At this point of the season a lot of analysts like to rank their top players by position, as we have gotten a good impression of the top players in the league. I chose a different way, as I decided to rank my top ten offensive players in the league right now outside of the O-Line regardless of position. My criteria includes playmaking ability, consistency and health. By that I mean players who have been contributors for their teams for the majority of the season and in critical moments. At the top stands:
1. Tom Brady:
You just have to give it to him. I doubted the Patriots before the season started because of what they had at the cornerback position and while their front seven certainly helps them overcome a decimated position group, it’s Tom Terrific who wills them to wins every single week. There might have never been a player that unselfish, who at the same time can completely take over the game. The Pats were unable to get anything from their ground game as Brady handed it off just five times for a single yard. He did it all. The thing that makes this season so crazy is that he has the by far the least-experienced offensive line he’s ever had (other than Sebastian Vollmer no one has started more than 12 games) and they are ranked second to last in rushing yards per game.
2. Aaron Rodgers:
It’s ridiculous those two picks he threw at Lambeau after not throwing an interception in nearly 600 passes at home (49 of them went for TDs) was talked about that much. To me that just shows even more how good this guy really is. He controls the of scrimmage, always finds the open receiver, creates plays on his own and dictates the defense the way he wants to. A-Rod picked up right where he left off as the league MVP and he’ll probably battle for that trophy with the guy I have ranked just ahead of him.
3. Julio Jones:
No question in my mind who the best receiver in the league right now is. Julio just makes everyone trying to cover him look bad. Whether that is with speed, strength, vertical ability or ball skills – he has it all. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan uses him that way as well, as no other receiver might have more plays designed especially for him. And with Matt Ryan he has a quarterback, who trusts him 100%, because he never disappoints him. I think he’ll wear the crown for wideouts for the next 5-10 years.
4. Le’Veon Bell:
This guy missed the first two games of the season and is already back in the top five in rushing yards while averaging five yards a carry. When you can do that, you can just line up, take the ball and move it over the entire field yourself and he has done that already. Just watch the game against the Chargers. He just took those snaps and waited for the right moment to explode through the open hole and pick up his four of five yards, sometimes even without the threat of the quarterback throwing the ball. He has proven he can take the load and now with Big Ben returning to the lineup opposing defenses won’t be able to single in on him, as they have to respect the pass more. That’s scary.
5. Rob Gronkowski:
Speaking of scary – show me someone who wants to cover Gronk. Can’t find anyone? Thought so. There’s nobody like him in the league. I know we use that phrase way too often, but he is the true definition of a matchup nightmare. He’s too fast for linebackers, too big for defensive backs and absolutely dreadful to bring down for anybody in the open field.
6. Adrian Peterson:
All Day hasn’t missed a step in an entire year away from the field. The two words that describe him the best to me are explosive and powerful. There might be faster and stronger players at his position, but no one can run like that and have people bounce and slip off of him that way. I feel like he could carry it more than 20 times a game, as he does right now. He’s hungry.
7. Larry Fitzgerald:
It’s funny to say a wide receiver has his best season after making the Pro Bowl eight times already, but with Larry it just feels the way. The way he plays is so smart and he just seems to understand the game and his position so well, he doesn’t have to be the best at anything. He doesn’t have to be able to outrun defenses or win on jump balls, but he still can do it and proves that all the time.
8. Devonta Freeman:
Did anyone see this one coming? I certainly didn’t. I knew Freeman could be successful at the NFL level, but this guy has already scored as many points as some entire offenses have (!). He also leads the league in yards from scrimmage with the 1000-yard mark in sight for Sunday. A lot of people thought he’d share the load with rookie Tevin Coleman, but Freeman chose a different path and is moving into a class of his own.
9. DeAndre Hopkins:
How often do you see a wideout who is number one in targets, number two in receptions, number one in yards and has five TDs on a 2-5 team? The Texans just released Ryan Mallett, who pretty much split time at the quarterback position with Brian Hoyer, but no matter who threw the ball for team so far, he’s had trust in Hopkins. While the team has proven to be a mess at times, they have always been able to count on Hopkins.
10. Chris Ivory:
Other than maybe Marshawn Lynch I don’t think there’s a running back defenses fear more than this beast. He is more agile and faster than he looks, but punishes tacklers every bit of what he looks like. His average of 100 yards per game ranks only behind Bell and the rookie Gurley, who started just three games. He is the catalyst to the Jets offense, which looks much more potent than what we thought it would and Brandon Marshall isn’t just biased to call him the best running back in the league.
Just missed out: Todd Gurley, Keenan Allen, Antonio Brown
Gurley looks awfully impressive and by what I’ve seen so far he has a strong argument to be on that list, but I’m not quite ready to put him up there after only three starts. He could be up there at the end of the season though.
Allen might not be one of the biggest names in the NFL, but he certainly plays that way. Right now he leads the league in receptions and is third in receiving yards.
AB is the most complete route-runner in the league and while he and Mike Vick didn’t have a very good connection, 46 receptions for 671 yards isn’t bad for having games where he didn’t see the ball thrown his way a lot.
Names that need to be mentioned: Odell Beckham Jr., Steve Smith, Chris Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Carson Palmer, Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Cam Newton
Check back soon for the top ten defensive players in the league right now!