All-Star Team of the Week: Week 15

Gordon McGuinness picks out the best performers of Week 15 as the end of the regular season draws near.

| 3 years ago

All-Star Team of the Week: Week 15

2014-TOTW-WK15We’re now closing in on the end of the regular season, and this week saw the first teams stamp their spots in the playoffs as others edged close and closer to a high draft pick. It’s looking more and more likely we’ll have a losing record claim the NFC South, while the AFC North could easily feature three 10 win teams. With all that the favorites are starting to be clear for the individual end of season awards too, with some of them featuring in this Week’s All Star Team of the Week.

So who made the Team of the Week this week? Let’s find out.

(Note: Team will be updated as needed after Monday Night Football and by Wednesday when All-22 footage helps us study plays in even more detail.)


Quarterback: Drew Brees, NO (+4.3)

As much as the Saints have struggled this season, Brees is still battling it out with Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers to see who will be our highest graded QB in 2014. He has clinical against the Bears, completing over 80% of his passes and throwing three touchdowns.

Honorable Mention: Joe Flacco, BAL

Running Back: Marshawn Lynch, SEA (+1.7)

An interesting week at running back where we saw a number of players impress on very few carries. Lynch was as dependable as always though, rushing for 91 yards and forcing 11 missed tackles in the process.

Honorable Mention: Arian Foster, HOU

Fullback: Bruce Miller, SF (+1.4)

Miller fought off competition from several other full backs this week with some solid performers across the board at full back. In the end, his work as a blocker to go along with a pair of short catches was enough to see him get the nod.

Honorable Mention: Henry Hynoski, NYG

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, NE (+4.4)

He may have caught just three passes, but they went for a total of 96 yards and a touchdown and came accompanied with some impressive work as a run blocker. That combined was enough to see him make the team over Greg Olsen, who had a big day as a receiver.

Honorable Mention: Greg Olsen, CAR    

Wide Receivers: Demaryius Thomas, DEN (+4.0) and Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (+3.6)

Continuing his impressive rookie season, Beckham pulled in 12 catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns, earning himself the highest receiving grade of any wide receiver this week. Thomas wasn’t far behind though, with 123 yards and a touchdown of his own in the win over the San Diego Chargers.

Honorable Mentions: Dez Bryant, DAL and Harry Douglas, ATL

Tackles: Joe Staley, SF (+4.3) and Bryan Bulaga, GB (+4.6)

Staley wasn’t perfect in pass protection, giving up a hurry, but made up for it with the highest run blocking grade by an offensive tackle this week. Bulaga stood out, even as the Packers stumbled against the Buffalo Bills, finishing the game with zero pressures allowed and some solid work as a run blocker.

Honorable Mentions: Andrew Whitworth, CIN and Derek Newton, HOU

Guards: Evan Mathis, PHI (+4.7) and Kevin Zeitler, CIN (+6.4)

Two standout performances as run blockers from Mathis and Zeitler here, with the Bengals guard a big reason for Jeremy Hill’s big day with his best game of the season so far. Mathis continued his run of form that has seen him grade positively in every game since his return from injury in Week 10.

Honorable Mentions: Logan Mankins, TB and Andrew Gardner, PHI

Center: Travis Frederick, DAL (+4.9)

Frederick earns the nod as our starting center for the second week in a row with another dominant performance as a run blocker. Perfect is pass protection too, he beats out Corey Linsley purely because of his superior run blocking.

Honorable Mention: Eric Dietrich-Smith, TB


Turn to Page 2 for the best performers on defense…

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Jason Williams

    ODB is the truth. One of my best fantasy pickups ever. I love watching that kid play.

    • Shizzle Dawg

      Ol’ Dirty Bastard


        straight from the brooklyn zoo

  • Bobby

    Flacco has really stepped up since that Steelers game. He’s a top ten QB ithis year.

    • Dewy101

      He’s played very well all season. I think he’d like to have that week 8 game against the bengals back. It’s funny because all the QBs ahead of him have higher graded out targets.

  • Fintasy

    I believe a competitive team can be put together just off mid-level trades and drafting. The two corners of the week (Vontae & Aqib) were gotten by their teams for a 2nd round pick (V Davis to Colts) and a 4th round pick (Talib to Pats, and then as a free agent to the Broncos). Nothing too splashy, and these guys are often listed here in the top performers article.

    • VJ

      You can field a competitive team just off drafting if you hit every pick… no one does. Same goes for trades. Thing is, for every positive trade there’s as many if not more horrible trades. Plus mid-level trades are for short contracts when with former 1st rounders like Davis and Talib. Talib left after a year with the Pats for money. They both got new contracts at ~10M average this year.

      • [email protected]

        I’m confused, what high end trades are made in the NFL? Its pretty rare. Doesn’t every team build through the draft and mid level trades?

        • VJ

          Yeah, of course… if you add acquiring FAs / UDFA in the off-season as they make up the majority of most rosters. Here I was talking specifically about trades, not FA pick-ups, which might be the source of your confusion. I wasn’t trying to imply that “high end” trades are necessary to build a competitive team either – it’s not – but that guy made it sound easy to build one by just drafting well and then acquiring “diamond in the rough” players via trades, specifically referring to V Davis and Talib’s deals – 1st rounders / potential top level talent still in rookie contract traded for lower round draft picks. I’m assuming he’s saying that way you can build an overall competitive roster cheaply.

          My main point is it’s not viable strategy as no team’s FO/GM is supremely talented/lucky enough to either hit on every draft pick or at identifying under-valued/utilized talent elsewhere and projecting their success on their roster. As you said high end trades are pretty rare, which is true. I was saying finding “high level” talent at a cheap rate is especially rare and always risky; otherwise the teams wouldn’t be willing to trade on the cheap.

          Talib and Davis were traded despite flashing top level talent early on and for much less than their value because they were viewed as “problem players” and unhappy on their respective struggling teams. Talib was also suspended for PED use so Pats got him for just a 4th rounder mid-season. He came in instantly improved secondary but the stigma he carried forced him to play the next season on a 1 yr “show me” deal at under $5M/year. That ranks as one of Belichick’s better in-season trades.

          BB has a well-deserved reputation for getting the best out of talented but problem players / locker-room cancers. His likely best trade was for Randy Moss from Raiders (where he stunk/very unhappy) for a 4th round pick and low contract as Raiders had paid the bonus. He also scored with Corey Dillon (2nd round pick) Welker and many others. Despite arguably the best track record this past decade at identifying great values deals, BB still has swung and miss plenty. Albert Haynesworth still had on/off field issue was cut and Chad Ochocino in his late career from Bengals for 5th/6th pick and restructured contract was a total flop. So what I was getting at is even the best at acquiring POTENTIALLY high level, impact players needed to put a team over the top are never going to be even close to batting 1.000.

          To use your Seahawks (I assume) as an example, despite arguably the best drafters lately (Wilson, Sherman, Kam all later round hits), they of course still have to supplement with FA’s but also do a good job with trades to build a complete team. B/C Seahawks spent so much (salary on FA / 1st round picks on defense like ETIII) they sought playermakers on offense thru trades. Seattle has more trade hits than busts, like Beast Mode, traded for 4th rounder from Bills. This mid-season for a 1st rounder (12th overall) and the Bills parted b/c he was also viewed as problem player w/ DUIs etc. and expendable b/c they had CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. Win for Carroll/Schneider. Then they trade for Percy Harvin (1st/4th/6th), who despite three productive seasons had some lockerroom and injury issues, and turned out to be total bust. Now the Jets picked up a potential player-maker for a 4th – but since they’re, well.. the Jets he’s done very little as expected and already injured, hehe.

          So to finish my long-winded reply, the guy I originally replied to was referring to two rare exceptions of highly favorable trades of budding talents on poorly managed franchises. Those types of trades (even for veteran high end talents) are usually risky due to abnormally low performance, off-field behavior, or injury issues. Even savvy teams with great trading records have their misses.

        • VJ

          And to answer your Q – like I said, I agree high end trades are rare. Even decent quality players are rarely traded without extenuating circumstances. Still historically, there are quite a few important trades I can think of off top of head:
          Brett Farve (second yr) to Packers ’92 – I think 1st or 2nd to Falcons
          Cowboys mega trade with Hershel Walker in ’89, many picks including first rounder Emit Smith – key for their early 1990s dominance
          Randy Moss / Welker to Pats monster ’07 – w00t!… so *** close to perfection.
          Steve Young to 49ners (rookie yr in mid 80s) from Bucs who had drafted Vinny Testeverde… no backsies!
          Marshal Faulk to Rams from Colts in ’00 for 2nd rd pick – helped Rams win SB XXXIV

  • Get Bizzy

    JPP Had 2.5 Sacks This Week!! Why Didnt He Make It??