Worst players at every position from Week 11
Sometimes players have an off day, and sometimes it may have been better for them to just stay home. In any case, those players whose performances, well, left something to be desired, made our Worst Team of the Week roster for Week 11.
(Editor’s note: Changes may be made following the completion of Monday Night Football, as well as upon the completion of our grades review process.)
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets (-3.2)
It was a tough day for Fitzpatrick against a recently-strong Texans’ defense. He completed just 48.7 percent of his passes for 216 yards (5.5 yards per attempt), a touchdown, and two interceptions. He really struggled under pressure, completing just 3-of-10 passes for 4 yards. His overall grade looks better thanks to a couple of good scrambles, but as a passer, he finished with a -4.6 grade. He was just missing too many routine passes yesterday, and it cost the Jets.
Running back: Todd Gurley, Rams (-2.9)
Gurley made almost everyone forget that he was just a rookie running back with how he’s been playing lately, but yesterday’s game was a reminder that he’s still in his first season. While his line did struggle yesterday, Gurley was unable to pick up the slack, rushing for just 63 yards on 25 attempts. Of those yards, only 34 of them came after contact, and he could not force any Ravens player to miss a tackle. He also was responsible for two fumbles, one himself, and one when he closed his arms too early on a handoff from Case Keenum.
Fullback: Mike Tolbert, Panthers (-2.1)
It was a tough day run blocking for Tolbert, as his entire grade came from his below-average performance there. He was beaten for a couple of tackles for losses, and also allowed a QB hit when pass blocking.
Tight end: Kellen Davis, Jets (-5.0)
This was a bad game for Davis, but it had nothing to do with his receiving, as he ran just seven routes and wasn’t targeted. Instead, it comes from his four run stops allowed, and seven negatively-graded run blocks on just 11 plays (he had no positively-graded snaps). Most of that was against J.J. Watt, but it makes you wonder why the Jets had a tight end try to block Watt so often.
Wide receivers: Devin Smith, Jets (-3.1) and Amari Cooper, Raiders (-3.0)
Smith didn’t catch a single one of his four targets yesterday. Two of the passes hit him right in the hands, though—and he dropped them. Considering he ran 34 routes, not getting a single catch is not a very good day of receiving action. Cooper was also targeted four times, and dropped two of them, but he did manage to haul in one pass. It doesn’t matter that it was a screen pass that gained 4 yards, a catch is a catch. But really, it wasn’t a great day for Cooper, who is having a very up-and-down rookie season.
Tackles: Breno Giacomini, Jets (-7.2) and Eugene Monroe, Ravens (-4.2)
Giacomini saw a lot of J.J. Watt yesterday, and he becomes the second player to make this list because of it. But even when up against other Texans’ players, he still struggled. Giacomini allowed two sacks, two hits, and another pressure in the passing game, as well as allowing multiple run stops on his way to the worst tackle grade of the week. Monroe left his game with an injury, but he was playing poorly before that. He allowed a sack and two hurries, and was beaten another time pass blocking. Against the run he was slightly better, but still below-average.
Guards: Ryan Jensen, Ravens (-6.5) and Demetrius Rhaney, Rams (-4.7)
Two players here from the same game that made the team for entirely different reasons. Jensen was having a hard time blocking the pass all game, allowing a sack, two hits, and three hurries, and was beaten another time. Of course, he was going up against Aaron Donald. Rhaney’s grade came entirely from his run blocking (-5.0), which was dreadful. He came on to replace an injury, and definitely looked the part of a backup being thrown into a starting role against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Not a strong day for either of these guys.
Center: Andy Gallik, Titans (-6.0)
Gallik wasn’t great blocking the pass, allowing two pressures on the day. But it was his multiple run stops and disruptive plays allowed that led to a -4.9 run block grade, and that’s ultimately what landed him on this list.
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: Leger Douzable, Jets (-3.4) and Carl Davis, Ravens (-3.4)
Douzable’s grade came from a non-existant pass rush, as he failed to record a single pressure on 26 rushes. He also managed just one solo stop on the day. Davis played just 12 snaps, but recorded zero pressures, missed a tackle on the QB, was pancaked, and was sealed out of every other play. It’s almost impressive to grade this poorly in so few snaps, but this team is all about the trailblazers.
Defensive interior – tackle: Henry Melton, Buccaneers (-2.7)
Melton didn’t record a pressure rushing the passer, which isn’t a huge surprise for a defensive tackle. But he missed a tackle and recorded just two defensive stops on the day, finishing with a -2.7 run stop grade and cementing his place on this team.
Edge rushers: Derrick Shelby, Dolphins (-3.9) and Jacquies Smith, Buccaneers (-3.3)
Shelby had a sack and a pressure, but was helped a lot by good pass coverage, as it took him awhile to get them (over three seconds). But against the run he was constantly sealed inside and out of the play. He also missed two tackles. Smith had some clean-up pressure and a sack, but was pretty much handled all game by tight end Brent Celek, especially in the run, as Smith failed to record a tackle.
Linebackers: James Laurinaitis, Rams (-8.5) and Malcolm Smith, Raiders (-5.5)
Laurinaitis has been playing poorly all season, but yesterday was easily his worst game. Against the run, he was effectively useless—at times looking like he was afraid to even go near the play. If a blocker got even a hand on him, that was it. He had just two defensive stops, which is not a lot. Smith mostly struggled in coverage, allowing all five passes thrown his way to be completed for 49 yards, 33 of which came after the catch. He also missed a tackle and had just one defensive stop on the day.
Cornerbacks: Chris Culliver, Washington (-5.9) and Jerraud Powers, Cardinals (-5.9)
Culliver was targeted 11 times in his game, and allowed six receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns. He also took a couple of coverage penalties and missed two tackles on the day. Powers saw a ton of action, being targeted 15 times and allowing eight receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. He had two pass defenses, but was also beaten on a couple of those incompletions and was bailed out by off-target throws. He also missed three tackles, which is a fair amount.
Safeties: Jaquiski Tartt, 49ers (-4.1) and Walt Aikens, Dolphins (-2.0)
Tartt saw a lot of targets for a safety—seven, in fact. He allowed six of them to be caught for 54 yards, with all but three of those yards coming after the catch. He also missed a tackle, and the only incompletion he saw was actually an overthrow—he was beaten on the play. Aikens was slightly below-average in coverage, but was also below-average in his run defense, failing to record a single defensive stop the entire game and missing a tackle.
Kicker: Nick Novak, Texans
Novak didn’t attempt a field goal, so his entire grade comes from his kickoffs. Most of them failed to reach the end zone, and he forced just one touchback.
Punter: Pat O’Donnell, Bears
O’Donnell’s punts averaged a mere 34.3 yards. None of the four were returned, but when they’re only traveling 35 yards, they don’t need to be.
Returner: Tavon Austin, Rams
Austin had four punt returns and gained just 2 yards total, a couple times deciding to lose yards trying to make something happen. He also fumbled on one of the returns.
Thanks to the support from Ohio Film Office.