Browns' Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry top NFL's best WR duos

I could be humble about this, but I won't be. I did such a great job projecting the top receiver duos last season that I felt it was my civic duty to do this piece again this year.

Heading into the 2018 season, I had Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster in Pittsburgh and Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in Minnesota as my top two tandems. Well, guess what? They tied for most receptions by a teammate duo (215) in the league.

But after an offseason shuffle that saw several big-name receivers relocated, including Brown leaving Pittsburgh for Oakland, there's been a change in the ranks. Here are my top five wide receiver duos heading into 2019:

1) Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

Beckham in 2018 (with Giants): 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns (12 games).
Landry in 2018: 81 receptions for 976 yards and four touchdowns.

The Browns have been the darlings of the offseason, and the reunion of Beckham and Landry is at the center of their moment. With the former LSU teammates in the same locker room again, the Browns boast arguably the best slot receiver in the game in Landry and one of the top perimeter receivers in Beckham. Landry and Beckham are one of only three current WR duos to have each logged 100-catch seasons in their careers -- joining them are Minnesota's Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (I'll get to them in a minute) and New England's Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas. This pair brings more to the table than great hands, as they thrive off the line of scrimmage and create separation. According to Next Gen Stats, OBJ has averaged 2.6 yards of separation from the nearest defender against press coverage since 2016, the most in the NFL (among those with a minimum of 50 press targets), while Landry's 2.3 yards of separation per press target ranks third. With precise route running, speed and Baker Mayfield's quick release, this pair won't waste any time racking up yardage for one of the most exciting offenses in the league.

2) Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

Diggs in 2018: 102 receptions for 1,021 yards and nine touchdowns (15 games).
Thielen in 2018: 113 receptions for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns.

Minnesota has two of the best route runners in the game right now -- their 2018 numbers prove as much. Thielen's record-setting season saw him lead the NFL with 69 receptions from the slot, while Diggs ranked sixth with 73 catches when aligned out wide. Because of their devotion to technique and perfecting their craft, this pair should have no problem reaching the same production levels from a year ago -- even if Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball more. Not to mention, this is the first full offseason Diggs and Thielen have had with their heavily critiqued quarterback Kirk Cousins, who's entering the second season of his fully guaranteed three-year deal. If the Vikings are putting in the work, which I'm guessing they are, we won't see much of this come September.

3) Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Allen in 2018: 97 receptions for 1,196 yards and six touchdowns.
Williams in 2018: 43 receptions for 664 yards and 10 touchdowns.

After missing 23 of a possible 32 games in 2015-16, Allen has played in every game over the last two seasons and ranks in the top seven in receptions (199) and receiving yards (2,589) since 2017. The WR1's size and basketball-like playing style allow him to beat defenders off the line and win matchups against even the league's best defenders.  Williams -- the Chargers' 2017 first-round pick -- made the leap a year ago with a team-best 10 touchdowns on 66 targets, and he should see a lot more action now that Tyrell Williams (who logged 65 targets with the Bolts last season) resides in Oakland. "Philthy" Rivers always gets the ball into his playmakers' hands, and he might have to lean on this duo more than he (and we) thought if running back Melvin Gordon holds out. With or without Gordon, though, Allen and Williams will be equally dangerous. If Gordon does play, the receivers will face more man coverage due to the attention Gordon demands in the box. If the team is indeed without Gordon, the Chargers will turn into a passing team, which I'm sure these two won't complain about (neither will those in fantasy football leagues).

4) Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

Cooks in 2018: 80 receptions for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns.
Woods in 2018: 86 receptions for 1,219 yards and six touchdowns.

Cooks and Woods were instrumental in last year's Super Bowl run by helping the Rams' offense become the NFL's fifth-ranked passing attack. Jared Goff's development over the last two seasons has impacted the receivers' success, but the biggest factor without question is Sean McVay. The Rams head coach has a very good understanding of his players' strengths and puts Cooks and Woods in the right positions to make play after play. Both of these receivers are Swiss Army Knife-type guys who are effective no matter where they line up -- outside, inside or on reverses and fly sweeps. Cooper Kupp is something of a wild card coming back from an ACL tear suffered in November, but if he can regain his form in 2019, he'll only help make this duo more effective.

5) Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders

Brown in 2018 (with Steelers): 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns (15 games).
Williams in 2018 (with Chargers): 41 receptions for 653 yards and five touchdowns.

Of all my top duos, Brown and Williams best complement each other. Brown has been by far the most productive pass catcher in the NFL since 2013, leading the way with 686 receptions (Julio Jones is second with 565), 9,145 receiving yards (Jones is second with 8,574) and 67 receiving touchdowns (DeAndre Hopkins is second with 47). The former Steeler's dynamic and well-rounded skill set makes him dangerous anywhere on the field, and the addition of Williams gives Derek Carr a big, strong, deep target. The 6-foot-4 wideout has the speed to blow the top off defenses and routinely make the tough catch. Expect Jon Gruden to give this tandem a lot of opportunities in 2019.

JUST MISSED:Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley); Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd); and Kansas City Chiefs (Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins).

Follow James Jones on Twitter @89JonesNTAF.

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