Top 10 graded NFL wide receivers - after Week 5
After five weeks into the NFL season, the ‘cream of the crop’ has started to rise to the top of our PFF Player Grades, maybe not more noteworthy than the list of receivers who top the rankings of our wide receiver grades.
Measured by more than just receptions, yards and touchdowns, our PFF Player Grades for receivers account for all snaps a receiver logs in every game. From run blocking to discipline to a number of our PFF Elite signature stats and all in between, these receivers have been the best, all-around receivers through Week 5 of the NFL season.
PFF Grade: 89.6
PFF Elite Stat: Brown has forced seven missed tackles, which is second-most among all receivers.
Brown is picking up right where he’s been for the past few seasons as the top receiver in football. He’s averaging an elite 2.70 yards per route run and leads the NFL with 195 yards after the catch. Brown has also not dropped a single pass this season and his 40 catchable targets are the most among receivers without a dropped pass. Brown is on pace for a third 120-plus reception, 1500-plus yard season, which would be the third such season of his career. No other receiver in NFL history has more than one.
PFF Grade: 87.0
PFF Elite Stat: Jones is averaging 2.95 yards per route run this season, which ranks first among receivers.
Despite dealing with injuries early this year, Jones is still dominating at a level that few receivers can reach. He’s leading the league with his 2.95 yards per route run and his 6.4 yards after catch per reception ranks fifth among receivers with at least 10 receptions. Jones also has yet to drop a pass this season and has forced three missed tackles. Jones has been practicing fully and looks as though his injury will not affect what’s looking to be another elite season for the receiver.
PFF Grade: 86.4
PFF Elite Stat: Green is averaging 2.91 yards per route run, which ranks second among receivers.
Green is yet another familiar face when discussing the top wide receivers in football. Despite a struggling Bengals offense early in the season, Green has consistently played at a high level. He’s averaging a very impressive 2.91 yards per route run and has forced six missed tackles. Since the Bengals changed offensive coordinators after Week 2, Green is top three in the NFL in receptions, yards, and yards after the catch.
PFF Grade: 84.8
PFF Elite Stat: Diggs has caught eight deep passes (20-plus yards in air) and has a 61.5 percent catch rate on deep targets, both of which are the highest marks among receivers with at least five deep targets.
Despite a down week in Week 5 while dealing with an injury, Diggs remains one of the highest graded receivers in the NFL. Minnesota quarterbacks have a combined passer rating of 138.1 when targeting Diggs, which is the third-highest mark in the NFL. One of the biggest reasons that Diggs is having the level of success that he is this year is that he’s catching the ball much further downfield than he had in the past. While the past two years he averaged catching the football around 7.4 yards downfield, this season that has jumped to 13.3 yards downfield.
PFF Grade: 83.2
PFF Elite Stat: Garcon hasn’t dropped a pass yet this season on 28 catchable targets, the third-most targets seen without a drop among receivers.
Despite playing on one of the worst teams in the NFL, Garcon has shown he really is one of the best receivers in the NFL. Garcon is proving that he can succeed no matter who is throwing him the football, as his 2.05 yards per route run is eighth in the NFL among receivers who’ve run at least 150 routes. Garcon also has 126 yards after the catch and three missed tackles forced. Perhaps most impressively, 49ers QB Brian Hoyer has a rating of 91.0 when targeting Garcon, and a rating of 61.5 when targeting any of his other wide receivers.
PFF Grade: 83.0
PFF Elite Stat: When targeting Hill, Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith has a passer rating of 126.6, the second-highest rating among receivers with at least 30 targets.
After a rookie season that saw him flash his incredibly explosive ability, Hill has adjusted to becoming a full-time receiver very well so far. His 2.28 yards per route run average is the eighth-best average among receivers with at least 100 routes run. Hill isn’t doing this just as a gadget receiver running screens and deep routes either. He’s made 11 catches over the middle of the field, almost as many catches as he’s made outside the left and right hashes and behind the line of scrimmage, combined (14 catches).
PFF Grade: 83.0
PFF Elite Stat: Thielen is averaging 2.05 yards per route run from the slot, the third-highest average among receivers that line up in the slot at least 50 percent of the time.
With Diggs already on this list, Thielen makes the two arguably the most dangerous WR duo in the game right now. Despite Diggs being the top deep ball receiver in the NFL, Thielen has still gained an impressive 131 yards on four deep receptions. Both of those numbers are top 10 among NFL receivers this season. While Thielen’s mostly a slot receiver, he’s been effective no matter where he lines up. While he’s run only 63 routes from outside the slot this season, he’s averaged 2.62 yards per route run when doing so.
PFF Grade: 82.2
PFF Elite Stat: Hopkins is targeted on 31.6 percent of the routes he runs, the highest percentage among any receiver with at least 80 routes run.
While a rookie quarterback like Deshaun Watson will almost always have growing pains, it’s much easier to develop when you have a receiver like Hopkins to throw to. Only Antonio Brown has more targets and receptions than Hopkins 60 and 35 so far this year. He’s averaging 1.91 yards per route run and is doing so without getting anything after the catch. Over 85 percent of Hopkins’ receiving yards this season have come before the catch.
PFF Grade: 82.1
PFF Elite Stat: Tate has forced nine missed tackles after the catch, the most among any receiver in the NFL.
Tate is and always has been one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL with the ball in his hands. Despite ranking 23rd in total receiving yards (267), Tate ranks fifth in the league in yards after the catch (140). No receiver has more receptions out of the slot than Tate’s 24, and he hasn’t dropped a single one of those passes. Tate’s averaging 1.58 yards per route run out of the slot this season, where he lines up 81.0 percent of the time.
10. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
PFF Grade: 82.0
PFF Elite Stat: Baldwin’s average of 1.65 yards per route run from the slot is ranked seventh among slot receivers and his zero drops rank first.
Stats aside, Baldwin is doing a fantastic job for a Seahawks offense that has next to no pass blocking. Only one quarterback has been under pressure more often than Russell Wilson, which means that Baldwin is constantly having to change his routes to adjust for Wilson trying to evade pressure. Despite that, Baldwin is averaging 1.73 yards per route run and has yet to drop a pass on 27 catchable targets so far this season.