Passing offense is king in the NFL.
Having reliable receivers is essential. Having two standout receivers is obviously preferable, but it is not always obtainable. Few teams have two top quality receivers, but some teams are so blessed.
Here is a look at the best receiving tandems in the NFL seven weeks into the 2016 season:
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders: Cooper and Crabtree are the best tandem of receivers in the league right now and it’s not even that close. Cooper, the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2015, has 40 catches for 614 yards and a score. Crabtree has 39 catches for 461 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is having a career resurgence after joining the Raiders as a free agent from San Francisco last year. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr trusts both of these receivers and it shows. Both can dominate a game.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos: These two aren’t as good as their AFC West rivals, but Thomas and Sanders are very productive and they both move the chains. They will get more productive as Denver quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch get more experience.
Marvin Jones and Golden Tate, Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson may be retired, but Matthew Stafford is having a great season throwing the ball, and his top two receivers are reasons why. Jones is averaging 18.9 yards on 33 catches and Tate has 31 catches. That’s solid production.
A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals: This duo, of course, is mostly fueled by great top-level production. But LeFell is a decent No. 2 option, and he is producing.
Antonio Brown and Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers: This is similar to what is happening in Cincinnati. Brown is the show. But Coates has big speed and has made some big plays. But the youngster needs to become more consistent catching the ball. But this is already a good twosome.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, New York Giants: This duo has a chance to be at the top of the list some day. Beckham can be a brilliant player when his head is on straight, and he is only 23. Shepard is a rookie who has 31 catches. They have help with a finally-healthy Victor Cruz as well.
Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: There’s Jordy Nelson, as well, of course. He is returning after missing last season. Cobb and Adams are not perfect players, but they are a solid pair. Don’t discount Nelson, either, when he returns to full form.
Jamison Crowder and DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins: Crowder is a small second-year receiver from Duke who is making waves this season. Jackson isn’t dominant, but he still must be accounted for. It is a solid duo for Jay Gruden’s team.
Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys: This will be an interesting tandem to watch down the stretch. Bryant, of course, is premier player. He has been out several weeks with an injury. Williams is best suited as a No. 2 and he will get a boost from Bryant’s return. Slot receiver Cole Beasley helps this group as well.
Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints: Cooks is a second-year standout and Thomas is excelling as a rookie. There’s also second-year player Willie Snead. Really, this is more than a threesome than a duo. Drew Brees has his pick of young receiving options.
Mike Wallace and Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens: They aren’t young, but they are gritty. Wallace still has his speed and Smith is one of the toughest receivers ever to play.
Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets: Marshall is still a receiving threat and Enunwa, a third-year player, has emerged this season as Eric Decker was lost for this season with a shoulder injury. The Jets’ passing game has issues, but it’s not because of the receivers.
DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Houston Texans: These two can jump up the list very, very quickly. Hopkins is one of the game’s best receivers at 24. Fuller was a first-round pick this season. This is a duo to watch closely.
Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams, San Diego Chargers: These two deserve a lot of credit (along with quarterback Philip Rivers) as the Chargers offense adjusts to another serious injury to star receiver Keenan Allen. Benjamin and Williams are both young players. But both are contributing to a productive San Diego offense.