Here at TPS, we previously shared our rankings for every team’s starting QB, No. 1 wideout and lead RB from worst to first.
For this list, we’re trying something new and pouring two of the ingredients into one recipe. So with that, let’s dive into our rankings of all 32 NFL team’s starting QB-WR1 combos from worst to first.
32. C.J. Stroud and Nico Collins (Houston Texans)
This isn’t a knock against either, it’s just the least-experienced of the 32 QB-WR1 combos. Stroud is a rookie, duh, and Collins played 24 total games over his first two seasons.
So keep expectations reasonable. Let’s see how these two fare in their first dance together.
31. Bryce Young and Adam Thielen (Carolina Panthers)
Young is a rookie. Thielen is a seasoned veteran, but he hasn’t been a Pro Bowler since 2018. This is his first year in Carolina, too, so it’s difficult to project how the Young-Thielen tandem will fare.
30. Anthony Richardson and Michael Pittman Jr. (Indianapolis Colts)
A dual-threat rookie QB like Richardson is tough to project — especially given the limited talent around him.
Jonathan Taylor’s out at least four games, so Richardson will be leaning aplenty on Pittman Jr.
29. Mac Jones and JuJu Smith-Schuster (New England Patriots)
Smith-Schuster played second-fiddle to tight end Travis Kelce in Kansas City, and it paid off with a Super Bowl ring and a $33 million deal from the Pats. Truth be told, though, Smith-Schuster is simply better suited for a WR2 role.
As for Jones, he can only improve after a miserable sophomore year — though we’ll give the blame to head coach Bill Belichick for making Matt Patricia and Joe Judge his offensive play-callers.
28. Desmond Ridder and Drake London (Atlanta Falcons)
London was one of the best rookies last year, hauling in 72 catches for 866 yards and four touchdowns.
But how big will his role be? Ridder also has to give the ball off to Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts. Also, Ridder made just four starts last season…so this duo is awfully tough to project.
27. Jordan Love and Christian Watson (Green Bay Packers)
Watson had nine total touchdowns in 14 games last season. Don’t be surprised if he breaks out this year — even if A-Rod is no longer the one feeding him the ball. Matt LaFleur is one of the game’s brightest offensive minded coaches…after all.
26. Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown (Arizona Cardinals)
We’re not sure how much playing time Murray will see this year, but let’s not forget there were some moments between him and his ex-college teammate last year – including a 140-yard game for Brown against the Rams.
If Murray plays at some point this year, he and Brown will give Cardinals fans SOMETHING to enjoy watching. Their chemistry is solid, we just need to see more of them on the field together — and then maybe they’ll move up in future rankings.
25. Lamar Jackson and Rashod Bateman (Baltimore Ravens)
A healthy Jackson is a top-10 QB in the game. But there are some questions surrounding this duo. One: Will Lamar stay healthy after missing 11 total games – including playoffs – the last two years?
And will Bateman be on the field, having played just 18 total games over his first two years? If yes, how big will his role be in a rush-heavy offense that also added Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor as weapons?
24. Sam Howell and Terry McLaurin (Washington Commanders)
We know Howell made just the one start as a rookie last year, but “Scary Terry” has been putting up elite numbers with mediocre quarterbacks for a while. Even if Howell isn’t the guy in DC, you just know McLaurin is gonna be dangerous — with three straight seasons of 70-plus catches and over 1,000 receiving yards on his resume.
23. Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton (New York Giants)
Jones is an enigma here. Three bad years followed by a solid-enough campaign that got the Giants into the postseason. Now let’s see who the real Daniel Jones is.
Regardless, you can expect Slayton to produce good numbers in the Meadowlands. He’s exceeded 700 yards receiving in three of his four NFL seasons…so the Giants could certainly do worse as far as QB-receiver tandems go.
22. Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Mayfield is unquestionably in the bottom-tier of NFL starting QBs…but Evans is a borderline top-10 receiver with nine straight 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. Evans was putting up these numbers with guys like Josh McCown, Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball before Tom Brady came along.
So don’t expect much statistical regression from Evans — no matter how mediocre or terrible Baker is behind center.
21. Ryan Tannehill and DeAndre Hopkins (Tennessee Titans)
Tannehill has probably hit his peak here in Music City…but having an established WR1 like D-Hop should help prevent him from sinking to, well, levels of a non-starting-quarterback.
A healthy Hopkins can still be a top-10 wideout in the game. But his production largely comes down to how Tannehill performs after last year’s injury-riddled season.
20. Russell Wilson and Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos)
Though Wilson had his worst season as a pro, Jeudy ironically turned in his best — notching 67 catches for 972 yards and six touchdowns.
As we’ve said all offseason: Wilson is only going to get better under future Hall of Famer Sean Payton. There’s no questioning that. The only question is does he return to vintage Russ form? Or is he ONLY a little bit better?
At any rate, Jeudy is used to playing without elite quarterbacks — so expect another strong outing from the Alabama product this year.
19. Justin Fields and D.J. Moore (Chicago Bears)
Fields’ passing numbers certainly aren’t on par with his incredible rushing statistics, but you get the feel that it’ll change this year. Fields finally has a proven WR1 in DJ Moore, who came over in the trade that sent the first overall pick to Carolina.
Moore also has yet to catch passes from a legitimate starting QB. Yet he’s got three 1K campaigns under his belt. We’re sure he’ll make it four with a dual-threat QB now tossing him the football.
18. Kenny Pickett and Diontae Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers)
We won’t be shocked if sophomore and certified highlight reel artist George Pickens takes over as the Steelers’ new WR1. But for now, it’s still the Diontae Johnson show in Steel City.
Pickett had a sluggish rookie year but made some big-time plays with Johnson. Another year of experience should help take Pickett and this Steeler offense to a new level. Do NOT be surprised if Johnson turns in a career year, either.
17. Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper (Cleveland Browns)
Cooper actually had a career-high nine TDs and 1,160 receiving yards — the second-best mark of his career — in 2022 despite mostly catching passes from journeyman backup Jacoby Brissett.
As we all know, Watson was downright awful after returning from his 11-game suspension. But with the rust out of the way, and with more experience in the Browns’ offense, Watson should regain his Pro-Bowl like form — and Cooper might push for top-10 receiver status again
16. Jimmy Garoppolo and Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders)
Garoppolo certainly isn’t a top-20 quarterback, but Adams is a top-five wide receiver. So somewhere in the middle feels right here.
Adams could put up all-world numbers again with Jimmy G…but the latter has only been healthy for one full season. You just can’t trust him to play a full season — and if he gets hurt — do you trust Brian Hoyer or Aidan O’Connell to get the ball to Adams?
15. Derek Carr and Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints)
A top-10 o-line AND defense and a spot in football’s worst division? Sign us up for the Carr hype train — he’s going off this year.
And he’s got a wonderful new WR1 option in Chris Olave. The latter missed two games last season and was stuck with Andy Dalton as his main QB, yet the Ohio State product caught 72 passes for 1,072 yards and four touchdowns.
If Carr comes as advertised, don’t be shocked if he and Olave end up being a top-10 QB-receiver duo in 2023. We’re fully sold on this duo.
14. Geno Smith and D.K. Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks)
The explosive Metcalf remains a premier deep threat and TD machine. But you do wonder how much his production could slip now that the Seahawks have not one, but three dangerous receivers with Jaxon Smith-Njigba joining Metcalf and Lockett.
13. Brock Purdy and Deebo Samuel (San Francisco 49ers)
Purdy and the so-called wingback only shared the field for two regular season contests last year. Then the Purdy-Samuel tandem exploded in the wild card round vs. Seattle, with Samuel hauling in six receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown.
12. Patrick Mahomes and Kadarius Toney (Kansas City Chiefs)
KC is only a top-12 entry here because Patrick Mahomes is the best player in the game right now. If this list was strictly for a QB and his No. 1 pass-catcher, Mahomes and Travis Kelce would take the top spot.
11. Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit Lions)
To some, Goff isn’t a top-20 starter in this league. Fair enough, but his production with Amon-Ra St. Brown simply doesn’t lie.
After a stellar rookie year on a miserable Lions team, St. Brown took it a step further in 2022 by racking up 106 catches for 1,161 yards and six touchdowns. With Jameson Williams serving a six-game suspension to start the season, there’s no doubt who the No. 1 receiver is in Detroit.
10. Justin Herbert and Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers)
Herbert himself is a top-five QB in the game, but how will Williams produce with promising rookie and first-round pick Quentin Johnston now joining the offense?
Throw in Keenan Allen and do-it-all running back Austin Ekeler, and you gotta wonder just how big Williams’ bite at the apple will be. But from what we’ve seen with these two thus far, their placement in the top-10 is more than justified.
9. Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley (Jacksonville Jaguars)
It’s not fair. Lawrence had a breakout year and led the Jaguars to a division title and an epic playoff win over the Chargers last year. And to think his new WR1, Calvin Ridley, didn’t even play a snap last year.
The sky’s the limit for this offense that also features Travis Etienne Jr., Christian Kirk, Evan Engram AND Zay Jones.
8. Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams)
This was unquestionably football’s top QB-WR duo in 2021. Kupp won the triple crown of receiving, Offensive Player of the Year honors and of course Super Bowl MVP after helping the Rams to their first championship in 22 years.
Even though Stafford and Kupp both missed considerable time last year, the latter still racked up 75 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns. Only Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill averaged more receiving yards per game in 2022 than Kupp.
7. Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
It still feels like we haven’t seen these two peak together, because Prescott has missed 17 games to injury over the last three years.
Even without Dak for five games last season, Lamb had a career year with 107 catches for 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns. If No. 4 plays ALL 17 games, Lamb should easily set new career highs.
6. Aaron Rodgers and Garrett Wilson (New York Jets)
Rodgers is a four-time league MVP and future Hall of Famer — while Wilson is the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year winner.
5. Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins)
Miami’s offense was unstoppable when Tua was on the field. He led the NFL in passer ratings and yards per completion last season. It’s a damn shame that three-related head injuries cut into his MVP-caliber season and prompted him to miss the postseason.
If Tagovailoa stays healthy, there’s no telling how crazy-good this tandem could get. Last year, Hill set career highs in receptions with 119 and receiving yards with 1,710.
4. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
Statistically speaking, Cousins is a borderline top-10 QB. But this tandem climbs into the top-four simply because Jefferson is the best receiver in the game.
JJ’s 128 catches and 1,809 receiving yards both led the NFL last season. Is 2,000 yards next in store for the reigning Offensive Player of the Year?
3. Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown (Philadelphia Eagles)
A top-five QB and a top-10 receiver in the game. This tandem is downright glorious.
Brown went off last year with 88 catches for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns despite having to share targets with fellow superstar DeVonta Smith. That was only one year of the Hurts-Brown connection. Don’t be surprised if they’re even more prolific this year.
2. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs (Buffalo Bills)
From 2020 to 2022, Diggs and Davante Adams co-led the NFL in receptions with 338 apiece. Only JJ, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill had more yards than Allen during that span.
Josh Allen went from unfinished product to elite-superstar-MVP-caliber following Diggs’ arrival in Buffalo three years ago. Diggs has exceeded 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards every year with Allen. What more is there to say other than they just need to win a Super Bowl now?
1. Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals)
Burrow was second in our 2023 QB rankings. Chase was our No. 3-ranked receiver. Do the math and consider their playoff success together, and we have little doubt who the best QB-WR duo in football is right now.
Chase missed five games last year but still caught 87 passes for 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns — helping Cincy to a second straight AFC title game appearance. To think it just took home runs on two first-round picks in Burrow and Chase for the Bengals to go from long time loser to NFL heavyweight.
Can’t wait for year three of the league’s ultimate super pass-catching duo!
Who do you think is the NFL’s No. 1 QB-WR duo heading into 2023?
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