In the past, we have ranked trios from worst to best. But now, we’re just going to take a look at every team’s quarterback, and top receiver. Now, for some of these teams, the players aren’t playing due to an injury or suspension. So, what we’re looking at is every team’s quarterback and no. 1 receiver, putting everything aside. Although, injuries could have an effect on the ranking of these duos.
The connection between a quarterback and receiver is important. Building trust between the two is an important way to succeed in the pass game. It’s how the wide receiver becomes the no. 1 guy on the team.
Before we go into this, it’s important to know that these duos are ranked on how well they clique together. If there’s two really talented players that don’t connect very well, they may not be as high as you expect. If there’s a really good quarterback lower, than that is because his receiver isn’t very good. It is a conjoint ranking, that takes into consideration more than just the talent of each individual player.
Some of these duos are worth watching for, especially with the season underway. Some duos are new, but look like they can be the best in the league. Time will tell if some of these duos improve, while others may degress. And who knows, some of the players on this list may not even be starters throughout the whole season. This list is based off those starting the season off as starters.
32 Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen/Kelvin Benjamin
We can conclude that the Buffalo Bills have the worst duo, regardless of the quarterback. Nathan Peterman couldn't even last past one game. As of right now, Peterman is the worst quarterback in the NFL, while Josh Allen has struggled like you'd expect from most rookie QBs. And Kelvin Benjamin hasn’t made it any easier on him, as he doesn’t look that good either. Don’t be surprised if this duo switches completely throughout the season to Allen and Zay Jones.
31 Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill/DeVante Parker
Coming off of a knee injury that held him out of the 2017 season, analysts are still skeptical about Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill wasn’t all that special in the past, so coming back off of a major injury doesn’t help his case. DeVante Parker could be a surprising wide receiver, but time will tell how good they can be. It looks like Jarvis Landry is benefitting from not playing with the Dolphins, which may be the same case for Parker. That says something about Tannehill.
30 Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles/Keelan Cole
With Marqise Lee out for the season, the new no. 1 receiver becomes Keelan Cole. Not that Lee and Blake Bortles were going to be a great duo, but it definitely would’ve been better than Bortles and Cole.
Bortles was better last season because he had a solid run game.
With concerns surrounding Leonard Fournette, he could miss some time this season. And the chances of Bortles depending on one receiver are slim to none. Don’t expect much out of this duo, as Bortles will spread the ball around if need be.
29 New York Jets: Sam Darnold/Terrelle Pryor
The Jets have a QB-WR duo that could look really good as the season progresses. That’s right, the New York Jets. Sam Darnold and Terrelle Pryor could be really explosive, but also really bad. It’s hard to rate them considering we haven’t seen much of them together. Darnold looked really good in his first game, but has struggled since. Pryor is inconsistent, and is more of the reason why this duo is ranked so low. Time will tell how good they can be.
28 Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott/Cole Beasley
You’re probably thinking, why aren’t the Cowboys lower on this list? Well, you have to take into consideration that Dak Prescott and Cole Beasley looked really good together in 2016.
Some may expect Allen Hurns to be on this list with Prescott, but the truth is, Beasley is the top receiver.
Even if he doesn’t line up as one, he is Prescott’s go to guy. This season will be a make or break for both players, as the Cowboys have to decide if Prescott is the long-term guy, and if Beasley will be re-signed next season.
27 Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco/Michael Crabtree
Another questionable listing may be Joe Flacco and Michael Crabtree. Some fans may be wondering why they are ranked higher than promising Sam Darnold. But, you have to take into consideration the experience both Flacco and Crabtree have. Flacco has played poorly, but also has played really well. Crabtree has had success in Oakland. Early on in the season, Flacco has proven that he's not completely done as a QB. They may not be as good as they have both been in the past, but they aren’t terrible.
26 Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota/Corey Davis
The potential is there. Marcus Mariota could really benefit from having a healthy Corey Davis to throw to. Davis has looked good so far, and Mariota seems comfortable throwing it to him. This is one of those duos that can really connect all season, considering Mariota doesn’t have many other options.
That's especially the case since Delanie Walker is done for the season. Mariota’s key to success once he returns from injury may be his QB-WR partnership with Corey Davis.
25 Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky/Allen Robinson
The Chicago Bears could be a lot better than many people expect. Against the Green Bay Packers, they held their ground and nearly defeated Aaron Rodgers and co. But, Mitchell Trubisky still has yet to prove why he was drafted second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The potential is there, but he has to execute.
He now has a solid receiver corps, with his no. 1 guy being Allen Robinson. Robinson was great two seasons ago, and missed pretty much all of last season with an injury.
24 Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton/Devin Funchess
Devin Funchess surprisingly erupted as the no.1 receiver last season for the Carolina Panthers. He played above expectations, but that still may not enough to secure the job. D.J. Moore was selected in the first round of the 2018 Draft, opening up the possibility of a new no. 1 receiver in the future. But for now, it’s Cam Newton throwing to Funchess. The two have built a connection that is good enough, but something that would want to be improved for a playoff caliber team.
23 Denver Broncos: Case Keenum/Demaryius Thomas
Maybe before the preseason, this duo would’ve been ranked higher, but Case Keenum just hasn’t looked that great. Keenum played phenomenal last season but has been alright with the Broncos. He has a great receiver core, with Demaryius Thomas as his no. 1 receiver. So, there really should be no excuse why he struggles. He still has time to build a better connection with his new team, but for now, improvement needs to be made. And if Keenum can play at the level he played last season, this duo could move up fairly quickly.
22 Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen/Larry Fitzgerald
Josh Rosen has shown some promising signs since replacing an inefftive Sam Bradford, but it's clear he still has a lot of work to do.
Even though he’s teamed up with Larry Fitzgerald, he doesn’t look like he’s going to make this team any better in the 2018 season.
Considering one player is still very raw and the other player, while being a future hall of famer, is past his prime, the Cardinals drop lower down the list. With Fitz near the end of his career, this pairing may not last long.
21 Washington Redskins: Alex Smith/Jamison Crowder
Watch out for this duo. The Washington Redskins offense looked a lot better than expected under the control of Alex Smith. Question is, which receiver will step up and be the go-to-guy? As of right now, it has to be Jamison Crowder. He was Kirk Cousins's guy, and he’s played pretty well. But, as the season progresses it could definitely become Paul Richardson. The unknown at the receiver position puts this team lower than expected, even though they can rapidly climb up the ladder.
20 Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield/Jarvis Landry
Last season, the Cleveland Browns were 0-16. In 2018, they've shown improvements, finally won for the first time since 2016, and could potentially fight for a playoff spot. And they’re in good hands at the quarterback and wide receiver position. They have arguably one of the best receiver corps in the NFL, with Jarvis Landry at no. 1. Baker Mayfield has opened up this offense since replacing Tyrod Taylor, and Landry's numbers will only keep improving.
19 San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo/Marquise Goodwin
Don’t let Jimmy G's unfortunate season ending injury sway your opinion on how he'll do in the future. Garoppolo has a lot of talent, and with the right offense, he could lead the 49ers back to the playoffs as soon as next season.
One thing they may want to consider is finding a no. 1 receiver.
The 49ers drafted Dante Pettis in the second round, which looks like a good pick so far. But considering the 49ers extended Goodwin, they’re going to want to get him the ball. Goodwin is fast, but may not be as good of a catcher as his contract has him.
18 Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff/Brandin Cooks
Get used to this duo, they should be around together for a bit. The New England Patriots traded Brandin Cooks to the Rams, giving them their no. 1 receiver. Jared Goff played a lot better last season than his rookie season and could get even better with a top target. Cooks played well with the Patriots but surprisingly was traded away. We need to see more from the two to believe the connection is real, but both players are talented enough to build something special.
17 Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr/Amari Cooper
In 2016, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper seemed like they would be the next best duo. They looked great, but since then, it hasn’t looked as special. Cooper has still been productive, but Carr hasn’t been as accurate. He’s made a lot of poor decisions, and just doesn’t look like the top-rated quarterback that many analysts thought he would be. Because they have the potential to be good they’re still around the middle level on the list, but they need to take it to the next level.
16 Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers/Randall Cobb
It’s not the same anymore without Jordy Nelson. Instead, it’s now Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb. Many people may be surprised to see the duo so low on the list, but Rodgers spreads the ball out.
Cobb had a great first game against Chicago, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to catch for over 1,000 yards now.
Rodgers gets the ball into whoever’s hands are open.
Cobb may have a better season because Nelson is gone, but we won’t know that until the weeks progress.
15 Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson/Doug Baldwin
Russell Wilson has really had no choice but to get the football in the hands of Doug Baldwin. Since Wilson entered the league, Baldwin has been his favorite target. And now with Baldwin pretty much being his only reliable target, there will be more receptions from Baldwin. In the past three seasons, Baldwin has caught 29 touchdown passes. Needless to say, Wilson to Baldwin is a great red zone connection. Baldwin has had a huge impact on Wilson’s ability to succeed.
14 Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz/Alshon Jeffery
Neither Carson Wentz or Alshon Jeffery are playing, which has an impact on why they’re slightly lower on the list. But it also has to do with the fact that Wentz likes to spread the football, and Jeffery has been pretty inconsistent despite last season. Although Jeffery played really well last year, there are no promises that he will be the same player by the time this season ends. It should be exciting to see the two back on the field together, hoping they will be even better than last season.
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston/Mike Evans
Who would ever expect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be this high on the list? Well, when Mike Evans is all you really throw to, that will push you up. Jameis Winston hasn’t lived up to expectations in the NFL, but he’s got the ball to Evans, and Ryan Fitzpatrick did great in Winston's absence.
Winston may be the reason why Evans is not considered one of the best in the game.
The former No. 1 draft pick is a poor decision maker who can be inaccurate down the field.
12 Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford/Golden Tate
Some people may undermine how good the Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate connection is. The Lions offense has been one of the best pass offenses in the league. This is mainly because of this connection, and because of the team’s struggles to run the football. Stafford has struggled so far but has looked good in the past. Tate may be losing his no. 1 spot, but has been one of the more consistent receivers in the league. He just has to watch out for Marvin Jones.
11 Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton/A.J. Green
Most people wouldn't put Andy Dalton this high in any list, but he and A.J. Green are great together. Dalton may be an average quarterback, but the connection between the two guys helps this team win ball games. It’s not Dalton’s fault that the team hasn’t really had any other good options and a weak running game. That has helped the connection between Dalton and Green grow. Year after year Andy Dalton targets Green as much as possible, helping him put up over 1,000 yards in six of eight seasons.
10 New York Giants: Eli Manning/Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. is ranked 10th on this list may come as a disappointment to some. But the truth is, Beckham could be even better if he played with a good quarterback.
Eli Manning can’t control how well his offensive line plays, but he can control the poor decisions he makes.
Manning has a history of turning the football over. If Manning could be smarter with getting the football to Beckham, he may be even better if that’s not too difficult to imagine.
9 Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson/DeAndre Hopkins
It only took Deshaun Watson half a season last year to prove that him throwing to DeAndre Hopkins is going to be something special. Hopkins is a top-10 wide receiver, who has never really had a legit quarterback until Watson. Unfortunately, the duo may still struggle because of the lack of firepower around Hopkins. But when they get going, they are going to tear defenses apart. Watson’s ability to throw the ball downfield allows Hopkins to play all over the field, and sprint downfield for the long ball.
8 New England Patriots: Tom Brady/Julian Edelman
Despite Julian Edelman’s suspension causing him to miss the first four games this season, Edelman and Tom Brady are one of the best duos in the league. If we could match up a tight end to a quarterback, we would take Brady and Gronkowski over having Edelman. Even though the Patriots have been the premier team in the NFL, their duo is still outside the top five. Brady has been able to use whatever receivers he has on his team, no matter what their talent level or experience is. Edelman has just been more consistent for him.
7 Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck/T.Y. Hilton
If Andrew Luck never had shoulder issues, Luck and T.Y. Hilton may be top three in the league. But an injury has unfortunately held them back. But when Luck is healthy, this is a really tough duo to stop.
Luck is as talented as any quarterback in the league, and Hilton does a great job creating separation and making big-time plays for a team with very playmakers.
The Colts will be a team to watch out for this season, to see if the two look as good as the past.
6 Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan/Julio Jones
There have been times where Matt Ryan and Julio Jones look like the best duo in the league. Then, there are other times where Ryan does not look good at all. So far in 2018, Ryan looks like he's closer to his 2016 self.
Teams know that the ball is being forced to Jones considering that is their top target, but many teams still have trouble stopping it. With Calvin Ridley as an added threat in this offense, the Falcons should keep flying high, at least on offense.
5 Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes/Tyreek Hill
Here comes a stunner. That’s right, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill are a top-five duo. Look at the times we have seen them together on the field, they’re absolutely insane.
Mahomes' arm strength and Hill’s speed is a deadly combination, and that makes it tough for even the best of defenses to cover.
And as Mahomes continues to play, he’s only going to get better. If the connection continues to grow, this could be the best quarterback/wide receiver duo in the NFL.
4 Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins/Adam Thielen
We have only seen the beginning of Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen. In 2017, Thielen caught 91 passes for 1,276 yards and scored four touchdowns with a third-string quarterback playing. In Cousins, the Vikings brought in the best quarterback they have had in years, and those numbers can only get better. The reason why the duo isn’t higher is that Thielen has not been great in the red zone. The most amount of touchdowns he’s scored in a season is five, something that Cousins may want to work on with Thielen.
3 New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees/Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas may be one of the most underrated players in the NFL. In his first two seasons, he caught over 90 passes and over 1,100 yards each season. Brees has made this former second-round pick look like a star. Fantasy players have fallen in love with the numbers he puts up. The only thing that could slow down his numbers is if Alvin Kamara gets more involved with the passing game. Then, there’s also the chance he gets even better as the Saints haven’t added another legit receiver.
2 Los Angeles Chargers: Philip Rivers/Keenan Allen
It didn’t take long for a connection to grow between Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen. After one incredible season, analysts are considering Allen a top-10 wide receiver. Nearly catching for 1,400 yards, Allen was a tough receiver to cover in 2017. And through this offseason, the hype for the Chargers continued to grow.
Analysts are believing in the team, with a big part being due to the connection between these two.
If Rivers can control the football, this team has a real shot at the playoffs.
1 Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger/Antonio Brown
Who else would you expect to take at no. 1? If Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are the best trios, it makes sense that Roethlisberger and Brown would be the best duo. Big Ben has accuracy issues many times, but he always manages to find Brown. The placement for some of the passes thrown to Brown is bizarre, but they have such great chemistry that those plays are able to him. It will be sad when Roethlisberger retires, and we no longer see these two together.