This week, PFF posted an article positing that with the acquisition of Stefon Diggs, the Buffalo Bills “have the best wide receiver group in the NFL,” according to Sam Monson. To be even more specific, here’s how Sam clarified:
Now, without getting bogged down in the relative merits of three good receivers versus two stars (like Tampa Bay, for example which is the only team that had two receivers in the top 10 of PFF grades in 2019), the point was just how impressive the Bills’ trio is. Not only is it good, but it’s balanced, underrated, and each of the three win with the same calling card — separation.
Pure passing volume statistics would not be a fair or objective way to judge the receiver groups for all 32 teams, that’s for sure. But to be even more clear, these are the numbers of Buffalo’s top three receivers for next season from last season:
Stefon Diggs - 63 of 94 targets, 1,130 yards, six touchdowns
John Brown - 72 of 115 targets, 1,060 yards, six touchdowns
Cole Beasley - 67 of 106 targets, 778 yards, six touchdowns
Some may forget that Brown went over 1,000 yards with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 and that Beasley was the Dallas Cowboys leading receiver in 2016 with a rookie Dak Prescott, so these two receivers have also been successful in previous situations. It certainly wouldn’t be a popular theory to say that what success Brown and Beasley did have last year was due to quarteback Josh Allen and the Bills offense.
So while Brown and Beasley are not as popular as some other receivers in a football media world often dominated by fantasy news, I want to make it clear that this is indeed a solid 1-2-3 at receiver.
Is it the best in the league?
The LA Rams of course present an obvious case and probably would rank first right now for many fans. Cooper Kupp would be my top-ranked receiver in the trio and here are there numbers from last season:
Cooper Kupp - 94 of 134, 1,161 yards, 10 touchdowns
Robert Woods - 90 of 139, 1,134 yards, two touchdowns
Brandin Cooks - 42 of 72, 583 yards, two touchdowns
Consider that Cooks has four 1,000 yard seasons, which is only one fewer than Kupp, Woods, Beasley, and Brown combined. Going into next season, would you rather have Buffalo’s starting three or LA’s? They present different skill sets and maybe only Cooks’ injury concerns would hold the Rams group back at this point.
Monson also mentioned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their top two. What if we include the number three?
Mike Evans - 67 of 118, 1,157 yards, eight touchdowns
Chris Godwin - 86 of 121, 1,333 yards, nine touchdowns
Scott Miller - 13 of 26, 200 yards, one touchdown
You could almost throw any third player out there — and I pretty much did — and Evans/Godwin would lift the tides up pretty high on their own. Last season, Breshad Perriman contributed 36 catches for 645 yards and six touchdowns — as many as any of the receivers on the Bills, including Diggs — and we can expect that whoever Arians places as the WR3 will get some action.
Here are some other ones to think about.
Odell Beckham, Jr - 74 of 133, 1,035, four touchdowns
Jarvis Landry - 83 of 138, 1,174 yards, six touchdowns
Taywan Taylor - 0/0 (37 of 56, 466 yards, one touchdown with Titans in 2018)
It would have been the choice many would have made a year ago after the Browns acquired OBJ and on top of that they were actually still productive. But Cleveland lacks a known number three at this point and it’s still unclear if both of their top two are returning.
JuJu Smith-Schuster - 42 of 70, 552 yards, three touchdowns
Diontae Johnson - 59 of 92, 680 yards, five touchdowns
James Washington - 44 of 80, 735 yards, three touchdowns
JuJu was injured, Diontae led all rookies in receptions, Washington was better than I thought he’d be, and they were all playing with non-pro level quarterbacks. I think this group has potential with Ben Roethlisberger back on the field.
Tyreek Hill - 58 of 89, 860 yards, seven touchdowns
Sammy Watkins - 52 of 90, 673 yards, three touchdowns
Mecole Hardman - 26 of 41, 538 yards, six touchdowns
Kind of a stretch and Watkins may be released, but it felt worth mentioning. I think there could be some tremendous upside to Hardman.
Keenan Allen - 104 of 149, 1,199 yards, six touchdowns
Mike Williams - 49 of 90, 1,001 yards, two touchdowns
Andre Patton - 6 of 17, 56 yards, no touchdowns
I’m of the opinion that Williams is a tad underrated and this is a really solid 1-2. They don’t have a three and probably won’t as long as Austin Ekeler and Hunter Henry are commanding attention from whoever is throwing the ball.
Amari Cooper - 79 of 119, 1,189 yards, eight touchdowns
Michael Gallup - 66 of 113, 1,107 yards, six touchdowns
Devin Smith - 5 of 9, 113 yards, one touchdown
Not that strong of a case but two 1,000 yard receivers. Hard to ignore the fact that a lot of teams have two solid receivers, at least. What about the Bengals with A.J. Green returning to join Tyler Boyd? What about Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf? How much is A.J. Brown worth right now and is Corey Davis going to get better? Lots of tandems left off the list.
Kenny Golladay - 65 of 116, 1,190 yards, 11 touchdowns
Marvin Jones - 62 of 91, 779 yards, nine touchdowns
Danny Amendola - 62 of 97, 678 yards, one touchdown
I love Golladay, I think Jones is very good, and Amendola has been consistent for a decade. If the Bills’ three warrants mention because of Cole Beasley, then the Lions deserve mention with Amendola as a three.
Julio Jones - 99 of 157, 1,394 yards, six touchdowns
Calvin Ridley - 63 of 93, 866 yards, seven touchdowns
Russell Gage - 49 of 74, 446 yards, one touchdown
Didn’t even realize Gage had 74 targets. Ridley would’ve had over 1,000 yards again but he missed three games. Why not this group?
D.J. Moore - 87 of 135, 1,175 yards, four touchdowns
Robby Anderson - 52 of 96, 779 yards, five touchdowns
Curtis Samuel - 54 of 105, 627 yards, six touchdowns
Surprising! But like the situation in Pittsburgh, I think Samuel especially got screwed because of the quarterback situation. Maybe Anderson had more potential than what he was getting with the New York Jets too. It’s a solid 1-2-3.
Michael Thomas - 149 of 185 yards, 1,725 yards, nine touchdowns
Emmanuel Sanders - 66 of 97, 869 yards, five touchdowns
Tre’Quan Smith - 18 of 25, 234 yards, five touchdowns
The NFL’s most productive and unstoppable threat at receiver also got a veteran partner this offseason in Sanders. Smith has scored 10 touchdowns in 26 career games. As a fourth option to consider, what exactly is the future of Deonte Harris as an offensive playmaker, if any?
DeAndre Hopkins - 104 of 150, 1,165 yards, seven touchdowns
Larry Fitzgerald - 75 of 109, 804 yards, four touchdowns
Christian Kirk - 68 of 108, 709 yards, three touchdowns
Yeah, this is still very weird to look at. The Cardinals now have a top-three receiver today, a top-five receiver all-time, and a number three who may be a number two on several other offenses. We also can account for the fact that Arizona made another second round selection at WR a year after Kirk, selecting Andy Isabella in 2019. They then took Hakeem Butler in round four and KeeSean Johnson in round six, who got more playing time than Isabella. So there isn’t just a great one, a great 1-2, and a really good 1-2-3, but Kliff Kingsbury has depth to pull from beyond that.
Out of these teams, who has the best 1-2-3 at WR?
This poll is closed
Out of these teams, who has the best 1-2-3 at WR?
This poll is closed