Clutch Performers

Offensive player rankings, Week 11: Top five QB-WR tandems

By now, it's no secret that league-wide passing production is happening at a historic rate, and it feels as if records are being set by the week. Thus, it felt fitting to highlight the top quarterback-receiver duos in the league right now.

Putting this list together was tough, with so many guys having career years, but the line had to be drawn somewhere. Let's not waste any more time. Here are my top five QB-WR duos heading into Week 11:

Y'all already know what I think about Drew Brees. The 39-year-old is one of the most accurate passers I've ever seen and is having the best statistical season of his career, with a 77.3 completion percentage, 21 TDs, one INT and a 123.8 passer rating. He wouldn't be putting up those numbers without Thomas. The young wideout has 78 receptions (tied for the league lead) for 950 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Thomas' monster numbers aren't surprising, given his ability to line up anywhere on the field and run any route. His size (6-foot-3, 212 pounds) allows him to win contested catches if he doesn't get great separation. An interesting note following New Orleans' blowout win over Cincinnati: According to Next Gen Stats, Thomas caught all eight of his targets in Week 10, upping his passer rating when targeted to 134.2 and catch rate to 89.7 percent, both best in the NFL among receivers with at least 50 targets. There's no stopping this duo.

This might not be a popular choice, but Thielen's numbers are almost identical to Thomas' heading into Week 11. While Thomas has been exceptional the last month, Thielen has been steady since Week 1 and became the only player in NFL history with 100 receiving yards in each of the first eight games of a season. This success can be attributed to his route-running and excellent hands. In my opinion, he's the best route-runner on this list -- and he has to be great at it, because he doesn't have the raw talent some of these other guys do. Thielen has brought out of the best in Cousins so far in 2018. When targeting Thielen, the first-year Minnesota quarterback is completing 75.7 percent of his passing attempts with seven touchdown passes, one interception and a 122.1 passer rating, according to Next Gen Stats. With everything that this pair has accomplished so far, the Vikings' combo deserved this spot.

Regardless of who is calling the plays in Pittsburgh, this pair continues to have great chemistry and make outstanding plays. Big Ben always has Brown -- who has logged a touchdown reception in seven consecutive games and leads the league in receiving scores (10) -- as an option, no matter if he's double- or triple-teamed. The All-Pro receiver does a great job alerting Roethlisberger when he is breaking at the top of his route with separation or subtle head movements, making it easier for the veteran quarterback on intermediate or deep routes. I'd guess that, if you polled the league's starting quarterbacks, Brown would be voted the easiest player to throw to, based on his hands, ability and body control.

Adams has become Rodgers' favorite target. The underrated wideout is a great athlete and extremely dynamic. After a big Week 10, Adams is tied for second in receiving touchdowns with nine -- more impressive, he has six TDs in his last five games. Adams, who has 10 catches of 20-plus yards and three of 40-plus yards this season, does a great job getting open when Rodgers is forced to extend plays when there's a breakdown. Even when the Packers have struggled to get anything going offensively, which isn't often, these two are in sync.

To state the obvious, Hopkins has always been "the guy" in Houston, regardless of who is delivering the football. But now that Watson's under center and consistently putting pressure on the defense with his own skill set, Hopkins has benefitted. Sitting fourth in receiving yards (894) and tied for fifth with seven touchdowns, the Texans receiver has the largest catch radius known to mankind. The ball can be thrown at his shoe laces or just above the goal post and the guy will come down with it. It's unbelievable what he can do, no matter the separation he gets on the defender.

Each week in the 2018 campaign, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr will take a look at all offensive players and rank his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season's efforts. Now, let's get to it -- the Week 11 pecking order is below.

NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from last week's rankings.

Mahomes had another routine performance in what could have been a trap game for the Chiefs. The young gunslinger stayed poised under pressure to keep K.C.'s momentum heading into what could be a Super Bowl preview on Monday, when the Chiefs take on the Rams.

He had himself another day against the Seahawks, with 160 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown, and has scored a touchdown in 13 consecutive games -- tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. Next Monday's bout will feature the top two MVP candidates right now (also the top two on my list), and I can't wait to see who steals the show.

At 39 years old, Brees looks like a young gunslinger dicing up defenses left and right. The veteran has helped the Saints win eight straight, and there's no sign of them slowing down, with their next four games coming against teams with losing records heading into Week 11.

The Packers got a much-needed win against the Dolphins behind Rodgers' solid performance (199 pass yards, two TDs, 112.1 passer rating). Rodgers has continued playing at a high level by not throwing an INT since Week 4.

 [Against the league's worst total defense](, Kamara took advantage by putting up yet another performance with 100-plus scrimmage yards. With his two rushing touchdowns Sunday, Kamara is the eighth player in NFL history with at least 14 scrimmage touchdowns in each of his first two seasons, according to Elias. 

Brady has been humanized more times this year than in the last few. Against Mike Vrabel's Titans, the 41-year-old completed 21 of 41 passes for 254 passing yards, zero TDs, zero INTs and a 70.6 passer rating. According to Next Gen Stats, Brady has struggled against the blitz in his past five games after dominating in his first five games.

Thomas has the third-most receptions in a player's first three seasons in NFL history with 274. He needs 15 catches to pass both Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry (288 each) for the most in that category in NFL history. He should continue his dominant run in Week 11 against a Philadelphia team that is thin in the secondary.

Coming off a bye week, Thielen and the Vikings head into a huge divisional bout with the Bears, who rank fourth-best in both yards and points allowed. Thielen needs to have a big game for the Vikings to close the gap in the division.

Hopkins is one of the most impactful non-quarterbacks in the league and is a major reason the Texans have won six straight. With the Redskins up next, Hopkins should produce yet again, despite Josh Norman playing well in recent weeks.

Brown continues to show out in prime time, as he was essentially perfect against the Panthers. On six targets, he had six receptions for 96 yards and a receiving touchdown, extending his scoring streak to seven games.

The third-year pro has been a top-10 quarterback in many major categories in 2018. His above-average play was on display in Sunday's NFC West matchup against the Seahawks, as he recorded 318 passing yards, two passing TDs and a 113.0 passer rating.

Kelce's 46 receiving yards on six catches against the Cardinals was his fewest receiving yards in a game since Week 1. Look for him to be a big factor against the Rams on Monday.

Wilson has been extremely efficient since Week 5, throwing 14 touchdowns while averaging just 25.2 total attempts per game. He's playing well, but the Seahawks are ending up on the wrong side of the scoreboard of late.

Even though Rivers had his worst deep passing day of the season Sunday -- completing just 1 of 3 throws of 20-plus yards for 31 yards and an INT -- he's still on pace for a career-best season in many categories.

 [Sunday]( wasn't one of Hunt's top performances production-wise (71 rushing yards, 25 receiving yards), but he's still one of the best mismatches out of the backfield. 


Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: OBJ was clearly the most talented player on the field Monday night. He had a pair of touchdown receptions -- and it felt like he could've had a few more.

Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: I was happy to see Julio get in the end zone in back-to-back games. Unfortunately, the Falcons' playoff aspirations just got a little more complicated with Sunday's loss.

Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles: Ertz has been on my radar and put himself over the top with his monster outing in prime time (14 catches for 145 receiving yards and two touchdowns). The Eagles tight end is third in the league with 75 receptions this season, only trailing Michael Thomas and Adam Thielen.

James Conner, RB, Steelers: With Le'Veon Belllikely sitting out for all of 2018, it's a good thing for the Steelers that Conner is playing out of his mind. Conner suffered a concussion during "Thursday Night Football," but the Steelers are optimistic he'll play this week. Conner has 11 scrimmage TDs and 1,158 scrimmage yards -- both more than Bell had through nine games in any single season.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs: I take Hill out of this file entirely, then he puts up 117 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. I see you, Tyreek. It won't happen again.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers: The Chargers' offense is a totally different unit when Gordon is on the field. Against the Raiders, the young back had 18 carries for 93 yards and five catches with 72 yards and a receiving TD.

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content


See all the Action

Replay every game all season.