Top 5 Breakout Players Through First Half of 2019 NFL Season

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 27: Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
David Eulitt/Getty Images

With eight weeks of the 2019 NFL season in the books, it's time to look at the league's breakout players on offense so far. All five of these guys are all in the first four years of their career, and are on pace to have remarkably productive seasons.

Whether they've been previously held back by injury, lack of opportunity or other issues, these five players look like bonafide stars who are becoming household names across the league.

5. Darren Waller, TE, Oakland Raiders

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 20: Darren Waller #83 of the Oakland Raiders catches the football against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Darren Waller was the feel-good story of the preseason, highlighted by his featured role on HBO's "Hard Knocks" depicting his return to the NFL after battling addiction issues. He was hyped in fantasy circles as a deep sleeper and has responded emphatically, tallying 46 receptions for 496 yards and three touchdowns. Waller's impressive start to the year puts him on a 16-game pace to rack up 105 receptions, 1,134 receiving yards and seven TDs. That's truly remarkable considering where his career was just a season ago.

4. DJ Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 13: D.J. Chark #17 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during the second quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field on October 13, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Rookie QB Gardner Minshew II has been getting all of the attention for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season, but his top wide receiver should be getting a lot more love. DJ Chark has exploded onto the scene in his second season, hauling in 39 passes for 660 yards and six TDs. The explosive wideout has 13 receptions of more than 20 yards, which is tied for the second-best mark in the NFL, and his six TDs are tied for a league high. Chark was the team's second-round pick back in 2018, but he's exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations this season.

3. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 27:  Running back Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs up field against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Aaron Jones showed plenty of potential during his first two NFL seasons, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. While that number has been down this year, he's been way more productive in just about every other statistical category. Jones has already recorded 11 total TDs and 821 yards from scrimmage. His improvement as a pass-catcher has been particularly noteworthy though, as he's amassed 355 receiving yards through eight weeks after only tallying 206 in 2018. With Davante Adams missing four straight games, Jones' development has helped the Green Bay Packers' offense remain among the league's best.

2. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Chris Godwin #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates his run in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Chris Godwin was one of the most popular breakout candidates in fantasy circles during the offseason. But somehow, the third-year wideout has been even better than advertised. Godwin already has 47 catches for 705 receiving yards and six TDs through seven games. That puts him on an absurd 16-game pace to rack up 1,611 receiving yards, 107 receptions and 14 TDs. The fact that he's been this dominant while playing alongside Mike Evans is all the more impressive. Godwin is looking like a strong bet to make his first Pro Bowl if he can continue his success into the second half of the season.

1. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 13: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Eagles 38-20. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Of all the players on this list, Dalvin Cook has arguably had the biggest impact on his team's success this season. The third-year running back leads the NFL in both rushing yards (823) and rushing TDs (nine). Cook has also been remarkably efficient, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, despite ranking third in the NFL with 156 attempts. If Cook can avoid the injury issues that plagued the first two seasons of his career, he absolutely has a chance to win the rushing title in 2019.

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