My favorite quarterback-receiver tandem growing up in Jersey was Jim Zorn to Steve Largent a world away at the Kingdome. My uncle would tell me Johnny Unitas to Raymond Berry was the best of all time. So who will be looked upon as the 10 best combos of 2010? Joe Concha (that’s me) has 20 players in mind.
Ben Roethlisberger-Mike Wallace
The Steelers’ vertical passing game has always played a role while winning titles: rushing touchdowns in six Super Bowl victories: 4; passing touchdowns: 10, including five of 40 yards or more. Wallace isn’t Swann or Stallworth yet, but will insert himself into the role of Burress/Holmes quite easily.
Ryan Fitzpatrick-Steve Johnson
Sounds more like a below-average beer pong tournament team. But Fitzpatrick, recently named the fifth-smartest professional athlete by The Sporting News, owns a 99.9 passer rating, and Johnson’s 4 TDs over the past three games have helped him find a home on fantasy rosters. Being on a bad team means cheap scores against prevent and backup defenses.
Kyle Orton-Brandon Lloyd
Once thought to be as boring as Ernie Johnson doing baseball, the Orton-Lloyd tandem is the league’s most dangerous through six weeks. Orton and Lloyd resemble Elway and Rod Smith (minus the cool Orange Crush uniforms) for now, and with the Raiders, 49ers, Chiefs and Chargers coming up, that blistering pace may not slow anytime soon.
Eli Manning-Hakeem Nicks
No. 88 is quickly becoming Cooper’s youngest brother’s favorite target. Props to Hakeem for not jumping on the teen-number bandwagon like almost every other young stud in the league. This is potentially the strongest Giants tandem since Eli and Plax in the dubiously dubbed shotgun offense.
Could you imagine what CJ’s stats would be if he didn’t have three different quarterbacks throwing touchdowns to him this season? Matt Stafford, Shaun Hill (left) and Drew Stanton all have found him in the end zone this season (and yes, I’m counting the overturned one in Week 1 against the Bears).
Aaron Rodgers-Greg Jennings
The Pack may be near the back of the pack in the NFC (didn’t see that one coming, but if you recall I DID write the Rangers would win the World Series), but the offense will spur the team's inevitable turnaround soon. Rodgers and Jennings will lead the way, as evidenced by their 86-yard beauty last week.
Brett Favre-Randy Moss
Kind of weird seeing them on the same team after Favre: Packers, Moss: rival Vikings; and Favre: Jets, Moss: rival Pats. By Week 10, the Vikings will have so many options: geriatric (and apparently horny) Brett, Harvin, Moss, Peterson and Sidney Rice. This will most benefit Favre-Moss, where single coverage will be exploited nicely.
Matt Schaub-Andre Johnson
Inconsistent Houston’s one constant has been the Texas tandem. They hooked up late in Week 6 for a last-second win, encouraging since the Texans haven’t exactly been John Elway in the fourth quarter despite all the talent (Johnson: two straight 1,500-plus-yard seasons; Schaub: top three passer in the AFC in ’09 and ’08) on offense.
Peyton Manning-Reggie Wayne
The Montana-Rice of our era. The two have combined for 63 touchdowns. With one more TD, the duo can pass Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry for the fifth-most TDs by a quarterback-wide receiver tandem in NFL history, only more impressive when considering who’s at the top of the list (Manning-Harrison, 112).
Philip Rivers-Antonio Gates
The Rivers-Gates phenomenon has been on a record pace for QB-TE tandems. Gates is on pace for a 19-TD season, which would blow away the old record by six. Not since Air Coryell and Dan Fouts (also of "Waterboy" fame) and Kellen Winslow Sr. have we seen a more lethal QB-TE tandem. E-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.