Best players at every position for Week 9
There were some big box score performances on Sunday, as the yards flowed for quarterbacks and the sacks flowed for pass rushers. But going beyond that, who would the tape determine worthy of a place on the PFF Team of the Week roster?
Let’s find out.
Quarterback: Derek Carr, Raiders (+8.8)
It may have come in a losing effort, but the performance of Carr only enhanced his resume as perhaps the best young quarterback in the league. He’s taken a huge leap forward this year.
Running back: DeAngelo Williams, Steelers (+4.1)
No Le’Veon Bell, no problem. Williams is running like a man possessed, and gashed the Raiders for 176 punishing yards, including 70 after contact.
Fullback: Tommy Bohanon, Jets (+2.4)
Credit to Bohanon for earning the top run blocking mark of all fullbacks this week.
Tight end: Tyler Eifert, Bengals (+3.0)
It’s hard to beat a man who finds the end zone three times—and couples that with some quality run blocking.
Wide receivers: Antonio Brown, Steelers (+8.8) and Sammy Watkins, Bills (+3.9)
What can you say about the day Brown had that hasn’t already been said? For one thing, it’s the highest ranking we’ve ever given a wide receiver for a single game. Watkins exploded against the Dolphins with a monster effort.
Tackles: Andrew Whitworth, Bengals (+4.6) and Mike Remmers, Panthers (+4.1)
Another game for Whitworth where he simply shut down the opposing pass rush. It’s what he does. Remmers has been a nice find for Carolina, and while he’s had some ups and downs this year, this was his best effort yet.
Guards: Michael Harris, Vikings (+4.4) and Josh Sitton, Packers (+3.8)
If you’d have said that Michael Harris would be the best performer on the Vikings’ line this year, you likely would have received many a quizzical look. His transition to guard has been a roaring success. Sitton is starting to let a few sacks slip through, but his all around play is still fantastic.
Center: Rodney Hudson, Raiders (+2.9)
Performances like this justify the big money the Raiders have given Hudson.
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: Kendall Langford, Colts (+7.7) and Aaron Donald, Rams (+5.0)
While you might think Donald is a pass rushing force for a man his size, it’s his ability to penetrate in the run game that constantly shows up. Joining him is his former teammate Langford, who had quite the day with a sack, four hits and three hurries.
Defensive interior – nose: Linval Joseph, Vikings (+10.9)
About as good a 54 snaps as you’ll see from a one-tech. Joseph was a monster in the run game and added some pressures to the party as well.
Edge rushers: Khalil Mack, Raiders (+5.6) and Calvin Pace, Jets (+4.1)
So continues the excellent year of Mack. He had four hurries on the day, but that really doesn’t tell the story of how much trouble the Steelers had with him. For the Jets, Pace gave RT Jermey Parnell all sorts of problems.
Linebackers: Jasper Brinkley, Giants (+5.5) and Anthony Barr, Vikings (+4.2)
Barr has proven to be a key component in the Vikings’ defense, and his ability to do everything well is really driving the team on. Meanwhile, Brinkley is your classic thumper, and while he’ll never contribute massively in coverage, his ability to wreak havoc in the run game shouldn’t be underestimated.
Cornerbacks: Darrelle Revis, Jets (+3.5) and Will Blackmon, Redskins (+3.1)
He’s still got it. Revis was thrown at seven times, allowing just two receptions while breaking up two passes. As for Blackmon, he forced a fumble and only allowed 30 yards into his coverage area despite being targeted six times.
Safeties: John Cyprien, Jaguars (+3.4) and Morgan Burnett, Packers (+2.7)
Nice day for Cyprien, who was all over the field with 10 tackles. Burnett wasn’t too shabby himself, allowing just one pass into his coverage area, despite being targeted five times.
Kicker: Blair Walsh, Vikings
You think he enjoys kicking game winners?
Punter: Pat McAfee, Colts
Another booming day for our top-ranked punter.
Returner: Eric Weems, Falcons
His offense spluttered, but Weems kept changing field position with his ability to weave through defenders.
To see the worst players at every position this week, check out Bryson Vesnaver’s Worst Team of the Week.