Best player at every position in NFL Week 4

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

| 2 months ago
Falcons WR Julio Jones

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Best player at every position in NFL Week 4


Week 4 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 4 offense

Team of the Week for Week 4

Quarterback: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, 89.1

Julio Jones has been wide open all year, but against Carolina, Matt Ryan was finally hitting him with nearly everything he threw his way, and it resulted in 300 receiving yards for Jones, over 500 passing yards for Ryan, and another monster day from the Atlanta offense.

Running back: Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns, 86.1

Isaiah Crowell has been a large factor in the Browns playing teams closer than many expected this season. This week, he broke 10 tackles on just 19 touches, gaining almost 6 yards per carry after contact.

Wide receiver: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, 99.1

When you rack up 300 receiving yards, it’s a pretty good bet you’re going to be featured on the team of the week. Jones proved to be another kind of athlete to the players in the Carolina secondary, who just couldn’t match up one-on-one with one of the game’s best. Jones gained 9.1 yards for every route he ran during the game, 3.5 more than the next-best figure for the week.

Julio Jones PFF grades

Wide receiver: Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders, 87.1

This was very close between Michael Crabtree and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green, who almost doubled Crabtree’s receiving yardage. The Raider, though, scored three times, including an excellent toe-tapping affair in the back of the end zone to help Oakland hold off Baltimore for a tough road win.

Slot receiver, Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears, 81.7

Eddie Royal caught all seven passes thrown his way as Chicago’s slot receiver for 111 yards and a score, quickly becoming QB Brian Hoyer’s favorite target. Hoyer’s passer rating when throwing at Royal was a perfect 158.3 for the game.

Tight end: Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks, 97.0

Injuries have derailed Jimmy Graham’s impact in Seattle, but we saw the kind of special receiver he can be in Week 4, as well as the trouble defenses have in matching up with him. Against the Jets, Graham caught six of the eight balls thrown his way for 113 yards, beating three different defenders in coverage.

Left tackle: Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans, 85.8

There is no tackle in the league outperforming Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan right now, and he earns another spot on the team of the week. Lewan allowed just a single hurry against Houston’s vaunted pass-rush across 36 snaps of pass blocking, and graded well in the run game.

Left guard: Josh Sitton, Chicago Bears, 83.9

Chicago’s unexpected O-line import has been a big upgrade, giving the team one of the league’s best interior lines. He allowed only one hurry against the Lions, and the Bears averaged 4.8 yards per carry on the six runs that went inside of his blocks.

Center: Justin Britt, Seattle Seahawks, 87.1

Seattle’s Justin Britt was excellent this week at center, despite the rest of the line being typically poor. Against a strong Jets’ defensive front, Britt didn’t allow a single QB pressure and was consistently moving guys in the run game.

Right guard: Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys, 89.6

Zack Martin is one of the league’s best guards, and the tape from Week 4 provides a perfect example as to why he’s earned that distinction. Dallas averaged 10.6 yards per carry on runs that went either side of Martin’s block, and his ability to execute within the Cowboys’ zone runs was a thing of beauty.

Right tackle: Morgan Moses, Washington Redskins, 82.7

All of the top RT performances this week benefitted to some degree from the competition they were going against, but Washington’s Morgan Moses kept a clean sheet from a pass-protection standpoint, allowing no pressure or penalties on his 62 snaps.

Week 4 defense

Team of the Week for Week 4

Edge defender: Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati Bengals, 88.2

Dunlap was a monster against the Dolphins, notching two sacks, a hit, four pressures, two batted passes, and forcing a fumble over the course of his 36 snaps of play. You won’t find many more-impressive outings from any defensive player this week.

Defensive interior: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams, 89.2

Another week, another dominant Aaron Donald performance for the Rams. The defensive tackle is clearly the best defender in football right now, and leads the league with 25 total pressures, finally getting the sacks that had eluded him prior to this week.

Defensive interior: Nick Fairley, New Orleans Saints, 87.3

Another player to have an impressive day while the defense as a whole surrendered points, Nick Fairley was a force against the Chargers, notching two sacks, two hits, and two hurries for a total of six overall QB pressures on 28 pass-rushes.

Edge defender: Olivier Vernon, New York Giants, 89.2

Playing 70 defensive snaps against the Vikings, the Giants were determined to get their money’s worth from Olivier Vernon, who was repaying them with impressive play all game. He notched a QB hit and five hurries and graded well against the run.

Linebacker: Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers, 93.3

The Panthers’ defense as a whole couldn’t stop the Falcons from scoring, but Shaq Thompson actually performed well in his role, posting strong grades in both coverage and against the run. He notched five defensive stops and allowed only 4 yards in coverage when he was the primary coverage defender.

Linebacker: Zach Brown, Buffalo Bills, 91.4

Zach Brown was everywhere for the Bills this week. Racking up huge tackle numbers and 11 defensive stops, the most in the league by two clear stops, he was one of the big reasons the Patriots’ offense couldn’t get going all game.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson, San Francisco 49ers, 94.2

Fourth-round rookie Rashard Robinson has been quietly something of a revelation for the 49ers so far this season. This week was his best game of the year, facing a Dallas receiving corps without Dez Bryant. Robinson was thrown at six times, allowing just three catches for 20 yards, and he broke up the other three that fell incomplete.

Cornerback: Aqib Talib, Denver Broncos, 92.6

Playing against his former team, Aqib Talib clearly had extra motivation for this game, and put in one of his finest performances. He was thrown at four times, and caught more of the passes himself (two) than he surrendered to Tampa Bay receivers (one). He allowed a total of 6 yards into his coverage all game.

Slot cornerback: A.J. Bouye, Houston Texans, 92.0

We might be stretching the definition of “slot” a little for Bouye here, but he did play nine of his 25 Week 4 snaps in the slot, and the drop to the next legitimate slot corner was too great to pass on the Texan. Bouye was thrown at six times, allowing just one catch for 11 yards while breaking up two passes.

Safety: Quintin Demps, Houston Texans, 85.4

Quintin Demps recorded a vital interception for the Texans, helping them to secure a close win against a divisional rival. Demps’ play in coverage was an important deciding factor in the game.

Safety: Reshad Jones, Miami Dolphins, 84.6

Six tackles and three defensive stops go some way toward indicating the kind of impact Reshad Jones had against the run this week for Miami, but he also notched a hurry on the QB on the blitz and was one of the best players on Miami’s defense.

Week 4 special teams

Punter: Marquette King, Oakland Raiders

Marquette King posted the best single-game grade PFF has seen from a punter in a decade of grading. His punts averaged 51.8 yards, but had excellent hang time and direction on them, as well as pure distance. It’s tough to ask for a better day than King had against the Ravens.

Kicker: Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals

There was no standout kicker performance this week, but Mike Nugent was five for five on field goals, and kicked the only extra point he attempted, providing 16 of Cincinnati’s 22 points against Miami on Thursday night.

Special teamer: Joshua Shaw, Cincinnati Bengals

Joshua Shaw has been an impressive player for the Bengals this season at cornerback, but has also been seeing time on special teams, notching a couple of tackles this week, and earning strong grades on both kickoffs and punt coverage.

Return specialist: Andre Roberts, Detroit Lions

With a punt-return touchdown to his name, Roberts also racked up another 86 return yards on punt and kick returns for the Lions, making this a closer game than perhaps it deserved to be.

| Senior Analyst

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

  • avsblow

    Xavier Rhodes anyone?

    • enai D

      After locking down Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham in back-to-back weeks (the two combined for 3 catches and 23 yards in two games), Xavier Rhodes is… PFF’s 26th rated cornerback. Lol. Oh yeah, and he also had a pick and a couple passes defended along the way.

      Remember when PFF used to have some credibility, and was more than just vacuous click-bait? I guess it was back when they still based their grades on, you know, actually watching the game-tape.

      • avsblow

        My point exactly haha! It’s pretty sad he getting no recognition for absolutely shutting down arguably 2 top 10 wide outs in the league with obj prob being top 3. PFF you’re drunk

      • Dom

        Thing is they’re the ones who’ve watched the tape, and you’re the one here spewing the simplest most boiled down statistics to support your point.

        • enai D

          Unfortunately, watching the tape doesn’t make you infallible, nor your grading procedure any less subjective. It doesn’t preclude your grades/scores failing to match up to the play on the field. As has happened with PFF’s grades/ranks for Rhodes, who’s played as well the last two games (his only two games of the season) as any CB in the league bar none (as the stats readily prove).

          • eYeDEF

            Except you’re coming from a place of ignorance since you haven’t watched the tape. So you’re really not in any position to be critiquing what they did and didn’t see. Again, the fact that you’re relying on traditional stats to judge cornerback play just demonstrates how you’re light years behind in your analysis.

          • enai D

            Lol such a silly argument, “they watched the all-22 therefore their grades are infallible”. Sadly, it doesn’t actually work that way- the all-22 offers a slight advantage over the broadcast version (which I obviously did watch) but that’s it, and it certainly doesn’t make ones judgment infallible or the PFF grading process any less subjective. Its too bad that it doesn’t, else their grade on Rhodes would more accurately reflect his play on the field.. which is sort of the entire point of doing such analysis.

            But bottom line, if you haven’t actually watched the game and have nothing more substantive to say than “the PFF grade is right because PFF” (which is pure fallacy) you’re not in any position to be making judgments here and don’t actually have anything to add to the conversation.

          • eYeDEF

            No one’s saying they’re infallible. My point is that you haven’t offered a credible critique.

          • enai D

            Actually, your argument, such as it is, reduces to no more than “they watched the tape, therefore their grades are correct”. Which obviously requires the assumption that watching tape->infallible judgment. But then, if watching tape makes one infallible, why doesn’t everyone issuing weekly grades based on review of the all-22 agree on Rhodes? Why did Wharton/BR grade Rhodes as the #1 CB in week 4 and #4 player overall? Because any such grading procedure is subjective and prone to errors or differences in judgment. Pointing to the procedure as justification for the grade or ranking is silly and patently non-sequitur. And as it happens, I have offered a critique, you’ve simply chosen to dismiss it, and with the same vacuous and fallacious nonsense as you’ve used to defend the PFF grade. As I said, if the best you can do here is “PFF is right because PFF”, you may as well not say anything at all since this simply isn’t a meaningful contribution to the discussion.

          • eYeDEF

            Sorry but pointing to traditional stats as the meat of your so called “critique” is just not credible for reasons already stated and should be obvious. Calling that a vacuous dismissal instead of an entirely legitimate and reasonable one doesn’t make you any less wrong.

          • enai D

            Not only is it not just a matter of raw stats, your already-stated and supposedly obvious reasons for dismissing the raw stats are patently fallacious . And of course raw stats are less informative than context-driven analysis (though they have the advantage of being objective and not subject to errors/differences in judgment), but they are far from meaningless, and where the two diverge/disagree, the latter necessarily has an explanation for why the raw stats give the wrong picture.

            For instance, the game Aaron Rodgers had (either last year or the year before, I don’t remember exactly) where he threw for 4 TDs and good yardage total and nevertheless got a poor PFF grade- the explanation was that Rodgers’ accuracy and decision-making were generally poor, but his receivers bailed him out with YAC and some impressive catches. So as another poster pointed out, its possible that Rhodes held Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham to a combined 3 catches for 23 yards on 10 targets to go along with 1 INT and 3 PDs, but missed some tackles, or was benefiting from overthrown balls or dropped passes, or something like this. Unfortunately, though possible, that’s not what actually happened in the game. So, given the lack of any viable explanation for the inconsistency between the results on the field as shown in the raw stats, and the PFF grade, the raw stats absolutely undermine the PFF grade. As does the fact that most observers’, including/especially other paid analysts (like Wharton, whose top CB grade on Rhodes was also based on all-22 film study), first-hand observation of Rhodes performance led them a much more favorable/realistic assessment.

          • enai D

            (but…but… but… PFF! They watched the tape! Traditional stats! Baby Jebus! Lol!!!)

          • eYeDEF

            The raw stats absolutely do not undermine the PFF grade. The only way for that to be true is if we had the info on how they determined the grade and you could point out exactly where the raw stats contradicted what they determined in their grade. Otherwise, there’s no way you can claim without bias whether it undermines it or not.

            Sorry, but like I’ve been saying from the beginning, that’s just not a credible argument. You have no idea how many times OBJ or Kelvin might have had Rhodes beat but where their QBs didn’t target them. Pointing to the 4 snaps where he clearly won the matchup because that’s all you can really glean from traditional stats is not credible when you’re ignoring the 98 other snaps he’s played so far.

  • Bryan Vossen

    When Xavier Rhodes has been targeted this season, he’s allowed an NFL passer rating of 0.0. 3 for 10 for 23 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT and 1 PD. Miss something this week?

    • avsblow

      They snubbed the vikes d last week after sacking Cam 8 times and picking him off 3 times while holding their top 2 wideouts to 0 catch games but included 2 Raiders corners who played well but also played a shitty titans team and still allowed catches and yards to a rookie wideout and the Andre Johnson lol

      • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

        PFF doesn’t account for opponent adjustment.
        Don’t like it ? don’t come to their site.
        Rhodes might have been burned on a few plays where the ball didn’t come his way,might have missed tackles in the run game or might have been helped by drops.

        The sacks might have been on unblocked plays or atributed to bad QB play or on the secondary(which is possible given the possibility Cam has of running off).

        You don’t like the way they do things ? That’s on you.But don’t come to the site and whine like a little baby when your player doesn’t make it.

        • avsblow

          Lol got me rolling. I bet this dude is a packer fan. I’ll come here and bitch all I want just to get hilarious ass replies from PFF dick riders like you.

          • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

            Not a Packers fan,actually like the Vikings and i’m not a PFF dick rider.
            I’m just not a whiny,biased little bitch that try to argue that 2+2 isn’t 4.
            I’m actually a Broncos fan.One CB made the list and the other has a better season grade than Rhodes,cheers.

          • avsblow

            Yeah just another one hopping on the bandwagon lol. Youd have to be fucking retarded to not think the vikes d is superb and that they deserve more credit

          • SkolBro

            Nope bro, your just a dick rider and us viknig fans are totally not bandwagoning or whiny!
            Exavier Roads RULES! SKOL BRO OUT!

          • Darnell

            What is a dick rider lol and what does it have to do with football?

          • avsblow

            It’s self explanatory lol

          • Pat Infante

            dick riders are known to wear cheese on their head… just saying

          • Nelson Cobb

            No, you’ll come here, whine and bitch cause you’re a whiny little bitch, like 90% of you Vikings fans. That’s just who y’all are, whiny little bitches!!

        • enai D

          So the site is somehow supposed to be beyond criticism because… um.. magic, or Baby Jebus, or something? Lol. Get real, bud. How about, if you don’t like people criticizing PFF when they make an error, then don’t read the comments section.

          (and obviously, a 26th overall ranking for a guy who’s shutout Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham in consecutive weeks and is currently allowing double-donut passer rating into his coverage is a pretty glaring oversight.. there aren’t 5 CBs playing at or above that level, much less 25)

          • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

            Funny how you criticize a grading system using another grading system.
            As i said,PFF analyze all plays,even those that don’t lead to receptions/TDs and such.
            It’s pretty clear you just chose which is better to defend your player and decided to stick with it.

          • enai D

            Its their grading system, genius. PFF has Rhodes as the 26th highest graded CB, through 4 weeks. Which is obviously completely ludicrous if you look at the stats or actually watch the games.

          • Dom

            Dude take the L and move on

          • enai D

            Need to get an L first.

          • eYeDEF

            Uh, you clearly don’t understand how PFF assigns grades if you think that it can be in any way reflected by just looking at traditional stats. They have their own sig stats they compile for cornerback play that I’m sure is far more reflective of his 26th ranking than any stat you could look at. They grade on every snap regardless of whether the receiver the corner is covering is actually thrown at or not. You won’t find a single stat that’s going tell you jack shit about that, you’d have to comb the All 22 and watch the tape yourself for comparable analysis.

          • enai D

            (And seeing as you’re defending PFF’s analysis here simply because you’re a Broncos fan and your guy got selected to the “best player at each position” list at the same position as Rhodes, I find your last sentence highly amusing… Talk about pot meet kettle!)

          • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

            Are you fucking dense ?
            Talib made it because he had the grade,not because PFF likes the Broncos.
            Chris Harris didn’t.I’m not here arguing that he should have.

          • enai D

            Uh oh, touched a nerve… LOL. You’re doing precisely what you accused me of doing; picking a grading system simply because it favors your guy, not because of any merits of that grading system itself. Maybe you just like how your foot tastes.

          • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

            Quote where i said any of the grading systems or stats you used are invalid.
            Talib gave up 1 reception for 6 yards and had 2 picks,im pretty sure that amounts to a 0.0 rating.
            That’s the deal here,i understand how all grades work and if for some reason someone i think should be graded better isn’t,i won’t whine.

          • enai D

            You’re defending the PFF grades because they happen to favor your guy, while whining about other people criticizing PFF because it doesn’t favor their guy. You don’t get to have it both ways. And its not really about Talib vs. Rhodes anyways, its about PFF missing the boat on Rhodes, and for the second week in a row.

          • avsblow

            Rhodes > Talib. Go shoot yourself in the leg again idiot

          • eYeDEF

            lol. Rhodes has yet to put together a full season of consistent play to ever even crack an All Pro team. Get real. There are 12 more games and he’ll need to avoid the stretches of really poor play that prevent him from being mentioned in the top tier of elite corners. He should have broken out last year but was too inconsistent. Lets see him do it for a full season. Until he can, he’s nowhere near Talib. And no, I’m not a Broncos fan but he did outplay Rhodes last weekend.

        • RSR1DRIVER

          All too many times I read comments like yours”don’t like it, don’t come to site”.
          That’s not really helping the conversation.If you or PFF can clarify their formula I for one would love to know it. I myself was surprised to not to see Rhodes on this (yes, I am a Vikings fan) list, but unless more details are given we’ll never know if it’s picking names out of a hat.
          I was more surprised only to see one Bronco on this list. So two top 5 defenses, 22 players, 17 COMBINED TOTAL POINTS given up by both defenses and people are supposed to just say that sounds right?

          • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

            There are 3 spots for corners.Even though the defenses had great games there are still another 100 of players that could get a better grade.
            Including ones who went against worse players.
            Having a great defense overall might help the corners with more concrete stats while making PFF have to give them a worse grade.
            If a corner gets beat on a Go route that would be a TD but the QB can’t throw it because the 5-man rush still got there in no time PFF is going to give him a bad grade,but you won’t see it.

          • RSR1DRIVER

            Fair enough. Thanks

  • crosseyedlemon

    Move over Joe Montana…step aside Jerry Rice…here comes Hoyer & Royal.

  • Rodrigo Campos Pedro

    Lots of salt from Vikings fans.Really embarrasing if you ask me.

    • BearDown

      It’s what they do, they whine all of the time…
      Then their team chokes and starts losing and they disappear until the next bandwagon pops up.

  • Fock

    PFF hates the Vikings!!! Rhodes allowed 23 yards to OBJ!! And they don’t even care because he probably missed one tackle and probably dropped his grade or something stupid like that