The Ravens' Lamar Jackson set the single-season QB rushing record last season with 1,206 yards. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is in the midst of an era full of explosive  playmakers. When a team puts the ball in the hands of a extraordinary  athlete, they are a legitimate threat to take it the distance and  provide fans with a play they will never forget.

It’s  about more than just speed. While that might help a running back create  some distance or allow a wide receiver to get open deep, that doesn’t  necessarily make someone a dangerous playmaker. 

The ability to make defenders miss, or reverse field and find a hole in the defense that no one else sees, is what separates these players from the rest.

As we look ahead to the 2020 NFL season, these are the five most dangerous playmakers in the NFL today.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

It’s rare for a quarterback to be listed among the league’s most dangerous "playmakers." For all the incredible plays QBs make with their arms, they  just don’t provide the explosive rushing ability to be considered a playmaker. Of course, as he showed during the 2019 season, the unanimous NFL MVP winner is beyond special at quarterback.

Jackson, 23, makes ankle-breaking runs look easy and 40-yard rushing touchdowns appear routine. It’s why he set the NFL’s single-season quarterback rushing record with 1,206 yards. But Jackson's skills go beyond that. He can make impossible throws and rarely turns the ball over. We saw Jackson post incredible stats last season and with coaches raving about his growth as a passer, he will remain an unstoppable playmaker.


The Panthers' Christian McCaffrey broke his own single-season record with 116 receptions by a running back. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

It isn't wise for an NFL team to sign a running back to a record-breaking contract. The mega-deals rarely work out, with the organization often moving on a few years in. ... We aren’t expecting that to be a problem in Carolina as its star should be worth every penny.

Christian McCaffrey’s stats are simply ridiculous. Not only did he rack up 1,387 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, he added 1,005 yards and four scores as a receiver. In fact, McCaffrey, 23, broke his own single-season record with 116 receptions by a running back. When you can do things like this, there’s just no way for a defense to stop you for an entire game. Now under offensive coordinator Joe Brady, we expect McCaffrey to make even more big plays in 2020.


Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill averaged 17 yards per reception in 2018. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

It’s not fair what this man can do on the football field. Defensive backs spend the week before a matchup against the Chiefs dealing with nightmares of Hill turning them into burnt toast. When the game finally starts, Hill goes out and turns those  nightmares into reality.

Frankly, Hill, 26, might have more room to improve based on his insane workouts this offseason. Look at Hill’s stats from 2018, per Pro Football Reference, when he averaged 17 yards per catch and finished with 1,630 yards from scrimmage. A playmaker in every sense of the word, get the football in Hill’s hands and stellar things happen.


Saints running back Alvin Kamara had 1,592 yards from scrimmage on 275 touches in 2018. Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

We did not see the regular Alvin Kamara during the 2019 NFL season. The star running back admitted he played at less than 80 percent health, according to NFL.com, with ankle and knee injuries taking a toll on his explosiveness. He finally started to come alive near the end of the season, which leaves us feeling optimistic for 2020.

This is a player capable of recording 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. As Kamara’s stats from 2018 show — 1,592 yards from scrimmage on 275 touches — he can make plenty of big plays. Defenses might be focusing on Michael Thomas more this season, which could open the field up for Kamara, 24. It will be great news for the Saints and even better for fantasy football owners.


Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin had 86 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine TDs last season. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Everyone had their eyes on Godwin for a breakout season in 2019. Despite QB Jameis Winston seemingly turning the ball over on every other drive, Godwin proved he is one of the most explosive weapons in the NFL. In fact, he could be on the verge of accomplishing even more with Tom Brady now under center for the Buccaneers.

Godwin was among the most explosive playmakers after the catch last season, according to Fox Sports. Just as impressive, according to Pro Football Focus, he finished near the top among his peers in broken tackles. As we look  ahead to the 2020 season, Godwin will now have a more accurate quarterback throwing him the football. Don’t be shocked if he winds up becoming a first-team All-Pro selection and leads the NFL in  receiving yards.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.



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2019 / BAL / QB
Lamar Jackson
2018 / KC / QB
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2017 / NE / QB
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2016 / ATL / QB
Matt Ryan
2015 / CAR / QB
Cam Newton
2014 / GB / QB
Aaron Rodgers
2013 / DEN / QB
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2012 / MIN / RB
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2011 / GB / QB
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2010 / NE / QB
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2009 / IND / QB
Peyton Manning
2008 / IND / QB
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2007 / NE / QB
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2006 / SD / RB
LaDainian Tomlinson
2005 / SEA / RB
Shaun Alexander
2004 / IND / QB
Peyton Manning
2003 / TEN / QB
Steve McNair
2003 / IND / QB
Peyton Manning
2002 / OAK / QB
Rich Gannon
2001 / STL / QB
Kurt Warner
2000 / STL / RB
Marshall Faulk
1999 / STL / QB
Kurt Warner
1998 / DEN / RB
Terrell Davis
1997 / GB / QB
Brett Favre
1997 / DET / RB
Barry Sanders
1996 / GB / QB
Brett Favre
1995 / GB / QB
Brett Favre
1994 / SF / QB
Steve Young
1993 / DAL / RB
Emmitt Smith
1992 / SF / QB
Steve Young
1991 / BUF / RB
Thurman Thomas
1990 / SF / QB
Joe Montana
1989 / SF / QB
Joe Montana
1988 / CIN / QB
Boomer Esiason
1987 / DEN / QB
John Elway
1986 / NYG / LB
Lawrence Taylor
1985 / LARD / RB
Marcus Allen
1984 / MIA / QB
Dan Marino
1983 / WAS / QB
Joe Theismann
1982 / WAS / K
Mark Moseley
1981 / CIN / QB
Ken Anderson
1980 / CLE / QB
Brian Sipe
1979 / HOU / RB
Earl Campbell
1978 / PIT / QB
Terry Bradshaw
1977 / CHI / RB
Walter Payton
1976 / BLC / QB
Bert Jones
1975 / MIN / QB
Fran Tarkenton
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Ken Stabler
1973 / BUF / RB
O.J. Simpson
1972 / WAS / RB
Larry Brown
1971 / MIN / DT
Alan Page
1970 / SF / QB
John Brodie
1969 / LARM / QB
Roman Gabriel
1968 / BLC / QB
Earl Morrall
1967 / BLC / QB
Johnny Unitas
1966 / GB / QB
Bart Starr
1965 / CLE / RB
Jim Brown
1964 / BLC / QB
Johnny Unitas
1963 / NYG / QB
Y.A. Tittle
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