Justin Herbert / LAC - Round 1
Herbert led the way in a solid divisional win against DEN with a line of 21-33 / 253 yards / 1 TD / 0 INT. He added 26 yards on the ground and didn’t turn the ball over for the second straight week. With this performance, Herbert is now ranked in the top half league wide in passer rating, an amazing feat for a rookie quarterback.
AJ Dillon / GB – Round 2
It has been a quiet year for Dillon but perhaps he is breaking out at just the right time. If you need to go to Green Bay in the winter to face off against Rodgers and this potent Packers' offense, good luck. Dillon’s 21 carry-124 yard-2 TD performance just adds another angle that needs to be planned for. His bruising style is night and day different from Aaron Jones and it just gives them another hat to wear.
Tee Higgins / CIN – Round 2
CIN nearly pulled off the upset in HOU and Higgins was a key part to that. He had 99 yards on 6 catches with a touchdown that showed off his elite ball skills near the sideline. Higgins has shown flashes all year and will make life after AJ Green much easier to accept.
Adam Trautman / NO - Round 3
Alvin Kamara’s record-tying 6 touchdown performance stole the show offensively for the Saints against MIN. Trautman, however, is now playing more snaps than Jared Cook, which shows they trust his blocking enough to be a key part of the offense down to down even if they don’t throw him the ball much. He caught both of his targets for 45 yards and showed quality presence in the trenches.
Tristan Wirfs / TB – Round 1
The dominant level of play from Wirfs continued in TBs win over DET. He has now allowed a pressure on less than 4% of Tom Brady drop backs, one of the key reasons this team is heading toward the postseason.
Kevin Dotson / PIT – Round 4
After missing time with a shoulder injury. Dotson returned to the field and played in every snap against the potent IND defense. He didn’t allow a single pressure in one of the more impressive PIT wins this season. It was a game they came back from a 17-point second half. The IND defense really pinned their ears back, but Dotson and the PIT offensive line were a brick wall.
Alex Highsmith / PIT – Round 3
Pass rushers simply grow on trees in PIT. Even though Bud Dupree is out with an ACL, this defense is still as dangerous when they pursue the passer as any. Highsmith is the next in line as his confidence is up and he is starting to show progression across the board. He finished with 7 tackles and 2 pressures, including the one on the final play of the game that sealed the W.
John Penisini / DET – Round 6
There wasn’t much to smile about in the DET blowout loss to TB, but Penisini is really showing something in his rookie year. They appear to have a keeper in the stout, powerful, but deceptively athletic defensive tackle. He finished with 4 tackles and a pressure.
Willie Gay / KC – Round 2
This would be a great time for the uber-athletic linebacker to break out of his shell, as he appeared to start and do against ATL. He finished with 9 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 forced fumble. The powerful and speedy defender was all over the field and was a force against the run.
L’Jarius Sneed / KC – Round 3
The versatile Sneed is quietly putting together one of the best rookie defender seasons in the NFL. His role is mainly regulated to the outside but the college safety has been used in multiple spots along the secondary and is producing weekly. He finished with 7 tackles, 1 sack, 2 pressures, and a pass break up as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is finding a different way to game plan around week after week to keep the offense guessing.
Kamren Curl / WAS – Round 7
Curl recorded 9 tackles, 1 INT, and 1 PD in the WAS loss against CAR. Jeremy Chinn has been arguably the top rookie safety all year but one can make the argument Curl was the better player on Sunday as well as over the course of the past month.