Offensive player rankings, Week 7: Carson Wentz climbing

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 7 pecking order is below.

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

Say hello to the quarterback with the most regular-season wins (187) in NFL history. Although Brady wasn't happy with the offense Sunday, the Patriots still won with the help of a controversial call that went New England's way. Brady finished with 257 passing yards, two touchdowns and one INT (his second of the year). He's had far better performances, but records like the one he set Sunday put Brady in his own category.

The Chiefs could not stop Brown, as he went off for 155 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions in Sunday's win. Ben Roethlisberger had a perfect passer rating (158.3) when targeting Brown on plays where Brown wasn't covered by Chiefs CB Marcus Peters. The miraculous touchdown grab was the 52nd of his career, vaulting him past Lynn Swann for the third most receiving TDs in franchise history. Brown continues to be the league's best receiver, ranking No. 1 in targets (74), receptions (48) and receiving yards (700).

On Sunday, Hunt became the only player in NFL history to start his career with six consecutive games of 100-plus yards from scrimmage. He's a playmaker in the passing game (89 receiving yards against the Steelers). It's nice to know that even if the ground game isn't working, as on Sunday (nine carries for 21 yards), he can provide a boost elsewhere.

I noted in my Week 2 rankings that it was only a matter of time before Le'Veon Bell was back to his dominating ways. Well, he's definitely back. Bell had 32 carries for 179 yards and a touchdown and finished with 191 yards from scrimmage -- both season highs -- against the Chiefs. A week after Ben Roethlisberger threw five picks, the Steelers made the right decision to lean on their star running back.

Smith recorded a season-low passer rating (88.6) and completion percentage (55.9) in Sunday's loss. That said, he still took care of the ball and improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio to 12:0 for the season. So Smith didn't have his best performance -- he's still having a career year.

A big part of Sunday's win was Brees' first-half performance: 12 of 14 for 148 yards, a touchdown and a 134.5 passer rating. The Saints got a big boost from the run game (193 rushing yards), which ultimately makes Brees better, so hopefully, that continues. The veteran quarterback is capable of putting this team on his back, but he shouldn't have to.

Gronk had himself a day against Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams, who had been solid for Gang Green up to Week 6. Gronk finished with two touchdowns and drew a 24-yard pass-interference call against Adams. The tight end finished with six catches on 10 targets for 83 yards and a pair of TDs. Given how the Patriots' offense looks right now, they had better hope Gronk stays healthy.

Hopkins said "anything is possible" with Deshaun Watson under center. The chemistry between the rookie quarterback and star receiver is apparent. Hopkins, who had four TD receptions all of last season, recorded his sixth of the year Sunday. And he's just getting started.

Gurley notched his third 100-yard rushing game of the season Sunday and finished with 23 carries for 116 yards. Through six weeks, he's fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (521), tied for third in rushing TDs (four), second in yards from scrimmage (766) and tied for first with total TDs (seven). His production keeps the pressure off sophomore quarterback Jared Goff. As good as Goff's been, Gurley deserves a lot of the credit.

We all have next week's rematch of Super Bowl LI between the Falcons and Patriots circled on the calendar. As in that Super Bowl game back in February, Atlanta blew a big lead on Sunday, this time a 17-0 advantage at the half, before falling to the Dolphins. Ryan, who recorded a passer rating below 90 for the third straight contest, threw an interception with 47 seconds remaining with the Falcons in field-goal range -- a costly mistake, to say the least.

Finishing with six catches on seven targets for 72 yards on Sunday, Jones continues to produce at a level that is below average for him. The four-time Pro Bowler is putting up a career-low 73.4 yards per game, which is 27.2 yards worse than his per-game mark in 2016 (100.6). He also has just one 100-yard receiving game so far this season and has been shut out of the end zone. OC Steve Sarkisian isn't helping out Matt Ryan or this offense, as his play-calling isn't creative. If it is, it's only for a couple of plays. Jones is lining up in the same spots, and it's easy for defenses to double-team him.

He's proven he belongs. In Philly, Wentz has gone from a guy who just runs the system to one who has taken the system to another level. He has great vision and constantly makes plays. In the last two contests, both wins, Wentz has thrown for at least three TDs and finished with a 110.0 passer rating or better. According to Next Gen Stats, Wentz's tight-window rate (when receivers have less than 1 yard of separation from their nearest defender) is 24.6 percent, which is the highest of any QB this season. When throwing into tight windows as a rookie, Wentz had a passer rating of 21.6 and a TD-to-INT ratio of 0:9. When throwing into tight windows this season, he has a passer rating of 73.1, with two touchdowns -- including Thursday night's 17-yard laser to Zach Ertz -- and no picks. He's been quite impressive in Year 2 while leading the Eagles to the top of the NFC East.

If I wanted another reason to put Fournette in my top 15, I didn't have to wait very long. On the first offensive play from scrimmage against the Rams on Sunday, Fournette had a 75-yard touchdown run. Pair that with his 90-yard TD run from a week ago, and this kid is making a case for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Fournette finished with 21 carries for 130 yards and sits at second in the NFL with 596 rushing yards.

The Texans have scored at least 30 points in the last four games -- the longest streak in franchise history -- and their rookie quarterback has led the charge. Watson leads the league with 15 touchdown passes despite not starting in Week 1. In Sunday's win over Cleveland, he had 225 passing yards, three touchdowns, an interception and a 103.4 passer rating. Watson is great in play-action, and coach Bill O'Brien has done a great job catering his play-calling to Watson's strengths. I'd like to see Watson improve in drop-back situations on third down and in the red zone. If his vision and pocket presence improve, this guy will be nearly unstoppable.

 *Interesting tidbit:* Watson already has as many TD passes through six games as 
 Brock Osweiler had 
 *all* last season for Houston. 

After a winless rookie campaign, Goff has helped his team move to 4-2 and the top of the NFC West. Goff wasn't spectacular against the Jaguars on Sunday, but he didn't turn the ball over. And the Rams are 4-0 this season when Goff takes care of the football. Goff has really impressed me this season after teaming up with Sean McVay. It was a tough decision, but I do think Goff's playing better football right now than the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL (Matthew Stafford).

Dropped out: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (previously No. 1); Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions (No. 10); Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings (No. 11); Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (No. 14).


Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: Over the last four weeks, Stafford has faced heavy pressure, getting sacked 19 times -- and the Lions went 1-3. Stafford hasn't look particularly comfortable in the pocket, as he's constantly under duress. On Sunday in New Orleans, the QB completed 25 of 52 passes (48.1 percent) -- the Lions are 1-11 in games when Stafford throws 50 or more times -- and threw three interceptions. He's had success in the fourth quarter, but this time, Stafford couldn't work his magic vs. the Saints' defense, posting a 0.0 passer rating on 13 fourth-quarter pass attempts. Yikes! The Lions' offense runs through Stafford, and they're going to have a tough time winning (especially on the road) if he doesn't get some help.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings Diggs sat out of Minnesota's winwith a groin injury, but his production so far this season keeps him in the running. If he's out for another few weeks, however, he's going to have to put up huge numbers to get back in the top 15.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Freeman had his least productive game of the season with nine carries for 68 yards, snapping his streak of four straight contests with a rushing touchdown. As noted above, Sarkisian is the person to blame for Freeman's lack of carries and attention in this offense.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Hilton's been Jacoby Brissett's favorite receiver this season, although he only had one catch for 19 yards against the Titans.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Yes, this is the first time in six weeks that we've seen Peterson do anything. But it's also the first time a team has really used him. Peterson's output in his Cardinals debut -- 26 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns -- is what we're used to seeing from him, and I'd say that the 32-year-old still has it.

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8.

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