspective. Despite spending 13 years in Indianapolis, it was his second season in Denver that has seen Manning takes third place on this list. At the time of his performance in 2013, Manning stood atop this list and held onto the position for six years.
During that 2013 season, Manning led the league in both passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55). He added just 2.9 fantasy points in total with his legs, having rushed for one touchdown but -31 yards. He became the first QB to score more than 400 fantasy points in a season.
2) Lamar Jackson | 415.7 fantasy points
Lamar Jackson’s appearance on this list of the top QB fantasy football performances of all time has a slightly different look to it. More than 120 (120.6) of Jackson’s fantasy points came simply from his rushing yardage, and over 160 of those points (162.6) came from his legs. However, Jackson was impressive with his arm as well. He threw for a league-leading 36 touchdowns and supplemented that with 3,127 yards as he won the MVP award in his second year in the NFL.
1) Patrick Mahomes | 417.1 fantasy points
Prior to Jackson winning the MVP in his second year, Mahomes achieved the same success. He lit up the NFL thanks to a dominant performance with his arm. Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns with 5,097 passing yards. While his two rushing touchdowns and 272 rushing yards may not seem like a lot, those 39.2 fantasy points were enough to take him over the 400-point threshold and to the top of our list.
Top QB fantasy football seasons on a per-game basis of all time
*minimum 10 games played — Dak Prescott’s 2020 season saw him play five games and average 26.92 fantasy points per game (PPG).
10) Tom Brady, NE | 24.38 PPG (2007)
9) Drew Brees, NO | 24.60 PPG (2011)
8) Josh Allen, BUF | 24.69 PPG (2020)
7) George Blanda, HOU | 24.70 PPG (1961)
6) Patrick Mahomes, KC | 24.96 PPG (2020)
5) Peyton Manning, DEN | 25.63 PPG (2013)
4) Michael Vick, PHI | 25.86 PPG (2010)
3) Patrick Mahomes, KC | 26.07 PPG (2018)
2) Aaron Rodgers, GB | 26.49 PPG (2011)
1) Lamar Jackson, BAL| 27.71 PPG (2019)