Malik Willis – TEN (Round 3)
There wasn’t any competition at QB for Willis in week 9. He got his second straight start for the injured Ryan Tannehill and helped keep things close as they took KC to overtime on the road. Willis’ stat line was not very impressive, 5/16 for 80 yards passing, but he did add 40 yards on the ground and avoided turning the ball over.
Kenneth Walker III – SEA (Round 2)
In the second half alone, Walker rushed 15 times for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has become the closer on a team that has found ways to pick up the early leads and then bleed the clock out while still producing more points down the stretch of games. Walker has scored a touchdown in five straight.
Honorable Mention: Dameon Pierce / HOU
Garrett Wilson – NYJ (Round 1)
To label Wilson as the team’s focal point in the passing game would be an understatement. He led the team with 8 catches for 92 yards on just nine targets. The next leading receiver finished with 3 catches for 12 yards in the team’s upset win over BUF. Wilson has abruptly become one of the best route runners in the NFL.
Honorable Mention: Chris Olave / NO
Cade Otton – TB (Round 4)
We saw flashes from Otton earlier in the year and this has always been the kind of tight end that Brady has gotten the most out of. He is now turning into a guy this offense is scheming toward in big moments. Otton finished with 5 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Three of those catches, including the touchdown, came on the final two possessions in their late-game comeback win.
Honorable Mention: Isaiah Likely / BAL
Jamaree Salyer (Round 6)
On 46 pass blocking snaps, Salyer did not allow any sacks or QB hits in LAC’s win over ATL. His run blocking was up and down, but he remained penalty-free for the second straight week and holding the fort down while protecting Justin Herbert’s blind side. That is most important.
Honorable Mention: Braxton Jones / CHI
Tyler Linderbaum / BAL (Round 1)
BAL ran the ball for 188 yards against a NO defense, the most they’ve allowed since week one. Linderbaum was reaching the second level with speed and balance, often factoring in creating the needed crease for running back Kenyan Drake to pick up secondary yards once past the first level of the defense.
Honorable Mention: Cordell Volson / CIN
George Karlaftis III / KC (Round 1)
On the field for a season-low 18 pass rush snaps because of TEN needing to shift toward a run-dominant attack, Karlaftis still had a disruptive game as an edge rusher. He had four pressures, averaging almost one per every four rushes. He added two tackles, as the KC defense held TEN to 17 points, the second fewest of the year for them.
Honorable Mention: Josh Paschal / DET
Neil Farrell Jr / LV (Round 4)
Farrell has replaced Jonathan Hankins, who was traded to DAL. Out of the 27 snaps he played, 21 of them were on running plays. He finished with three tackles and played with a tremendous anchor against double teams.
Honorable Mention: Kurt Hinish / HOU
Terrel Bernard / BUF (Round 3)
Bernard’s first start of the season came against the run-heavy Jets. He responded with 7 tackles, showing range to the sidelines and quality stuffing between the tackles. His fast reactions and feel for running lanes were effective at preventing cutback runs by the Jets backs.
Honorable Mention: Malcolm Rodriguez / DET
Sauce Gardner / NYJ (Round 1)
The strong get stronger. Gardner allowed just one catch for the third time this season and added 5 tackles. The biggest play came in the third quarter of their huge upset-win, as he picked off Josh Allen which led to a touchdown by the Jets offense.
Honorable Mention: Akayleb Evans / MIN
Kerby Joseph / DET (Round 3)
Joseph has emerged into a key playmaker for the DET defense in recent weeks. Their win over GB was a result largely stemming from the big plays their defense made in key moments. Two of them were by Joseph. He finished with 2 interceptions (1 of which was in the end zone) and 10 tackles on the day.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Hamilton / BAL