Best players at every position for Week 2
It’s not easy to make the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week; it’s even harder to do it two weeks in a row. But some have, and we honor them, as well the newcomers, with our Week 2 roster selection.
(Note: Changes may be made following our review process and once Monday Night Football has been analyzed and graded.)
Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (+7.5)
Two games into the season and “Big Ben” is playing as well as any other QB. He has just six incompletions, three of which were dropped passes, and one more was a throwaway.
Running back: Justin Forsett, Ravens (+3.0)
Fantasy players may disagree, as Forsett ended up with just 68 yards and no touchdowns, but look at the work he had to do to get them.
Fullback: Michael Burton, Lions (+2.4)
Burton was actually our highest-graded fullback in college football last year, so it’s not a huge surprise to see him looking so good right now.
Tight end: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (+2.8)
That’s two weeks in a row for Gronkowski, who did enough as a receiver to hold off some stiff competition. Just how do you stop him?
Wide receivers: Julio Jones, Falcons (+3.8) and Antonio Brown, Steelers (+5.4)
Steve Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Odell Beckham Jr., and others all put forward strong cases, but it’s a repeat of the Week 1 duo with Jones and Brown showing no signs of slowing down.
Tackles: Terron Armstead, Saints (+3.6) and Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots (+3.3)
Armstead has quietly developed into a strong part of the Saints offensive line and he earned the highest mark of any tackle in Week 2. The superior work of Vollmer in pass protection held off the challenge of Kyle Long.
Guards: Gabe Jackson, Raiders (+5.6) and Marshal Yanda, Ravens (+4.1)
Well, hello, Gabe Jackson. Where did that come from? The sophomore guard had a solid rookie year, but looked like a lot more than “just another guy” against the Ravens. On the other side of the field Yanda was almost impressive.
Center: Russell Bodine, Bengals (+4.3)
The fact Bodine is the third member of this line to be playing for Cincinnati should tell you all you need to know about how good their line was Sunday.
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: Aaron Donald, Rams (+7.9) and Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets (+6.1)
Sound the alarm; this team is J.J. Watt-free! But one guy does hold over, and that’s Aaron Donald, who is setting the bar for Defensive Player of the Year. Wilkerson has ended contract negotiations with Jets and with performances like this it’s easy to see why. He’s earning more money by the performance.
Defensive Interior – Nose: Jaye Howard, Chiefs (+6.3)
Howard spends enough time even with or shading the center to be considered here, and when you pick up seven defensive stops in the run game, you do more than just “be considered.”
Edge rushers: Pernell McPhee, Bears (+5.3) and Justin Houston, Chiefs (+6.8)
Talk about a one-two punch. Houston got after the Broncos offensive line with five quarterback disruptions (including two sacks), while McPhee was even more destructive with eight.
Linebackers: Sean Lee, Cowboys (+6.6) and Jelani Jenkins, Dolphins (+3.5)
After all the injury problems he’s sustained the past couple of years it’s great to see Lee back to his best. A nice action-packed display from Jenkins, as well, who ended the day with seven defensive stops.
Cornerbacks: Captain Munnerlyn, Vikings (+3.4) and Aqib Talib, Broncos (+2.6)
The good Captain was in fine form allowing just 45 yards on nine targets. Meanwhile, Talib continued his fine start to the year with just one reception allowed for seven yards, and a pick of his own.
Safeties: Kurt Coleman, Panthers (+3.9) and James Ihedigbo, Lions (+4.3)
Coleman is trying to write a story of redemption, and more plays like the one that saw him deflect a potential game-tying pass can’t hurt. Ihedigbo is about as good a safety in the NFL gets when you put him in the box and the opposition runs at him.
Kicker: Jason Myers, Jaguars (+2.6)
Perfect with a 55-yarder.
Punter: Chris Jones, Cowboys (+4.0)
Some big, booming punts on Sunday for Jones.
Returner: Travis Benjamin, Browns (+2.9)
Electrifying on punt returns, Benjamin has been one of the premier playmakers in the league the first two weeks of the year.