Read the title of this article again. Do it once more. Good? Okay, now let’s discuss.
Yes, a case can absolutely be made right now that Davante Adams is one of the ten best wide receivers in the NFL at this point in the 2016 season. Football Outsiders just updated their wideout statistics today, and Adams comes in among the top ten in both of their major statistical evaluations, DYAR and DVOA.
For those unfamiliar with FO’s methodology, DYAR is a measure of defense-adjusted yards above replacement - which is a measure of total production, while DVOA is a per-play measure defined as defense-adjusted value over average. In both measures, Adams ranks in the top ten - he is sixth in DVOA and tenth in DYAR.
Part of the reason for Adams’ success, to be sure, is the fact that he has increased his catch rate from that of previous seasons. Although he hovered around 55% for each of his first two seasons, Adams is catching about 65% of his targets through six games - a marked improvement. He also has improved his yards per reception rate, currently sitting at a career high of 12.5. Add in the fact that he is tied for third in the NFL with five touchdowns and has drawn a pair of pass interference penalties for 68 yards, and you can see some of the contributing factors to his emergence this season.
To be sure, Adams’ big day on Thursday was a major factor in this ranking. That type of performance is virtually impossible to maintain over the course of an entire season unless you are Julio Jones or 2014’s version of Jordy Nelson. Still, Adams has started this season by taking the step forward that everyone expected him to take last year, which is a great sign for a Packers offense that has yet to get Nelson back to normal.