Offenses in the NFL revolve around superstar quarterbacks and their best pass catchers. The days of dominant offensive lines and running backs setting the tempo disappeared a while ago. Now, elite quarterback-wide receiver combinations define some of the most dynamic offenses in football. Today, we’ll examine the ten best pairings heading into the 2020 NFL season.
Jared Goff and Cooper Kupp/Robert Woods narrowly missed the top ten because Goff played poorly this past season. Kupp and Woods both performed at career levels, but Goff only threw 22 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins also earned consideration, but it’s too soon for Murray to deserve a spot on this list.
In past years, the duos of Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen and Deshaun Watson and Hopkins appeared on lists like this one. However, a chaotic offseason saw dynamic quarterbacks and wide receiver duos broken up and rebuilt. Two new QB-WR cracked the top ten, and one of them features the greatest quarterback of all-time.
10. Deshaun Watson and Brandin Cooks
While Watson already misses Hopkins, he could find a reliable partner in Cooks. Watson played his way into the top-five quarterback conversation last year, leading the Houston Texans to an AFC South division title. Cooks battled injuries and saw his streak of four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons broken. He looks to rebound in 2020.
9. Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen
After back to back seasons with at least 90 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards, Thielen battled injuries throughout 2019. He only appeared in ten games and averaged fewer than 50 receiving yards per game. Hopefully, the former Pro Bowler bounces back in 2020. As for Cousins, last season he quietly posted a 107.4 passer rating while completing 69.1% of his pass attempts.
8. Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper
Dallas already paid Cooper, and now it’s Prescott’s turn. The former fourth round pick threw for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns this past season. Prescott’s surge coincided with the best season of Cooper’s career. However, both Cowboys fall short of the elite category at their respective positions, and they disappeared in a crucial Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
7. Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay
Stafford paced 4,998 passing yards and 38 passing touchdowns before suffering a season-ending injury midway through the year. He also posted a career-high 106.0 passer rating before the injury. Combine Stafford’s year with Golladay’s 74.4 receiving yards per game and league-leading 11 receiving touchdowns, and you get a rising QB-WR duo.
6. Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett
Lockett lags behind compared to the other wide receivers on this list, but he’s taken over Doug Baldwin’s role in Seattle. Lockett averaged 66.1 receiving yards per game last season, and he set a single-season high with 82 receptions. However, it’s Lockett’s MVP-caliber quarterback that makes this duo relevant any day of the week.
5. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones
Ryan struggled last season, but Jones produced yet another dominant year. In 15 games, Ryan threw for 4,466 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Those numbers all mark serious declines from 2018. Jones’ production declined as well, but he still tallied 99 receptions for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns. The Atlanta Falcons look to return to relevance in 2020.
4. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams
While Rodgers didn’t have an efficient season, he still led the Packers to a 13-3 record and only threw four interceptions. Adams missed four games but still made his third consecutive Pro Bowl. The former second round pick averaged 6.9 receptions and 83.1 receiving yards per game.
3. Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill
Mahomes makes this duo automatically one of the top three in the league. In his first two years as a starter, the Texas Tech product won a league MVP and a Super Bowl. He’s unrivaled in the NFL right now. Hill’s speed and style of play match Mahomes’ skill set perfectly. The duo can break a game open at any time.
2. Tom Brady and Mike Evans/Chris Godwin
Despite throwing to aging and depleted weapons, Brady posted 4,057 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions in 2019. Now, the motivated veteran joins the most-dominant wide receiver duo in the league. Evans and Godwin averaged 89.0 and 95.2 receiving yards per game last season, respectively. If both receivers remain healthy for a full season, Brady’s new offense could be unstoppable.
1. Drew Brees and Michael Thomas
Brees missed five games in 2019 and didn’t look like himself in the playoffs. Even if the 41-year-old quarterback is declining, he’s still one of the most accurate and efficient passers in history. Brees completed 74.3% of his pass attempts last season and posted a 116.3 passer rating. On the other hand, Thomas won the Offensive Player of the Year award for leading the NFL in receptions (149) and receiving yards (1,725).