2023 Fantasy Football: Ranking top-10 quarterback and wide receiver duos in the NFL

Below I ranked the top-10 quarterback and wide receiver duos in the NFL for this upcoming fantasy football season. My method was simple: I added together my rankings for each team’s quarterback and their top-ranked wide receivers and put them in order. For example, Joe Burrow is my QB5 and Ja'Marr Chase is my WR2, so they have a score of seven.

You want the lowest combined score, golf style. Those combined scores will be listed to the right of the duo. Any ties went to the wide receivers, as for the most part, their rankings were doing the heavy lifting anyway. Plus, I’m a card-carrying lobbyist for Big Receiver, if you didn’t know. On that note, only wide receivers and not tight ends were included in this exercise. I am sorry.

Last reminder: These are simply ordered based on my redraft fantasy football rankings. If I was to actually put these guys in order of their NFL talent and ability, the list would look quite different. If you contact me on any internet-based platform to complain without understanding that, you should be ashamed of yourself.

1 - Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals (7)

Burrow (my QB5) launched himself into the elite tier of fantasy quarterbacks last season by his of course efficient passing, but also quietly running for 257 yards and five touchdowns. As long as he comes in clean after an offseason calf injury, that small scrambling edge should remain.

Chase is going not just to the moon but beyond in 2023. He’s a mega talent who has shown he can win in all facets of playing the receiver position. He’s my No. 2 ranked wideout and would be the second player I take off the board after his former LSU teammate, Justin Jefferson.

2 - Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (7)

Hurts is my No. 1 quarterback in 2023 and could outkick his already excellent 2022 output. The Eagles' defense was so suffocating last year the offense barely had to produce much in the fourth quarter of games. After some turnover on the defense, that is less likely to be the case this year.

Hurts is an unfair advantage as a passer/rusher combo. A.J. Brown is his No. 1 wideout and firmly in my elite tier of real-life receivers. However, he won’t be the last Eagle you see flying through this ranking.

3 - Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (8)

These two were my unanimous top duo for multiple years in this exercise. Hurts’ emergence and Chase’s continued ascension have challenged their throne. Nevertheless, Allen is still an elite fantasy quarterback and Diggs is one of the safest pass-catchers in the sport. These two could best their previous highs if Allen stays healthy for a full season and more options emerge to make the offense less one-dimensional in big games.

4 - Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith (15)

We get our second Eagles pairing. Smith is my pick as the best pure talent in the crowded “best 1B receiver in the NFL” debate. He’s that good. Smith is a pristine route runner who separates at all levels, defeats press coverage and wins in tight coverage with unreal body control. He’s going high in drafts after producing neck-and-neck results with A.J. Brown … but he’s worth the plunge.

5 - Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (16)

Cousins is my QB15 heading into the season so Jefferson is absolutely doing a lot of the lifting for this ranking. Jefferson is a near-perfect player, as Andy Behrens likes to say. He deals with more extra defensive attention than any pass-catcher in the league and still dominates. It’s wild he was the WR1 overall last season and only scored eight times. He could be even better this time around.

Cousins doesn’t have a high ceiling but even if the stats don’t show it, I think he's coming off his best season after being asked to carry way more of the offensive load in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. He’s an ideal QB2 in Superflex.

6 - Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins (18)

Hill showed he was not a product of Patrick Mahomes by turning in a dynamic season in Miami. You could argue he’s one of the two or three most valuable offensive players in the NFL given all the Dolphins asked him to do. I still have my reservations about Tua leading a fully on-fire passing attack like we saw in the first half of last season. Even before his final concussion of the year, teams like the 49ers, Chargers and Bills had forced the Dolphins out of their comfort zone. Overall, I believe in the ecosystem and think Tua can bring you week-winning potential in fantasy (others have even higher hopes for the QB).

7 - Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (19)

Prescott has formally entered into the “boring” zone as a fantasy quarterback but he’s still a top-12 option for me. Despite what Mike McCarthy says in front of microphones, this offense is going to throw a ton and has the receiving talent to be quite good.

It starts with Lamb. He entered the superstar club last year and can play all three receiver spots. He’s a 100-catch candidate yet again with two nice perimeter options in Brandin Cooks and a healthy Michael Gallup allowing him to eat from the slot.

8 - Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (20)

The Bengals make a repeat appearance. Higgins is a slight step down as a pure talent from Chase but is an excellent boundary receiver in his own right. Higgins is an underrated route runner and one of the best ball-winners in the NFL. He is a lock for 1,000 yards and could push for 10 touchdowns in any campaign. He could function as a No. 1 receiver for a team without Chase and we saw him do it for a stretch last season.

9 - Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars (21)

I outline in my 2023 Draft Day Blueprint why, despite the near-two-year layoff, I remain extremely all-in on Ridley. At his peak, he was one of the best route runners in the NFL who could separate at all three levels and shred downfield. Ridley was on the Stefon Diggs trajectory.

Lawrence desperately needed a player just like that all throughout the 2022 season, which was already a breakout campaign for the former No. 1 overall pick. I won’t be shocked if Lawrence rockets into the top-five fantasy passers.

10 - Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (25)

These two burned just as bright as ever during their brief time in the 2022 NFL season. Kupp is certainly doing the heavy lifting for this list, as the lack of rushing upside and questionable non-Kupp players in LA are keeping Stafford’s rank depressed. Kupp himself is also a little bit of a risk himself considering his age and injury history (including a preseason hamstring issue). For now, I’m still in on Kupp turning in another great season and having them hang on to this spot.

Honorable Mention (Combined Score of 25 to 29)

Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns

Typically a volatile player, Cooper had the best year of his career on film in Cleveland. Watson, decidedly, did not. I can see this duo going either way in next year’s exercise. They’re so tough to read.

Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle

While Waddle is a great player, he’s still a tier below Hill as an individual receiver. He’s still locked into my WR12 spot overall right now and is a wonderful Round Two selection.

Aaron Rodgers and Garrett Wilson

Rodgers should help Wilson go to the moon. Wilson’s 81.2% success rate vs. press coverage in Reception Perception puts him in truly elite historical company. Rodgers will help get all that reflected in the box score.

The Jets should be a defense and run-heavy team. That might keep Rodgers out of the top-10 fake football quarterbacks.

Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown

Based on last year’s results, I’m underrating Goff at QB20. The lack of rushing upside and questions about the outside receiver position have me a bit hesitant. St. Brown, meanwhile, is an ascending star whom I have zero questions about.

Could be much higher next year

Justin Fields and DJ Moore (32)

One of the rare duos where the quarterback is doing the heavy lifting to bring up the combined score. Fields is destined to tear through fantasy football once again if he runs at a clip even close to last season's output. Moore’s rank is a bit depressed simply because of legitimate concerns about Fields as a pure passer and the volume in this offense overall. While I think Moore is a true No. 1 wideout and a really good player, he’s not quite the transformative talent that A.J. Brown and Stefon Diggs were prior to their quarterback-elevating trades. Still, Moore will make this passing game better so if Fields takes a leap, this duo can easily be top-10 next season.

Anthony Richardson and Michael Pittman (38)

It’s tough to expect Richardson to be a dynamic passer as a rookie but he’s going to be a fantasy star based on his rushing ability. If he’s ready to rock in his second season, there is receiver talent to work with in Indy. I have Pittman ranked ahead of consensus this season and think he’s an underrated wideout who should earn a new contract if he clicks with Richardson.

Closely ranked duos made it complicated

Geno Smith and DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett (28, 30)

I buy Smith’s 2022 season as a legitimate reflection of great play. Metcalf and Lockett are among the best duos in the league and when he’s healthy, rookie Jaxson Smith-Njigba will make them even better.

Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen/Mike Williams (36, 39)

I fear the Chargers receivers are starting the decline phase of their journey as Herbert ascends to his best years. The top two guys will cannibalize each other a bit, especially now with rookie Quentin Johnston entering the mix.

Brock Purdy and Brandon Aiyuk/Deebo Samuel (38, 39)

And it's not like just these two receivers solely competing for targets on the 49ers. Purdy’s setup in San Francisco is what dreams are made of for a quarterback. All that talent does make it hard to get Aiyuk and Samuel too high up your wide receiver board.

Hilarious Gaps

Patrick Mahomes and Skyy Moore (46)

Mahomes is my QB2 entering the season while Moore is my WR44. If Travis Kelce was in this exercise, the Chiefs duo would be No. 1 overall. I do really like Moore as a breakout option this season after a predictable developmental year. He’s an ideal flanker slot and will click with Mahomes.

Lamar Jackson and Rashod Bateman (49)

I am doing the hedge ranking with the Ravens receivers, stacking them all between WR45 to WR47. That’s because I love all three of their games and want you to make sure you leave a draft with at least one of them. I have Bateman ranked the highest because I think he best fits the alpha profile and has played well when healthy in the NFL. All this optimism is reflected in my ranking of Lamar Jackson as QB4 and squarely in Tier 1.