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Offensive player rankings, Week 6: Alex Smith rises to No. 5

With the 2017 NFL season underway, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr takes a look at all offensive players and ranks his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season's efforts. Now, let's get to it -- the Week 6 pecking order is below.

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

Rodgers is playing at an MVP level without two starting tackles. He's constantly under pressure and making big play after big play. The victory in Jerryworld marked Rodgers' 13th career fourth-quarter comeback and 21st career game-winning drive (playoffs included in both numbers). Rodgers' play can't be matched right now.

On Peyton Manning's ceremonial weekend, Brady tied Manning and Brett Favre's record for most wins by a starting QB in NFL history (186). He did, however, have an interception and a fumble; fortunately for the Pats, Tampa Bay couldn't capitalize on either.

Brown continued to be the best receiver in the league Sunday with 10 catches -- on 19 targets! -- for 157 yards. His routine performance is overlooked by the loss, along with the rest of the distractions surrounding the locker room. Nonetheless, Brown still leads the league in receiving yards with 545 through five weeks.

After Hunt's Sunday performance, he joined Adrian Peterson as the second player in the Super Bowl era to start his career with five consecutive games of 100-plus scrimmage yards. On top of that, Hunt tops the league in rushing yards (609), scrimmage yards (775) and runs for 10-plus yards (18). He's more than deserving of this spot.

He's raised his level of play each week and is in the MVP conversation with Rodgers. Smith has led the Chiefs to 5-0 by buying time and extending plays. He leads the league in completion percentage (76.6), TD-to-INT ratio (11:0), passing yards per attempt (8.8) and passer rating (125.8). He's having himself a career year, and it's time I recognized that.

I can't penalize a player who had a bye. The only reason Julio moved down a spot is because Alex Smith has played so well. Julio exited Atlanta's Week 4 contest with a hip flexor injury, but he's not expected to miss time.

Heading into the Saints' bye week, Brees had led them to two straight wins -- something they desperately needed to stay relevant in the NFC South. Brees should give New Orleans more than a chance to win a third straight Sunday vs. Detroit.

Bell had just 15 carries and less than 100 scrimmage yards in the Steelers' loss. With Ben Roethlisberger throwing five picks Sunday, I'm not sure why Todd Haley didn't run the ball more. If I'm him, I'm giving Bell the rock at least 30 times.

The bye week might be just what the Falcons needed after falling to the Bills in Week 4. Ryan and Co. host a struggling Dolphins team and should get back on track.

Stafford, who was sacked six times, gave the Lions a chance, but he can't win 'em all. In the fourth quarter of the loss to Carolina, he threw for 130 yards and two touchdowns and had a passer rating of 138.9, as opposed to 99 yards, no touchdowns and a 72.7 passer rating through the first three quarters. If Stafford played like he did in the fourth quarter for the entire game, he'd be higher on this list.

Diggs was quiet in Minnesota's 20-17 win over the Bears -- in part due to Sam Bradford's poor accuracy in the first half -- but he's been productive enough this season to keep him in my top 15. He finished with one reception for 4 yards. The Vikings will need him in a big way next week against the division-leading Packers.

Gronk's value to the Patriots' offense is unparalleled -- when he's on the field. He sat out Thursday's contest, which New England won, with a thigh injury. The Patriots are now 12-0 in games without him since the beginning of the 2016 season. It's hard not to consider Gronk a top offensive player, but when he's constantly in and out of the lineup, something's got to give.

What a day for Hopkins! He finished with four catches on 12 targets for 52 receiving yards and three touchdowns -- one of those against Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. Hopkins has finally found his quarterback, and it's about time.

In Week 6, the Falcons face a Dolphins defense that ranks 21st against the run. Look for Freeman to prove he still belongs among the top tier of running backs.

Gurley had his least productive game against the Seahawks with 14 carries for 43 yards and two receptions for 7 yards. He still belongs, but Leonard Fournette is hot on his heels.


Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Goff led a game-winning drive and threw a game-winning touchdown against the Seahawks. Cooper Kupp just dropped it. I'm more and more impressed by this kid with each passing week.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: Cam has played well the last couple of weeks, most recently leading the Panthers to 4-1 after Sunday's road win. Against the Lions, he threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Hopefully, he keeps this up.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars: He reminds me of Le'Veon Bell, and right now, he might be a better version. Fournette's been an instrumental part of the Jags' improved offense, with 28 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns (one for 90 yards) in an upset win at Pittsburgh.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: I'm impressed with how well Hilton's done, considering Jacoby Brissett arrived in Indianapolis just days before the season started. This guy needs to get in the end zone.

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs: Kelce, who excited Sunday night's game with a concussion, was huge in the first half with eight receptions for 98 receiving yards. He's been a big part of the Chiefs' 5-0 start.

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8.

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