Best player at every position in NFL Week 3

Senior Analyst Sam Monson reveals PFF's Team of the Week for the third week of the season.

| 2 months ago
Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Best player at every position in NFL Week 3


Week 3 of the 2016 NFL season is complete, and PFF’s grades for every player to take a snap are in the books. Here are the top performances over the week at every position:

Week 3 offense

Team of the Week offense Week 3

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, 86.0 overall grade

Aaron Rodgers was back to his best against the Lions, completing some spectacular passes and racking up a passer rating of 146.1 when not under pressure—which was the case for most of the game. He may have only thrown for 205 yards, but he recorded four touchdown passes.

Running back: DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans, 88.4

DeMarco Murray had his best game since his dominant 2014 season in Dallas, notching 114 rushing yards on only 16 carries, adding 41 receiving yards, and scoring a touchdown. He gained 69 of his yards after contact, and really didn’t have a misstep versus the Raiders.

Wide receiver: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts, 89.2

On paper, this looked like an ugly week to be a T.Y Hilton fantasy owner, but he destroyed one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Jason Verrett. Against Verrett alone, Hilton caught five passes for 135 yards and a touchdown; the Colts’ wideout added another 39 yards on three catches against other Chargers’ defenders, too.

Wide receiver: Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns, 88.3

If you count one lone snap as a deep free safety at the end of the first half to prevent a Hail Mary attempt, Pryor played three positions in this game: QB, WR and S. He had four rushes for 22 yards, threw for 35 more, and racked up 144 as a receiver with a rookie third-round quarterback throwing him the ball.

Slot receiver: Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks, 90.4

You won’t see a filthier catch than the diving, one-handed grab that Baldwin hauled in against the 49ers, but he also caught seven other passes and totaled 164 yards and a touchdown. When throwing his way, Russell Wilson had a passer rating of 152.1 and completed 80 percent of his targets.

Doug Baldwin one-handed catch

Tight end: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings, 86.0

While Kyle Rudolph has always possessed immense physical talent, this year he is starting to consistently make use of it on the field. Rudolph caught seven of the eight passes thrown his way for 70 yards and a touchdown, snaring the score from over the head of Panthers LB Shaq Thompson.

Left tackle: Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans, 90.7

The late penalty could have been so costly for the Titans, but Taylor Lewan was a monster otherwise in this game, failing to allow a single pressure and moving bodies in the run game all day. The penalty really was the only black mark in an otherwise excellent outing.

Left guard: Justin Pugh, New York Giants, 86.4

Justin Pugh was a pretty good guard in 2015, but has already blown that performance out of the water so far this year, and his game against Washington was his best yet. He didn’t allow any pressure, and had a good run-blocking grade, also.

Center: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys, 85.4

The Dallas offensive line looked a little more like the Dallas offensive line this week against the Bears. Frederick allowed just one pressure from 29 pass-blocking snaps and was exceptional in the run game, opening holes for Ezekiel Elliott to gain 140 yards on 30 carries.

Right guard: Brandon Scherff, Washington Redskins, 82.9

Washington LT Trent Williams rightly earned plenty of praise for moving inside to LG due to injury in the game—as he played well—but the best performance on the line came from RG Brandon Scherff. Scherff didn’t allow any pressure on 41 pass-blocking snaps, and only a holding penalty kept him from an even higher grade.

Right tackle: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles, 85.3

The Eagles are making the most out of the time they have with RT Lane Johnson before his suspension appeal works itself through the system. He was once again excellent against Pittsburgh, keeping a clean sheet in pass protection and run blocking well.

Week 3 defense

Team of the Week defense Week 3

Edge defender: Von Miller, Denver Broncos, 85.8

It’s a testament to his dominance that a one-sack, five-total-pressure day for Von Miller feels somehow underwhelming, and represents essentially his career-average game. What is average for Miller, though, is good enough to lead the league most weeks. That was the case in Week 3, with Miller’s grade getting him on the team of the week as the highest-graded edge rusher.

Interior defender: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams, 85.6

Aaron Donald now leads the league with 17 total QB pressures, yet has somehow failed to register a sack through three games. Against the Buccaneers, he added another two QB hits and three hurries to his tally sheet, and also batted down a pair of passes at the line.

Interior defender: Damon Harrison, New York Giants, 84.3

Washington averaged just 3.0 yards per carry as a team against the Giants, and a large reason for that (literally and figuratively) was Damon Harrison. The new interior defender import led the team in solo tackles (eight) and defensive stops (five), and even recorded his first two hurries of the season as a pass rusher.

Edge defender: Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins, 84.4

Cameron Wake has been used as something of a situational pass rusher since returning from injury, and just like the beginning of his career, he’s making the most of those snaps. Against Cleveland, Wake racked up a sack and six hurries on 26 pass-rushing snaps.

Linebacker: Jamie Collins, New England Patriots, 92.0

Against Houston on Thursday, Jamie Collins was a force for the Patriots, racking up eight defensive stops to lead the league in Week 3. He also recorded an interception and was repeatedly making tackles short of the markers in coverage.

Linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers, 91.9

The Panthers may have been upset by the Vikings this week, but Luke Kuechly was a big part of the reason it needed a special-teams touchdown to happen. Kuechly racked up 12 solo tackles, an assist, and seven defensive stops, second-most in the league this week. He also notched a hit on QB Sam Bradford from his three blitzes.

Cornerback: David Amerson, Oakland Raiders, 96.8

David Amerson was targeted 11 times by the Titans and allowed just four catches for 38 yards. That alone would be impressive, meaning Tennessee averaged just 3.5 yards for every target into his coverage, but he broke up five of the incompletions—three more than any other corner this week.

Cornerback: Sean Smith, Oakland Raiders, 90.5

Joining Amerson on the team of the week is Raiders CB Sean Smith. Smith was targeted seven times and allowed just one catch for 19 yards, picking off a pass and generally dominating in coverage. Only a poor performance in the run game separated him from his teammate in grading.

Slot cornerback: Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos, 86.3

Harris lined up in the slot on 29 of his 67 snaps against Cincinnati, and was in coverage for 22 of those plays. He was thrown at just twice, allowing one catch for 4 yards to Bengals WR A.J. Green. Harris’ 0.14 yards per coverage snap in the slot was the third-best mark in the league among corners with 20 or more slot-coverage snaps in Week 3.

Safety: Eric Weddle, Baltimore Ravens, 88.7

Eric Weddle is beginning to look like the kind of field general in Baltimore that he was for the Chargers for so many years. Equally adept in deep coverage as he is coming down to the line of scrimmage and attacking the run, Weddle graded well across the board this week.

Safety: Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings, 87.0

Harrison Smith is the best player on the dominant Vikings’ defense right now. He recorded five tackles this week against the Panthers, each one a defensive stop. He also notched a sack and allowed just one catch for 2 yards when in primary coverage.

Week 3 special teams

Punter: Bryan Anger, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

He only punted four times, but Bryan Anger’s average kick travelled 47.8 yards against the Rams. He managed a hang time of 5.27 seconds on one of them, and they were returned for a total of 12 yards.

Kicker: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

It was close between Justin Tucker and Washington’s Dustin Hopkins, who made all five of his attempts this week, but Tucker had one from over 50 yards, and that was the go-ahead score late in the game.

Special teamer: Margus Hunt, Cincinnati Bengals

Blocking a field goal and notching a special-teams tackle is enough for Margus Hunt to earn the special-teams player of the week spot, but the Bengal is actually starting to make some plays on defense now, too.

Return specialist: Marcus Sherels, Minnesota Vikings

Seattle’s Tyler Lockett deserves a mention for the 62-yard punt return he had this week, but Sherels gets the spot for getting into the end zone and sparking the Vikings’ victory against the Panthers.

Miss our team of the week for NFL Week 2? See the roster here, headlined by Vikings WR Stefon Diggs.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    i thought casey hayward had been playing mostly outside, with flowers manning the slot this year, no?

  • 24AHAD

    Congrats, Raiders corners dominated some nobodys. There should be more context to these but I know that’s not pff.

    • crosseyedlemon

      You make it sound as if the Raiders get to pick and choose who they play and when. If I were you, I would be more concerned about how the Chiefs are going to deal with a Steeler team that will be arriving with a very large chip on their shoulder and a strong desire to avenge an embarrassing outing from last week.

      • 24AHAD

        How does what I just said infer any of the above? Im criticizing pff on their picks for this “best of the week” team. I am very worried about a steelers team with a chip on its shoulder and a pissed off Leveon Bell coming back. Any thing else I need to clarify moron?

        • crosseyedlemon

          So if a general lack of context in the article is your only concern why whine about the Raiders getting recognition? The Chiefs got shutout so just accept it.

          • 24AHAD

            Ok now you’re just being a troll. I know you’re a broncos fan. Because the lack of context is evident by the selection of the raiders crosseyedlemon. That is why. Is it really that complicated? I wouldn’t even include the chiefs in this because that game was all on Fitz and Marshall was obviously injured. I am a die hard fan but not an ignorant one, accept it.

          • crosseyedlemon

            So now instead of just whining about the Raiders your making yourself look even more foolish by accusing anyone who disagrees with you of being a Broncos fan….lol.

    • codered5

      I agree there is no context but how to you put context into a grade. Most good players dominate bums and average players e.g. von miller since the beginning of the playoffs last year

      • 24AHAD

        Not into the Grade, no. Just into this selection of this best of the week list. A player with an 85 against antonio brown is more impressive then a 95 against a nobody. Thats a simple conclusion to me. That’s all I meant.

  • Luke Thompson

    Teams just do not throw at Harrison Smith anymore. It’s going to be hard for him to get the stats that get players pro bowl and all pro nominations but he is definitely one of the top 3 safeties in the game right now. He really is the linchpin that makes the Vikings D as good as it has been. Does everything for us.

    • Jay V Of Considerable Influenc

      Smith is a lock for the Pro Bowl…name recognition alone.

  • Johnny U.

    this website is bias towards white football players…

  • Brian_pdx

    The Vikings punter had a way better day than the guy above and didn’t they have a DE who had three sacks? I’m wondering who is doing the scoring here.

    • Theo Nugent

      Everson Griffen had 3 sacks and was named NFC defensive player of the week. Pro Football Focus is flawed. They get crap like this wrong all the time.

    • Phil

      Its not about the amount the number of sacks its about how efficient a player is at getting pressure on the QB with his snaps. Sacks are meaningless at face value. How much skill does it take to sack a guy if the O-Line never blocked you? Griffen took 44 passing snaps to get his sacks which is a QB pressure every 23% of his snaps. Wake only had 27 snaps and got pressure on 32% of them.

      • Brian_pdx

        Sacks are very important and he also had a ton of pressures. The rankings of this particular media outlet are bullshit.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Baldwin looked very athletic on that highlight clip Sam but what really impressed me was the official who threw the flag. I think he has a better arm than any of the Niner QBs and they should consider giving him a tryout.

  • JustinC83

    I know it’s just punting but no clue how Anger was rated hire than Ryan Allen

    7 punts
    0 return yards
    6 downed inside the 20
    4 of those downed inside the 10

    • Billy Bob

      Completely agreed. Shocking pick. And we’re talking about a punter ffs but pff got this wrong.

    • PFFSamMonson

      Effectively we’re looking at the punt itself, not the result. Depending on where he kicks from, we have a system that looks at distance, direction and hang time for every punt in the league, developed by a couple of NFL punters.

      You can have a big kick, but if it goes straight down the middle it’s making life a lot tougher for your gunners than it should be, even if they manage to make the play for minimal or no return.

  • http://allgbp.com/ Thegreatreynoldo

    I have some reservations about naming a part-time player the best player at a position. I agree that it is hard to ignore Wake’s 6 hurries and a sack, but still, he doesn’t do it all. PFF loved Casey Hayward because the GB coaches limited him to playing slot and mostly zone, at which he excelled, and didn’t let him play man to man much, which is why other players got more snaps than Hayward despite PFF rating disparities.

  • Stan

    PFF??? Please explain why Devonta Freeman was not the best running back? 152 yards rushing, over 50 receiving and a touchdown. He averaged 10.9 yards a carry. 10.9!!!! Why do you guys hate the Falcons???