A great quarterback can make mediocre players look good (see Tom Brady and Chris Hogan), but people don’t often take into account how often the reverse is true (Randy Moss and Randall Cunningham). Despite the popular opinion that an offense can run on QB talent alone, I am a firm believer that a great skill position player can have just as big of an impact.
For this list I decided to focus on the best offensive trios. Each trio has a quarterback, but rather than taking the traditional route of each team having one running back and one receiver, I decided it would be more interesting to put every skill player into the list. Meaning that any given team may have 1 RB and 1WR, 2WRs, 2RBs, a back and a tight end … you get the idea. Let’s get into it!
(NOTE: This list is based on players I expect to play during Week 3, so big names such as Devonta Freeman, Joe Mixon, Le’Veon Bell, and Julian Edelman will be disqualified)
(NOTE 2: All stats come from Pro Football Reference)
1. Kansas City Chiefs (Mahomes, Hill, Kelce)
WOW! What a start to the year for this team! Mahomes has already made history by slinging 10 TD passes in the first two games of the season, Hill continues to give defenses nightmares with his backbreaking speed, and Kelce’s athleticism for his sized is paralleled only by Gronk. The scariest thing about this unit?: I could have replaced either Hill or Kelce with Hunt and they would still have earned the top spot.
2. New Orleans Saints (Brees, Kamara, Thomas)
Feels weird putting anyone in front of this dynamic group, but the Chiefs have earned it thus far. Brees continues to silently defy Father Time, putting up a passer rating of 123 through two games. Thomas is on pace to shatter the NFL record for completions in a season, staking his claim as one of the top 5 wideouts in the league. Kamara is yet to match his phenomenal performances last year, but he continues to be a lethal weapon through the air and his talent will make it so he cannot be held in check for long.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (Rivers, Gordon, Allen)
Too high? Perhaps, but this unit has major firepower. Gordon just dropped a hat trick on the Bills (and my fantasy team), showing he can be dominant through the air or through the ground. Allen is the best route runner in the league and is unquestionably one of the elite wideouts when he’s healthy. Rivers gets largely forgotten about when talking about the best QBs in the league, but he has shown that he can play with the big dogs time and time again. The team isn’t at full capacity yet, but with a healthy Bosa this trios’ ability will shine through.
4. New England Patriots (Brady, Gronkowski, Gordon)
What a huge trade! Gordon is the most talented receiver in the league (you read that right). If he can work out his off the field issues, this group immediately jumps up to the number one spot (alternatively, if he doesn’t pan out this group takes a sharp dive). Gronk is Gronk. Brady is Brady. Nuff said.
5. Los Angeles Rams (Goff, Gurley, Cooks)
Not sure why Goff isn’t getting more respect. He was thrown into a dumpster fire his rookie year and has played great since. Sure, he has some work to do, but I’m yet to find a second-year quarterback who has complete mastery of the game. Gurley is showing that last year was no fluke by continuing to put up best-back-in-the-league numbers. Cooks has elite speed and has quietly put up back to back to back 1,000 yards seasons and is on pace to have his best year yet!
6. Minnesota Vikings (Cousins, Cook, Diggs)
Cousins is making the Redskins look foolish by showing that he is absolutely a franchise quarterback. Cook has a small sample size, but his ability is too great to be ignored. Hard to decide between Diggs and Thielen for the third spot. The two are great compliments to each other and give Cousins much better weapons than many other QBs could even dream of. If this were a list of quartets, the Vikes would be second (just behind the Chiefs), but for the purposes of this list, they sit nicely in the #6 spot.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
(Roethlisberger, Brown, Smith-Schuster) Tough start to the season for Pittsburgh. One has to wonder if the absence of Bell would be the difference between 0-1-1 and 2-0. I’m not just talking about on-field talent (Conner has been killing it), but the locker room issues he seems to have made worse. Anyways, the Steelers still have uber-talented weapons. I think a legitimate argument can be made for Antonio Brown being the greatest receiver of all time (and he’s still in his prime!). JuJu is one of the most exciting young players to watch, as he somehow manages to carve out a massive role despite all the talent around him. Big Ben’s first game can be largely disregarded (the weather was horrendous). He’s still in the top tier of quarterbacks.
8. Texans (Watson, Hopkins, Fuller V)
After a slow start, Watson started to look more like the Watson we’re accustomed to in the second half against the Titans. Hopkins makes unbelievable catches more than most receivers make routine ones. Fuller is a big drop off from the other two, but his deep threat cannot be ignored.
9. Green Bay Packers (Rodgers, Adams, Graham)
This is not a statement about Rodgers. Rodgers continues to make things happen (with a busted knee) that no one else in the league can. However, I’m not nearly as big on Adams as others seem to be. He drops the ball far too often. People point to his stats, but they are largely inflated by not having talent around him to compete with. Graham has potential, but the Packers haven’t utilized a TE properly since Finley, so his ceiling is lowered.
10. Buccaneers (Fitzpatrick, Evans, Jackson)
Bucs fans may feel disrespected being this low after putting up two juggernaut-esque performances, but I stand as probably the only person in the country who is still skeptical of Fitzpatrick. If he were making his first few starts it would be one thing, but he’s been in this league too long and has underperformed for too long for me to sell into all this hype after two good games. Evans and Jackson, on the other hand, are legit. Jackson has managed to not lose a step despite being an 11-year vet and Evans has seemed to fix his dropping issue. No matter who spearheads this team in week 4 and beyond, these two should help lead this offense to great things. Just missed: Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Panthers