The Pro Bowl Games may be new for this NFL season, but Pro Bowl fan voting is back. Who will earn the chance to participate in the festivities at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 5?
Superstars like Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Justin Jefferson could be locks this year, but who are the sleepers? I've got you covered for the offensive skill positions (QB, RB, WR, TE), with five sleepers from each conference.
Each conference gets three QBs on the Pro Bowl roster, and with AFC QBs like Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow once again all over the weekend highlight reels this season, Miami's QB1 could go overlooked. But he probably shouldn't be. The Dolphins are 7-0 in games when he's on the field from start to finish. Mike McDaniel has unlocked Tua's potential in the Dolphins' offense, with the QB reaching career highs in numerous categories so far in 2022, including pass TDs (18), completion percentage (71.0) and passer rating (118.4).
Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb sit atop the AFC running backs throne, as they have for several years, while Houston's Dameon Pierce is making a case for Offensive Rookie of the Year. But despite the Raiders' rocky season, Jacobs has put together a solid campaign in a contract year. He sits fourth in the NFL in rush yards (821) and has rushed for over 140 yards in three games.
Many questioned Jacksonville's decision to sign Kirk to a four-year, $72 million contract in the offseason, but the veteran receiver is proving worth it. Kirk has played a big role in quarterback Trevor Lawrence's Year 2 development, serving as a reliable target anywhere on the field. Kirk didn't log a single 1,000-yard season in his four years in Arizona, but in his first year with the Jags, he's on pace to have 1,154 receiving yards. On top of the yardage, he's already reached the end zone more than he did in any other season in his career, posting seven TD receptions.
In his first year in Cleveland's run-first, Nick Chubb-centered offense, Cooper has been quietly productive in the pass game. He leads the Browns in targets (69), receptions (42), receiving yards (569) and receiving TDs (five). Imagine the jump in his numbers when Deshaun Watson returns to the field in Week 13.
Somewhat similarly to Tua Tagovailoa, Waddle has taken a bit of a backseat to Tyreek Hill and Mike McDaniel this season, despite showing out every time he takes the field. Sure, Hill has opened up the Dolphins' passing offense due to his dynamic and special skill set, but Waddle has been every bit the player he was in 2021 and then some. The second-year pro is on pace to surpass his rookie numbers (104/1,015/6) with 878 receiving yards (fourth-most in the NFL) and six TD catches in 10 games.
If Geno Smith wasn't named Geno Smith, he'd be talked about more in football circles for what he's doing this season. He's having the best season of his 10-year career after serving as a backup for six seasons on various teams. Smith leads the league in completion percentage (72.8), is fifth in pass yards (2,474) and has a 17:4 TD-to-INT ratio. No one outside the facility thought the Seahawks would be leading the NFC West heading into their Week 11 bye, but Smith's play is a big reason why Seattle is in that position.
Fields' talent and big playmaking ability have been on display over the last few weeks. The shine and respect given to him will be limited by the Bears' low win total (three), but he's proven he can be Chicago's franchise QB as a dual-threat player. He leads all quarterbacks and is sixth in the NFL with 749 rush yards, and his yards-per-carry mark since Week 3 (8.3) also paces the NFL in that span (min. 10 carries). Fields has a league-high 27 first-down carries on third down this season.
Jones has done everything for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense this season. The veteran running back leads the team in carries (131), rush yards (738) and rush TDs (two) and is second in receptions (34) and tied for second in TD receptions (three). With other NFC running backs (Barkley, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey) getting more attention, the one-time Pro Bowler could sneak in as a sleeper option in 2022.
With Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry sidelined for much of the season, Olave has been as he was advertised in the draft. Between Week 2 and Week 9, he logged seven straight games with four-plus catches and 50-plus receiving yards. Olave leads all rookies in receptions (46) and receiving yards (658, 13th in the NFL). He's been a bright spot for an inconsistent Saints offense in 2022.
A majority of the big-name tight ends reside in the AFC, with just a handful of NFC studs (Dallas Goedert, T.J. Hockenson, Kyle Pitts and George Kittle) combining star power with production. So there's a real possibility the Bears' second-year playmaker sneaks in. Kmet hasn't accrued the yardage (274) others have this season, but he's hit pay dirt five times (tied for second among TEs) for the Bears, thanks to a budding chemistry with Justin Fields.
Each week in the 2022 campaign, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr will take a look at all offensive players and rank his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season's efforts. The Week 11 pecking order is below.
With a Bills loss and Chiefs win Sunday, the Chiefs are back in the AFC's driver's seat, and Mahomes is the front-runner in the MVP race, as he threw four TD passes to four different Chiefs, including newcomer Kadarius Toney, against the Jags. Kansas City's QB1 now leads the NFL with 2,936 pass yards and 25 pass TDs through 10 weeks.
Despite having just 44 receiving yards in Sunday's win over Cleveland, Hill still holds the NFL's top spot with 1,148 yards, leading Minnesota's Justin Jefferson by 88. The takeaway from Miami's weekend, though, wasn't necessarily that Hill didn't contribute. Rather, it's that everyone else, from newcomer Jeff Wilson Jr. to wideout Trent Sherfield, got more involved.
The Eagles were handed their first defeat of the season Monday night, with the Commanders executing a game plan that controlled the clock. Still, Hurts played well in prime time, tallying a pair of TD passes and a TD sneak. He did commit one of the Eagles' four turnovers on a deep pass to A.J. Brown, a perfectly placed ball that ricocheted between Brown's hands and the defender's, ultimately landing in Darrick Forrest's mitts. It was a weird night, but the loss was far from Hurts' fault.
Just look at THIS CATCH! I mean, what more is there to say about Jefferson's heroics in Minnesota's statement win over Buffalo? Here's another example of his brilliance: He was responsible for nine receptions with a sub-50 percent completion probability on Sunday, according to Next Gen Stats. It's the most in a game by any receiver in the NGS era -- no player previously had more than six. If Jefferson hadn't convinced you prior to Sunday that he'd be the best receiver league-wide by the end of the season, he likely has now.
Tua's been close to entering my list for a few weeks, and it's finally time. (Remember, we bypassed these rankings to focus on other timely topics.) Tua has solidified his position in the top five with his performances over the last three games, with 969 pass yards, nine pass TDs, zero picks and a 137.7 passer rating in that span. His play has the Dolphins off to their best start to a season since 2001; he has them sitting atop the AFC East heading into Week 11.
The Broncos' defense was determined to shut down the run and force Ryan Tannehill, who returned after missing two weeks, to win the game. As a result, the Titans posted a season-low 63 yards on the ground, with Henry logging 53 of them, snapping his five-game streak with 100-plus rush yards. Tennessee has a quick turnaround this week before a Thursday Night Football showdown in Green Bay, so expect the team to get Henry going early against the Packers.
The Giants started the post-bye portion of their schedule on a high note, beating the Texans 24-16 due to big days from Barkley and Daniel Jones. The star running back tallied a career-high 35 carries for 152 yards and a 2-yard score, further proving just why New York should extend him through 2023 and beyond.
The Chiefs continued to cruise in the AFC West with a routine win over the Jaguars on Sunday while the Chargers, Broncos and Raiders all lost. Kelce led the Chiefs with six receptions (tied) and 81 receiving yards, including a 7-yard TD in the third quarter. Tied at the top of the NFL with eight TD catches this season, Kelce is already just one away from matching his 2021 total.
The Ravens (6-3) come out of the bye sitting at the top of the AFC North with dates against the Panthers, Jaguars and Broncos up next. His last time out, Jackson was playing some of his best football of 2022. It feels like cruise control for Baltimore right now.
The Browns scored on their opening drive and were again driving on their next possession before a rare Chubb fumble gave Miami the ball back. The Dolphins scored 17 straight points after that, ultimately putting the game away midway through the third quarter. Though Chubb did end up scoring on a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter, that fumble was a major turning point.
Allen was lights out in the first three quarters against Minnesota and put any concerns about his elbow injury to rest. But three Allen giveaways in the fourth quarter and overtime allowed the Vikings to dig out of their 17-point deficit and hand the Bills their second-straight loss:
- Allen threw an INT to Patrick Peterson on fourth-and-2 from inside the Vikings' 10-yard line.
- Allen botched the snap on the Buffalo 1-yard line with 49 seconds left after the Bills held the Vikings out of the end zone on fourth down. Minnesota recovered the fumble for a TD and took the lead.
- Allen threw an INT in the end zone to Peterson to end the game in overtime.
This is a great team, but Allen's poor decision-making of late is costing the Bills big time, as they now sit third in the AFC East, behind Miami (7-2) and the Jets (6-3).
Diggs had 128 receiving yards on 12 catches (16 targets) in Sunday's loss to his former team, including this impressive snag, during which it looked as if he was playing that kids' toss-and-catch game with the Velcro paddle. Diggs now has six games with at least 100 receiving yards this season.
The Raiders (2-7) are struggling, no doubt, and they're trying to get things figured out -- Derek's emotional press conference expressed as much. Adams was a bright spot in Sunday's loss to Indy, with nine catches for 126 yards, including a 48-yard TD in the fourth that gave the Raiders the lead.
A slow offensive start combined with the lack of a run game ultimately doomed the Seahawks in Germany. Smith and the offense were flat for a majority of the game; through three quarters, he threw for just 167 yards, while the Seahawks scored just three points. Seattle rallied in the fourth, with Smith having 108 pass yards and two TDs, but the 'Hawks were against the clock at that point. Though the loss snapped a four-game win streak, Seattle has time to regroup, with a bye up next.
Burrow and the Bengals have won three of their last five and have their second meeting of the season with Pittsburgh. The last time these two teams faced off was in Week 1, when Burrow was sacked seven times (!) and threw four picks. You know he's going to be ready for a rematch coming out of the Bengals' Week 10 bye.