A Football Life: Cris Carter’s fantasy evolution

“All he does is catch touchdowns.”

That famous statement uttered by Buddy Ryan about Hall of Fame receiver¬†Cris Carter would be a fantasy owner’s dream. However, it proved to be a derogatory, but accurate assessment of the shortcomings of a talented player who needed to take several steps back before making a huge leap forward in both his career and his life. Carter’s journey is the subject of this week’s “A Football Life.”

At the time Ryan coined that phrase to evaluate Carter, the former Ohio State star’s best days were yet to come. He certainly showed flashes of his talent during his first three seasons in Philadelphia, but never caught more than 45 passes and failed to reach 800 receiving yards. Were it not for the 11 touchdowns he snagged in 1989, Carter might have been considered a completely pedestrian wideout.

It was with the Minnesota Vikings where he experienced a rebirth — in his life and on the field. His first three years with the Vikes were fairly ho-hum, but the upswing began in 1993. That’s when Carter posted his first 1,000-yard season. Over the next eight campaigns, the veteran would average 97 receptions, 1,182 yards and 11 touchdowns — even in today’s pass-happy NFL, those numbers would make Carter an undisputed top 10 fantasy receiver.

But it was all highlighted by a phenomenal 1995 season in which Carter caught 122 passes for 1,371 yards and 17 touchdowns. That’s an amazing 239.10 fantasy points. To put that in perspective, Calvin Johnson was the top fantasy receiver in 2012 with 220.40. In fact, Carter’s ’95 season would have made him the top fantasy pass-catcher in three of the past four NFL campaigns.

Yep, all he did was catch touchdowns — and just about everything else.

– Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG

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