Best players at every position for Week 5
We had overtime galore, controversial non-catches, and some frenetic finishes in Week 5. But which players stood out for all the right reasons, making our Team of the Week?
(Editor’s note: The team will be updated once A22 review is conducted and Monday Night Football is played.)
Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck, Colts (+4.2)
There’s life in the old dog yet. Hasselbeck was excellent filling in once again for Andrew Luck, and while you might question the opposition, you can’t question the steadying impact he has had. His play is exactly what the team has needed as they wait for Luck to heal up.
Running back: Doug Martin, Buccaneers (+4.0)
This is why Tampa Bay was not prepared to give up on Martin. He’s running as well as any back right now, and his effort against Jacksonville was a case in point.
Fullback: Bruce Miller, 49ers (+1.5)
It hasn’t been the best start to the year for Miller, but the 2011 seventh-rounder found his top form with a strong effort on Sunday Night Football.
Tight end: Tyler Eifert, Bengals (+3.8)
There are times when it’s okay to spend a first round pick on a tight end, and it’s when they turn into the kind of difference maker that Eifert is becoming. He’s making his quarterback a better player.
Wide receivers: Allen Hurns, Jaguars (+2.7) and Allen Robinson, Jaguars (+2.6)
It isn’t all bad in Jacksonville. Both their young receivers are showing signs of developing into reliable targets for their rapidly improving quarterback.
Tackles: Eugene Monroe, Ravens (+5.9) and Ryan Schraeder, Falcons (+5.2)
Easily the best week of tackle play we’ve seen this season, with Monroe returning to hold off a strong challenge from Tyron Smith and Joe Thomas. It wasn’t as competitive on the right side, but Schraeder bounced back from his “Watt-week” grade to top the ranks in Week 5.
Guards: Joel Bitonio, Browns (+6.1) and Zack Martin, Cowboys (+6.1)
Two sophomore superstars delivered the goods with monster weeks. Both were beaten for sacks, which might cloud the judgement, but they were perfect in pass protection outside of that. That, however, isn’t why they made the team. No, it was their superb run blocking that pushed them to the top table.
Center: Jason Kelce, Eagles (+3.2)
After a poor start to the year, it was somewhat refreshing to see Kelce playing near the top of his game. No surprise it coincides with a big day for the Eagles offense.
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: Mike Daniels, Packers (+6.4) and Fletcher Cox, Eagles (+4.9)
Over in Green Bay, there are few players more consistently productive than the excellent Mike Daniels. So why doesn’t he get more love? One player who isn’t short on attention (and rightfully so) is Cox, who made big play after big play against the Saints.
Defensive interior – nose: Marcell Dareus, Bills (+6.5)
There are some truly fine players lining up on the center or shading him, but on their day, perhaps none can be as destructive as Dareus. He was a force in the run game against the Titans.
Edge rushers: Aaron Lynch, 49ers (+7.3) and Khalil Mack, Raiders (+5.6)
But where are the sacks? Simple, sacks aren’t everything. Indeed, Lynch was nearly unstoppable, recording a crazy four hits and eight additional hurries as he got familiar with Eli Manning. Mack was a little more balanced in his display, with his five hurries not nearly as impressive as his five stops in the run game.
Linebackers: Clay Matthews, Packers (+3.7) and K.J. Wright, Seahawks (+3.2)
It might be cheating a little with Matthews getting a few looks at outside linebacker, and duly delivering a big pass rushing game, but you can’t deny his impact. Wright made his impact in a more conventional way for a linebacker, with strong work in coverage, especially.
Cornerbacks: Chris Harris Jr., Denver (+3.5) and Bashaud Breeland, Redskins (+2.9)
Harris would end up with a pick six against just four completions allowed, as Derek Carr probably learned to stay away from him in the future. For Breeland, it was a breakout game, with the Washington secondary expected to be overrun by Atlanta, he stood tall in allowing just three completions, whilst picking off one ball and deflecting two more.
Safeties: Eric Berry, Chiefs (+5.1) and Tony Jefferson, Cardinals (+3.1)
How good is it to see Berry earn a spot on this team? His comeback is a fantastic story, even without him earning the highest grade of any safety this week. Jefferson, one of the multitude of Cardinals safeties, earns this spot with strong marks in coverage.
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
Perfect on the day, and with a new career-long field goal for good measure.
Punter: Chris Jones, Cowboys
That makes it five games for Jones and five positive grades.
Returner: Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers
It wasn’t a big week for the returners, but Rainey was impressive with his punt returning.
For our Worst Team of the Week, highlighting the poorest performances at every position in Week 5, click here.