Green Bay Packers

Is Davante Adams the Best Wide Receiver in Football?

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada (USA TODAY Sports)

After a 10 catch, 173 yard, 1 touchdown performance in a nationally televised game last Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers, those who hadn’t taken notice of the year Davante Adams has been having better have after that because, he just might be the best receiver in the NFL.

In his postgame presser, Adams was asked if he believes he’s the best wide receiver in the game. A fairly clickbait question that made me roll my eyes. What do you expect Davante to say? He says yes there will be a chunk of people who say he needs to take note of other receivers. and that it comes off as arrogant blah blah blah. He says no, some would say he must be lacking confidence or hell, even stretch it out to saying maybe he thinks he deserves the ball more.

Adams answered it as well as could’ve been expected of anyone given the nature of the question by saying he thinks it’s fair to say that and he’s not being conceited, just confident.

I’m not going to suffocate with analytics to drown this out, but I will lob some numbers in your general direction to either avoid or digest.

So far this season Adams ranks No. 1 among wide receivers in target separation. He’s one of the smoothest route runners in the league, and that stat supports it. Adams also ranks first in yards run per route. If it’s a pass play, Adams is most certainly not only on the field, but running routes to try and put defenders in a blender. (Adams being able to consistently run lengthy routes is a big tip of the cap to the big fellas up front giving Aaron Rodgers enough time to throw).

Adams ranks first in red zone catches (11) and is one touchdown (5) behind the leaders (6) in red zone TDs. He’s the No. 1 focal point of any defense preparing for Green Bay’s passing attack, and he’s consistently getting it done anyways at any point on the field, including the red area.

Perhaps the most interesting statistic to me is Adams “Dominator Rating.” This spits out the percentage of receiving yards and receiving touchdowns that a player is responsible for in a team’s total offense. Adams ranks No. 4 in this category and is responsible for 41.4% of the Packers offensive receiving yards and touchdowns. The reason I’m clamoring to this stat so much is because Green Bay doesn’t really have a consistent, true No. 2 wideout. It’s Adams and Adams and some more Adams.

Defenses know it, and they still can’t stop him.

Look at Julio Jones in Atlanta; ALWAYS in the conversation for best wide receiver and rightfully so. He ranks No. 41 in dominator rating, coming in at handling 22.1% of Atlanta’s total percentage or receiving yards and touchdowns. Yes, I know Julio has missed two games this year. Did you know Adams was also inactive for two games?

Part of the reason for Julio’s rankings is the other weapons. Matt Ryan has Calvin Ridley, an emerging star receiver to feed the ball to as well. While this takes away opportunity for Jones, it also helps him in that it’s one more player that the eyeballs of the defense have to worry about. Green Bay doesn’t have that. They don’t have a Calvin Ridley to go with their Davante Adams.

Deandre Hopkins also is always part of the discussion. He’s No. 21 in target separation, No. 14 in dominator rating. Keep in mind that these stats obviously aren’t the be-all end-all, but they tell a story. Kyler Murray has been slinging this season in the desert but again, mouths to feed. Hopkins along with Christian Kirk and the ageless wonder, Larry Fitzgerald.

I could go on and on. The point is this: if you don’t have Davante Adams in your top 3 of best receivers in the NFL right now, at the very least, please find the nearest exit sign. If you don’t like the drowning of the analytics, that’s perfectly fine, zoom out the microscope and break it down simplistically: Every single week the Packers opponent has their No. 1 priority when facing these receivers as, “How the hell do we slow down or limit Davante Adams and his opportunities?” They aren’t worried about the other wideouts on the roster.

And most teams to this point haven’t been able to solve the puzzle. When facing other top receivers in a lot of cases there is a solid Robin to the Batman. Teams facing Atlanta have to ask what blueprint should be used slow down Julio AND Calvin Ridley. It’s the same across the league. Mike Evans AND Chris Godwin. Tyreek Hill AND Travis Kelce. Adam Thielen AND Justin Jefferson. D.K. Metcalf AND Tyler Lockett. Davante Adams……and Davante Adams.

One last tidbit, PFF ranks Adams currently as the No. 1 graded wide receiver. Look who is right behind him.

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