Which RB has scored the most fantasy football points in a single game?

Which RB has scored the most fantasy football points in a single game since the merger, and who makes up the rest of the top 10?

The importance of the running back position for fantasy football has somewhat decreased in the last decade. However, we have still seen two of the top 10 performances in terms of the most fantasy football points by an RB in a single game during that stretch. The RB position sees a mix in decades on this list, dating all the way back to 1973! Let’s examine which RBs sit among the top 10 for the most fantasy points scored in a single game and which score sits atop the list.

Top 10 most fantasy football points scored in a single game by an RB

When setting this list, only games since the merger in 1970 have been considered. While there was fantasy football before this date, the game was very different in the preceding years. Therefore, the merger is the logical place with which to set the baseline for this series.

Scores in this article are based on non-PPR as that was the standard scoring format for the majority of the time. The PPR top 10 can be found as a list at the bottom of the article.

10) Barry Sanders | 49.1 fantasy points

Lions at Vikings | Week 13 | Nov. 24, 1991

A list of the top 10 performances from an RB wouldn’t be quite right if Barry Sanders did not make an appearance. However, the superstar only makes the list with the 10th-most fantasy points scored in a single game by an RB. It was a familiar opponent that Sanders ran through as he faced the division-rival Vikings on this Sunday in November.

Sanders’ first half was relatively quiet from a fantasy perspective. However, he burst into life with three touchdowns in the second half to finish with four on the day. Sanders left the contest with 220 rushing yards on 23 attempts and 31 receiving yards on four receptions.

9) Larry Brown | 49.5 fantasy points

Washington vs. Eagles | Week 14 | Dec. 16, 1973

We now take a dive all the way back to 1973 for the ninth spot on our list. When you look at Larry Brown’s rushing line, you would not think he had all that great of a day. While 150 yards and a touchdown is impressive in NFL terms, it still only relates to 21 fantasy points.

Yet, it was the contribution to the receiving game that really took Brown’s day to another level. The Washington running back may have had just three receptions, but he took all three to the end zone in combination with 105 yards to add a further 28.5 fantasy points to his total.

8) Mike Anderson | 49.6 fantasy points

Broncos at Saints | Week 14 | Dec. 3, 2000

Mike Anderson made an impressive impact in his rookie season in 2000. But it was his Week 14 performance against the Saints that will really stick in the mind of fantasy managers. Anderson took his 37 rushing attempts for 251 yards and found the end zone four times. He added five receiving yards on a single reception for good measure, but most of the damage was done in the run game.

7) Jonathan Taylor | 50.4 fantasy points

Colts at Bills | Week 11 | Nov. 21, 2021

Our most recent appearance on the list of most fantasy points by an RB in a single game came in the 2021 season from Jonathan Taylor. The Colts RB ground the Bills to dust with a five-touchdown day that was largely amassed within three quarters.

Taylor took his 32 rushing attempts for 185 yards and four touchdowns to do the majority of his damage. However, he tipped himself over 50 fantasy points with 19 receiving yards and a touchdown on three receptions. In a season of jaw-dropping performances from Taylor, this was the statement for his fantasy managers.

6) Doug Martin | 51.2 fantasy points

Buccaneers at Raiders | Week 9 | Nov. 11, 2012

The “muscle hamster” is another player who made quite the impression as a rookie. One such performance during that year from Doug Martin finds its way onto the list in a 70-point shootout between the Buccaneers and Raiders. Martin scored 24 of those points himself, including three explosive plays for a touchdown. He finished with 251 yards and four touchdowns on 25 rushing attempts.

5) Jamaal Charles | 51.5 fantasy points

Chiefs at Raiders | Week 15 | Dec. 15, 2013

Jamaal Charles’ performance to find his way onto the list of the most fantasy points by an RB in a single game was somewhat similar to that of Brown back in 1973. However, when you look at Charles’ rushing line, you would not believe he would ever have made this list on that day. Charles posted just 20 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

However, in the receiving game, Charles took things to a new level. He hauled in eight receptions on eight targets, half of which he took to the end zone. Add in 195 receiving yards and the five-touchdown day with 215 total yards saw him top 50 fantasy points for the only time in his career.

4) Corey Dillon | 51.6 fantasy points

Bengals vs. Titans | Week 15 | Dec. 4, 1997

Corey Dillon’s career was impressive across a more prolonged stretch than previous rookie wonders on this list. However, it is his rookie season in 1997 that we have to go back to when looking for his best fantasy football performance ever in a single game.

In Week 15, Dillon took it to the Tennessee Oilers in a 41-14 demolition. Dillon carried the ball 39 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He added another 30 yards in the receiving game to just pip Charles for the fourth spot on this list.

3) Shaun Alexander | 53.1 fantasy points

Seahawks vs. Vikings | Week 4 | Sept. 29, 2002

Shaun Alexander is best known for his MVP-winning performance in 2005. However, fantasy managers may more fondly remember his performance in Week 4, which lands him in third on our list of the most fantasy points by an RB in a single game. The most incredible element is that all five of the touchdowns he scored that day came in the first half, including three in the space of just over a minute.

Alexander finished his day with 139 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, as well as 92 receiving yards and a score through the air.

2) Alvin Kamara | 53.2 fantasy points

Saints vs. Vikings | Week 16 | Dec. 25, 2020

Christmas Day in 2020 will live long in the memory for a number of reasons, and Alvin Kamara’s performance on the field might very well be one of them. The electric Saints running back found the end zone six times while racking up 172 total yards. The most amazing part of Kamara’s performance is that an RB arguably best known for his abilities catching the ball scored all six of those touchdowns on the ground.

Which RB has scored the most fantasy points in a single game?

1) Clinton Portis | 55.4 fantasy points

Broncos vs. Chiefs | Week 14 | Dec. 7, 2003

Clinton Portis is the player that tops our list of the most fantasy points scored by an RB in a single game. While he may be best known for his time playing in Washington, it was one of his two seasons in Denver that he produced our leading performance. In a tight first half, Portis exchanged touchdowns with Priest Holmes in a game that Denver trailed 21-17 at the half.

However, Portis took the game away from the Chiefs in just over 10 second-half minutes. Touchdown carries of 59, 28, and 53 yards saw Portis score a total of 32 fantasy points on those three carries. He would finish the day with 254 total yards and five rushing touchdowns for our only score of more than 55 fantasy points by an RB in a single game.

Most PPR fantasy points by a RB in a single game

10. Corey Dillon | CIN vs. TEN | 53.6
9. Marshall Faulk | STL vs. SEA | 54.5
8. Doug Martin | TB @ OAK | 55.2
7. Chris Johnson | TEN vs. HOU | 55.4
6. Priest Holmes | KC @ SEA | 55.7
T-4. LaDainian Tomlinson | SD vs. DEN | 56.1
T-4. Shaun Alexander | SEA vs. MIN | 56.1
3. Alvin Kamara | NO vs. MIN | 56.2
2. Clinton Portis | DEN vs. KC | 57.4
1. Jamaal Charles | KC @ OAK | 59.5

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN

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