All-Star Team of the Week: Week 13
After tonight we’ll just be four weeks away from the end of the regular season. There’s no time to wonder where the season has gone to so quickly, though, as the races for the playoffs and individual end of season awards heat up. Before we get to that, however, let’s focus on who the best players from Week 13 were.
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: Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU (+7.0)
Taking advantage of the injury to Ryan Mallett, Fitzpatrick had himself quite the game on Sunday. Adding his name to the growing list of quarterbacks to throw for six touchdowns in a single game this season, he’s helping keep the Texans in the playoff race right now.
Honorable Mention: Joe Flacco, BAL
Running Back: C.J. Anderson, DEN (+4.1)
Have we transported back to the late 90’s and early 00’s when the Denver Broncos could plug any undrafted free agent in at running back and see them have success? Anderson has been phenomenal for them over the past month, and he forced an impressive 13 missed tackles on the ground yesterday.
Honorable Mention: Le’Veon Bell, PIT
Fullback: Ryan Hewitt, CIN (+3.0)
In a week were we saw several fullbacks do some damage as lead blockers, it was Hewitt who stood out as the best blocker of the bunch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Honorable Mention: Henry Hynoski, NYG
Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, NE (+3.0)
You really could take your pick between either Gronkowski or Washington’s Jordan Reed this week. As it is, we have Gronkowski with a slightly higher grade as a receiver, forcing three missed tackles on seven receptions.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Reed, WAS
Wide Receivers: DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (+7.6) and Julio Jones, ATL (+3.7)
That was something to behold from Hopkins, as he proved himself to be Fitzpatrick’s best weapon, lighting up the Titans’ defense for 238 yards. There were several other standouts to choose from as the second receiver here, but Jones just earned it over Calvin Johnson and Kenny Stills.
Honorable Mentions: Calvin Johnson, DET and Kenny Stills, NO
Tackles: Andrew Whitworth, CIN (+5.6) and Lane Johnson, PHI (+3.9)
The Bengals on the whole may not have performed well, but Whitworth was excellent once again, failing to allow any pressure as a pass blocker and doing his best work as a run blocker. Johnson did allow the one quarterback hurry, but that was it in pass protection, while he finished as one of our highest-graded run blockers this week.
Honorable Mentions: Tyron Smith, DAL and Derek Newton, HOU
Guards: Evan Mathis, PHI (+5.6) and Marshal Yanda, BAL (+5.2)
Big games from the two best guards in the NFL. Neither were perfect in pass protection, with Yanda giving up the first pressures he has allowed in the past month, but both were utterly dominant as run blockers.
Honorable Mentions: Orlando Franklin, DEN and Joe Berger, MIN
Center: Nick Mangold, NYJ (+5.9)
A quiet week from centers around the league, or it was until Monday night. Mangold’s run blocking was a joy to watch against the Dolphins, despite the score going against the Jets. He’s our highest graded center this season, and it’s not even close.
Honorable Mention: Jason Kelce, PHI
Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles) and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: J.J. Watt, HOU (+10.1) and Gerald McCoy, TB (+6.6)
All feels right with the world again with both Watt and McCoy dominating once again. Both were utterly dominant as pass rushers. They didn’t do much against the run, though they didn’t struggle either, but combined for three sacks, four hits, and seven hurries.
Honorable Mentions: Cameron Heyward, PIT and Mike Daniels, GB
Defensive Interior – Nose: Johnathan Hankins, NYG (+1.7)
Another strong showing from Hankins against the run this week, adding two defensive stops and just squeezing out Sammie Lee Hill for the starting spot in the middle of our defense.
Honorable Mention: Damon Harrison, NYJ
Edge Rushers: Ezekial Ansah, DET (+5.4) and Justin Houston, KC (+5.4)
It’s not been a dominant second season for Ansah, but he has shown big games in flashes, and this week was one of those occasions. An impressive 12 total pressures against the Bears on Thanksgiving saw him as our highest-graded edge rusher so far this week. A nice rounded performance from Houston saw him register two pressures while batting down two passes, adding some nice work against the run as the cherry on the cake.
Honorable Mentions: Charles Johnson, CAR and Jared Allen, CHI
Linebackers: Danny Lansanah, TB (+5.7) and Nigel Bradham, BUF (+5.1)
Two huge performances at linebacker this week, where Bradham and Lansanah combined to record 19 defensive stops. Opposing quarterbacks tried to beat them on short passes in coverage, but allowing seven and two receptions, respectively, they went for a total of just 36 yards between them.
Honorable Mentions: DeAndre Levy, DET and Brandon Spikes, BUF
Cornerbacks: Darius Slay, DET (+4.5) and Richard Sherman, SEA (+3.2)
Thursday was a good day for some impressive cornerback play, starting with Slay in the opening game. Breaking up one pass and allowing just four receptions for 29 yards, he was outstanding for the Lions. Later, Sherman was in devastating form, allowing just the one reception for six yards while picking off two passes.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Harris Jr., DEN and Xavier Rhodes, MIN
Safeties: George Iloka, CIN (+2.8) and Robert Blanton, MIN (+4.2)
A bigger week for strong safeties than free safeties, but Iloka still impressed for the Bengals, allowing nothing at all in coverage while looking good against the run. Blanton allowed just 11 yards from the five passes thrown into his coverage and came away with a pass break-up.
Honorable Mentions: Jim Leonhard, CLV and Kam Chancellor, SEA
Kicker: Nick Novak, SD: Perfect on his two attempts, including being the only kicker to hit one from 50+ so far this week.
Punter: Johnny Hekker, STL: Six punts, three inside the 20-yard line, and just 4 return yards. Nice work.
Returner: Joshua Cribbs, IND: Another solid week for Cribbs, who put up 180 total return yards.
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