The NFL used to be such a ground and pound style of football and always seemed to be dominated by big, fast and powerful running backs like Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, and even Adrian Peterson. The modern day NFL, however, resembles much more of a passing league with spread offenses, read/pass options, and lots of points on the scoreboard. It could be because of the invention of fantasy football that the passing game in the NFL has really taken off as that is what draws much of the viewers attention nowadays. But more realistically it is because quarterbacks and receivers are just so talented these days and it makes it the most efficient way to get up and down the field in a hurry. Rules changes in the NFL have also favored passing offenses (i.e. pass interference, defensive holding, etc.).
While it is essential to have a great quarterback if you want a truly strong aerial offense, it is also very important to have quality receivers catching the passes. Receivers over the years have continued to get taller, faster, and just physically overpowering opposing cornerbacks. But which teams have the best wide-receiving duo's in the league in 2018? Some teams are spoiled with receiving riches and have a demoralizing one-two punch on the field at all times, while other teams will be lucky to have even one 1,000 yard receiver this coming season. So where does your favorite team rank as we enter this exciting new season? Are they stacked at the top of their wide-receiver chart? Read below to find out.
32 Jacksonville Jaguars
Duo: Keelan Cole & Donte Moncrief
This is an easy selection for the worst wide-receiving duo in the NFLbecause the Jaguars essentially have no legitimate receivers on their roster now that #1 receiver Marquise Lee is out for the season with an injury.
Even with Lee, this Jaguar crew would still have been pretty nauseating for Jaguars fans to watch this coming season.
For a team that has arguably the best defense in the league, it's sad to see their aerial attack being led by Blake Bortles and guys like Keelan Cole and Donte Moncrief. It's unfortunate to see Jacksonville wasting a precious year of their Super Bowl window with an offensive attack like this.
31 Miami Dolphins
Duo: Kenny Stills & Davante Parker
Coming in second to last on this list is another Florida football team in the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins traded star receiver Jarvis Landry to the Cleveland Browns this offseason for numerous draft picks. While this was probably the correct move for the Dolphins organization in the long-term, it seriously reduces their receiving talent heading into 2018. With unproven DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills as the top duo, the Dolphins leave much to be desired from the wideout position. Good luck Ryan Tannehill . . . you're going to need it.
30 Tennessee Titans
Duo: Corey Davis & Rishard Matthews
This ranking could be heavily scrutinized by the end of the year depending on the development of last years first round selection, Corey Davis. Late in the season, and even in the playoffs, Davis showed glimpses of why he is projected to become the #1 receiver for the Tennessee Titans for years to come. But he still has to show it in 2018.
Other than Davis, the Titans have several decent options behind him in veteran Rishard Matthews and youngsters Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe. This group could deserve a higher ranking later on, but they will have to earn it first.
29 Buffalo Bills
Duo: Kelvin Benjamin & Zay Jones
Hopefully for his sake, Zay Jones is in better mental condition now than he was earlier in the offseason when he suffered a clear mental breakdown (unless he was on something wild like bath salts).
Hopefully for Bills fans' sake, both Jones and Kelvin Benjamin can actually play up to their potential to help provide either Nathan Peterman or rookie Josh Allen quality targets this season.
Benjamin, in particular, has incredible talent and skill-set that make him a perfect redzone target. His tall, muscular frame could provide a great safety outlet for Josh Allen to throw to when pressured. It's almost a make or break year for both of these young wideouts.
28 Dallas Cowboys
Duo: Allen Hurns & Terrance Williams
After releasing Dez Bryant for salary cap reasons this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys are now looking at a very depleted receiver room. In Allen Hurns, the team is getting a potential steal if and only if Hurns can return to his form that he showed in 2015 in which he had over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving.
The Cowboys also have big bodied receiver Terrance Williams on the roster but he has yet to live up to expectations in the NFL. It would not be surprising to see the Cowboys promote rookie receiver Michael Gallup early in the season if these two (or Cole Beasley) show signs of struggle.
27 New York Jets
Duo: Robby Anderson & Jermaine Kearse
The Jets offense will likely struggle this season and sadly it may end up costing head coach Todd Bowles his job. The one shining part of their season, however, could be rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and his progression. In order for Darnold to have success as a rookie, he will need the New York receiving crew to elevate their game in 2018. Robby Anderson has shown that he has the skills to be a potential #1 receiver in the NFL and Jermaine Kearse is a solid veteran that will provide some stability as well. It will be a group effort this year, but it needs to be led by these two receivers.
26 Indianapolis Colts
Duo: T.Y. Hilton & Ryan Grant
The only thing keeping the Colts from having the worst receiving duo in the NFL is T.Y. Hilton, who is a special talent when he's healthy. Not only is he extremely talented, but Hilton also an incredible chemistry with Andrew Luck.
With Luck finally healthy (somewhat at least) again it can be expected that T.Y. Hilton will be the main beneficiary of his return.
This could be a sneaky good year for the quick wideout. Outside of Hilton, however, the Colts receiving room is pretty bleak with only Ryan Grant really having an opportunity to make much of an impact in 2018.
25 San Francisco 49ers
Duo: Marquise Goodwin & Pierre Garcon
Everybody around the league thinks Jimmy Garoppolo is destined for stardom and has the San Francisco 49ers ready to compete in the NFC, but let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Has Jimmy G looked great in limited action? Yes, undeniably so. But the man has only started less than 10 career games. Not only will NFL coordinators learn to game plan against him better, the 49ers offense itself is not built to be potent yet.
Starting receivers are the aging Pierre Garcon and the inconsistent Marquise Goodwin, which is pretty underwhelming. If he can make them look great this season, then Jimmy G is the real deal.
24 Carolina Panthers
Duo: Devin Funchess & Torrey Smith
It was a big surprise last season when the Carolina Panthers traded their #1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin for practically nothing in return, although it now appears there may have been some conflict between Benjamin and quarterback Cam Newton which would help explain it.
But the Panthers managed to survive with new #1 receiver Devin Funchess, despite him being less productive as the season went on. This year Funchess will be helped by veteran Torrey Smith. The interesting thing to see is whether rookie D.J. Moore could take Smith's place.
23 Baltimore Ravens
Duo: Michael Crabtree & Willie Snead
This offseason the Baltimore Ravens focused on completely revamping their wide-receiver room by bringing in veterans Michael Crabtree and John Brown to provide Joe Flacco with more reliable targets. They also brought in Willie Snead from New Orleans, and Snead won the starting job in camp.
While all of these guys have proven to be very productive receivers so far in their careers, they both have dealt with injury issues that have hampered their potentials.
Regardless, Crabtree will be an upgrade in the redzone for the Ravens and Brown can be a big play threat given Flacco's solid deep balls.
22 Chicago Bears
Duo: Allen Robinson & Taylor Gabriel
While this duo could arguably be "Allen Robinson & Kevin White," it's too difficult to trust that White will actually be on the field for the Bears to find out this season. Yes, the former top 10 pick has been a huge disappointment for Chicago so far, but he will hopefully get his chance to redeem himself this year. The 2018 season could also be a redemption year for Allen Robinson who will be looking to prove to the league that he is fully healthy and ready to return to his former 2015 self in which he put up monster numbers. Taylor Gabriel should be a solid no.2 alongside Robinson.
21 Seattle Seahawks
Duo: Doug Baldwin & Tyler Lockett
The Seattle Seahawks are a hard tea to figure out in 2018. They have lost just about all of their defensive talent (especially if they end up trading Earl Thomas at some point too), but their offense remains largely intact. The Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin connection has been a classic for the past four seasons or so and it will be the same again in 2018. With a healthy Tyler Lockett ready to go, Wilson could have some fun throwing darts all over the field this year. Given how Wilson extends so many plays with his feet, it really all depends on how well the Seahawks receivers can scramble around and get open once the play is dead.
20 New England Patriots
Duo: Julian Edelman & Chris Hogan
The New England Patriots could probably start you, yes you the reader, at wide receiver and still be a playoff caliber team. This is because they have the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady, who can make anybody look like a pro-bowl talented wideout.
Luckily for Brady, he will still have his trusted source in Julian Edelman for most of 2018 so don't expect a major drop-off yet.
It's hard to determine who the real #2 receiver is in New England this year, but we will go with Chris Hogan because he and Brady appear to have nice chemistry together. Phillip Dorsett will hold Edelman's job for a couple of weeks until Edelman's suspension is up.
19 Cincinnati Bengals
Duo: A.J. Green & Tyler Boyd
Poor, poor A.J. Green. Never should a guy as talented as him be listed so poorly on a receiver list, but here he sits because of the lack of talent surrounding him on the roster. If it weren't for Green, the Bengals would easily be the worst receiving group in the entire league.
It also doesn't help Green that the Bengals decided to bring Andy Dalton back as their starting quarterback again in 2018. Cincy will be a serious dumpster fire this season and Marvin Lewis will surely lose his job (finally). Tyler Boyd is pencilled in as the starter for now, but John Ross is a glimmer of hope at wideout so let's see if he can become Green's counterpart.
18 Detroit Lions
Duo: Golden Tate & Marvin Jones
The Detroit Lions have an extremely potent passing offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and their talented group of wide-receivers. Golden Tate is the veteran of the group and will be counted on manning the slot receiver position this season, which is a move that should benefit him given his increase in age. Marvin Jones has also really come into his own as a Detroit Lion and appears ready to become the #1 option in Detroit.
Don't be surprised at the end of the year, however, if it's Jones and youngster Kenny Golladay as the Lions' go-to duo.
17 Washington Redskins
Duo: Josh Doctson & Jamison Crowder
It is anybody's guess whether Josh Doctson will finally break out in 2018. He has the skill-set and the physical tools to be a true #1 receiver in this league, but whether or not he can remain healthy enough to produce will be the question.
As for Jamison Crowder, he's one of the better slot receivers in the NFL. He's almost like a poor man's Jarvis Landry, although that could change in 2018.
With Alex Smith at quarterback now, you can expect the offense to be very conservative which will play directly into the hands of Crowder as a check-down option. Crowder should easily get 100 catches this coming season.
16 New Orleans Saints
Duo: Michael Thomas & Tedd Ginn Jr.
Okay this grouping should likely be ranked higher than they currently are given the immense talent that Michael Thomas possesses, but the fact that Ted Ginn, Jr. has been prone to big drops in his career slides them down the list a bit. Drew Brees loves throwing to Thomas and it's easy to see why, but realistically Brees can make any receiver look uber-talented. This could be one of Brees' final runs at another Super Bowl ring so expect this offense to really be on the attack in 2018. Note: Thomas is still a sneaky steal in most fantasy drafts.
15 Arizona Cardinals
Duo: Larry Fitzgerald & Chad Williams
Everybody is sleeping on the Cardinals in 2018 and it doesn't really make a lot of sense. This team has so much talent across their roster, which was evident last season in that they went 8-8 despite starting former third-string quarterback Blaine Gabbert most of the season. That's an impressive feat. Their receiving corps has a living legend in Larry Fitzgerald, who is a first ballot hall-of-famer. Opposite of Fitz will be Chad Williams, but there could be an x-factor to this group.
They also have rookie Christian Kirk who is a former Arizona high school legend in his own right. Fitz will teach Kirk some tricks of the trade and these two will provide Sam Bradford with steady hands all season long.
14 Philadephia Eagles
Duo: Alshon Jeffery & Nelson Agholor
Teams don't usually win the Super Bowl without having at least decent starting wide receivers and that is true for the Philadelphia Eagles who have a strong receiving corp. The only thing that pushes them back this far is the worry that Alshon Jeffrey's shoulder injury will continue to hamper him for a large part of the season.
If Jeffrey returns healthy, this duo will be very formidable for opposing defenses as #2 wideout, Nelson Agholor, has turned into a fine receiver himself.
Whether it's Carson Wentz throwing passes or Nick Foles, the Eagles receiving duo is set for another solid season.
13 Houston Texans
Duo: DeAndre Hopkins & Will Fuller
Everybody is well aware just how amazing DeAndre Hopkins can be because he shows us every year, no matter who the Houston Texans are starting at quarterback. No receiver, other than Larry Fitzgerald, has done more with less than Hopkins when it comes to production on the field despite having a terrible quarterback situation. This year should be different for Hopkins and the Texans as budding superstar Deshaun Watson appears to be healthy and ready to return to the starting role. Hopefully the talent of Watson can help Fuller finally reach his potential as well.
12 Green Bay Packers
Duo: Davante Adams & Randall Cobb
Despite recent reports claiming that the Packers were shopping veteran receiver Randall Cobb, it's hard to deny how good their receiving room is currently.
It was easy to see just how confident the Packers are in their duo of Adams and Cobb when the front office made the decision to release Jordy Nelson this offseason.
Adams is a budding superstar if he can continue to develop at the pace he's at and Cobb is a proven commodity. Plus with Aaron Rodgers slinging the rock, it doesn't really matter who is out there because he is going to make them look good.
11 Los Angeles Chargers
Duo: Keenan Allen & Tyrell Williams
Keenan Allen is a beast when healthy and is a target monster for quarterback Philip Rivers. Seriously, Allen averages like 14 targets a game and is clearly Rivers' favorite target (this is why I draft him nearly every season in fantasy football).
Tyrell Williams proved to be a solid no.2 last season and by the end of the year, Mike Williams could win the starting job.
Williams is an extremely talented receiver and will quickly grow the confidence of Rivers in this Chargers offense. This team should compete for playoffs and it will be in large part to the production of Allen and Williams (either one).
10 Kansas City Chiefs
Duo: Sammy Watkins & Tyreek Hill
The Kansas City Chiefs made a big move at receiver this offseason when they signed free agent Sammy Watkins to a 3-year, $48 million deal. This move drew the ire of many NFL pundits around the league who say that the Chiefs overpaid for the big-bodied receiver. But when healthy, Watkins have proven to be a reliable redzone target and can be a highly productive receiver.
Combine him with the speedster Tyreek Hill and it could be a major show in Kansas City this year with gunslinger Patrick Mahomes now at QB. This is not going to be your father's check-down Chiefs team (a la Alex Smith).
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Duo: Mike Evans & DeSean Jackson
Could this finally be the year that Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense finally reaches their lofty potential?
It seems as if every year the NFL experts pick the Buccaneers offense to be one of the more explosive groups in the league, but each year this team ends up disappointing their fanbase.
Winston is suspended for the first four games of 2018 so that could ground things temporarily, but he looked very efficient in the preseason and could be primed for a breakout year (finally). With receivers like Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, he has the weapons to compete with anybody.
8 Los Angeles Rams
Duo: Robert Woods & Cooper Kupp
The Rams are really going all-in on this coming season. They have added so many high level superstars this offseason that it really is "Super Bowl or Bust" for this squad in 2018.
One of those major stars the Rams brought in was Pro-Bowl receiver Brandin Cooks, who they received in a trade with the New England Patriots before the draft. Cooks is an upgrade from Sammy Watkins and should help open up more plays for Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp on the outside as well. Both of these guys are ballers that are all business on the field. It should be hard to stop this Rams offense all season.
7 Oakland Raiders
Duo: Amari Cooper & Jordy Nelson
This will be one of the more fun and interesting receiving duo's to watch in 2018. Amari Cooper had a down year in 2017, so he will be looking to re-establish himself as a budding star with a big performance in 2018. On the other side of the field, Jordy Nelson will also be looking to silence some critics after he was cut by the Packers this offseason.
Nelson is one of the best receivers of his generation and could truly help this Raiders offense get back on track if he's fully healthy.
6 Minnesota Vikings
Duo: Stefon Diggs & Adam Thielen
One of the more dynamic receiving duos in the NFL right now is the emerging one-two punch of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in Minnesota.
The Vikings found a diamond in the rough when they signed Thielen as an undrafted free agent a few years ago.
He has since turned into one of the best all around receivers in the league. Flanked out wide is the young stud Stefon Diggs who was also a steal as a fifth round pick. Diggs is most remembered for his incredible game-winning touchdown in last season's NFC divisional game against the Saints. With Kirk Cousins at QB this year, expect big things from this duo.
5 Denver Broncos
Duo: Demaryius Thomas & Emmanuel Sanders
The 2017 season was a forgettable one for the Denver Broncos and their star receiving duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanual Sanders, as both posted their worst numbers in years in 2017. Some of their lack of production could be blamed on nagging injuries, but the honest reason behind their poor statistical season was the quarterback play the Broncos had in 2017. The team went through numerous starting quarterbacks and all of them were bad.
While newcomer Case Keenum is not a true franchise quarterback, he's a major upgrade from what the Broncos were forced to use last season. For that reason, expect major bounce back seasons from Thomas and Sanders in 2018.
4 Cleveland Browns
Duo: Jarvis Landry & Josh Gordon
This is probably way too high to place the Cleveland Browns receiving corp, but it's completely based on the assumption that Josh Gordon will remain on the field for the first time in years. When on the field, Gordon is one of the more talented receivers in the game. Adding him with a veteran possession receiver like Jarvis Landry should make this Browns offense much more competitive in 2018.
Whether it's Tyrod Taylor or Baker Mayfield starting at quarterback, they should have a strong receiving group to throw to built around the foundation of Landry and Gordon.
3 Atlanta Falcons
Duo: Julio Jones & Mohamed Sanu
Any receiving duo that contains Julio Jones will always be considered a top-3 combination in the NFL as long as Julio remains healthy. The guy is just that good. Not only is Jones a physical freak of nature, he's also a precise route runner with incredible football I.Q..
Jones and Mohamed Sanu form a nice one-two punch for the Falcons and appear to have good chemistry together.
While Sanu is good, don't be surprised if this duo ends up being more of a "Jones & Calvin Ridley" dynamic by the end of the season, however, as Ridley is a pro-ready rookie. Plus they could be known as the "Bama Boys" in reference to their Alma-Mater of University of Alabama.
2 New York Giants
Duo: Odell Beckham, Jr. & Sterling Shepard
Given the massive contract extension that Odell Beckham, Jr. just signed with the New York Giants, the team is obviously not too concerned with how Beckham will return from his injury in 2018. When on the field, Beckham makes plays that no other receiver in the NFL can and is essentially a human highlight reel each and every Sunday. His mental make-up can be questionable at times, but his talent is undeniable. A healthy Beckham Jr. and a more experienced Sterling Shepard should be an exciting duo to watch in the Big Apple next season (don't forget about Saquan Barkley as well). If Eli Manning remains healthy, a post-season run could be in the reach.
1 Pittsburgh Steelers
Duo: Antonio Brown & JuJu Smith-Schuster
This one should be pretty obvious as the Pittsburgh Steelers have arguably the best receiver in the NFL in Antonio Brown and one of the brighter young receivers in the NFL in JuJu Smith-Schuster. Seriously, Smith-Schuster was quite a surprise for the Steelers last year as he nearly racked up a 1,000 yard season as a rookie despite sharing targets with both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.
We all know that Brown is going to be produce big numbers if he can stay healthy and it seems very plausible that Smith-Schuster goes well over 1,000 yards in 2018. Two 1,000 yard receivers is good enough to earn the #1 spot on this list.