Every Tuesday or Wednesday during the season I’ll take a look back at the prior weeks games and pick out the best and worst values each week. To gauge values we’ll be looking at a players salary cap charge for the week and comparing that to Pro Football Focus’ grade for a player. I’ll alternate each week between offense and defense. Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments or by email.
Best Value: Kirk Cousins ($688.2K cap charge; +4.5 PFF grade)- The legend of Cousins continues to grow with an outstanding effort against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Cousins had over 400 yards and was the most impressive QB in a competitive game on Sunday.
Worst Value: Jake Locker ($4M cap charge; -7.2 PFF grade)- If Locker has another game like this one he’ll probably find himself permanently glued to the bench for the rest of the year. After one nice game to start the year Locker looks completely lost and like he does not belong in the NFL.
Best Value: Zac Stacy ($530.1K cap charge; +2.9 PFF grade)- Not really a big week for running backs but Stacy proved to be the best value of the week. Stacy provided the dual threat on the ground and in the air, giving the Rams a different offensive look in a competitive loss against the Cowboys.
Worst Value: LeSean McCoy ($9.7M cap charge; -4.9 PFF grade)- McCoy is beginning to look like another in a long line of players to have monster seasons and mediocre follow up years. 19 attempts for 22 yards is about as bad as it can be at this level.
Best Value: DeAndre Hopkins ($1.7M cap charge; +2.7 PFF grade)- The Cardinals John Brown was arguably a better value, but I think Hopkins needs to get more credit for playing significantly more snaps for his team. Hopkins finished the day with 116 yards and would have had more if he had a competent QB throwing him the football.
Worst Value: Larry Fitzgerald ($8.6M cap charge; -2.4 PFF grade)- Fitzgerald has become an afterthought in the Cardinals offense, whose coaching staff has realized that Fitzgerald is not the player he once was. Just 34 yards as his value keeps falling and falling.
Best Value: Lance Kendricks ($1.4M cap charge; +3.1 PFF grade)- Kendricks did a little of everything on Sunday. He was terrific blocking, caught more than a few short passes, and even scored a touchdown for the Rams. Games like this can often go unnoticed but this is one of the better all around “traditional” tight end performances you will see.
Worst Value: Rob Gronkowski ($5.4M cap charge; -3.2 PFF grade)- The Patriots offense looks like a shell of itself and Gronkowski, despite his TD score, is still struggling in his return from injury. The season is still young, but I do think people may be starting to wonder if the Gronkwoski/Brady connection from a few years back will ever exist again.
Best Value: Joe Barksdale ($645K cap charge; +4.4 PFF grade)- Barksdale received the second highest score among tackles this week and the highest among right tackles. Effective in both the pass and the run game, Barksdale helped give Austin Davis and Zac Stacy the time and space needed to have surprising Sunday performances.
Worst Value: D’Brickashaw Ferguson ($11.7M cap charge; -3.0 PFF grade)- Ferguson had a rough outing Monday night, especially late in the game when Jared Allen seemed to be getting through him like he did not exist. At one point Jon Gruden mentioned that the team needed to help Ferguson in protection which are words that should never be said about a $10 million a year tackle. Ferguson gave up 5 pressures on the night and was rated the 3rd worst left tackle this week.
Best Value: Kelechi Osemele ($912.5K cap charge; +3.1 PFF grade)- Osemele allowed no hits on the day, provided good play in the run game and was also positive in pass protection. While he was not truly dominant in any one category he gave the best all around performance of the week.
Worst Value: Andy Levitre ($8.6M cap charge; -4.3 PFF grade)- An awful game for the very high priced Guard in week 3. Levitre graded -3.7 in the run game, had 3 penalties, and was credited with allowing 2 pressures on Sunday.
Best Value: AQ Shipley ($570K cap charge; +3.1 PFF grade)- Playing against the hapless Jaguars likely helps, but Shipley earned the best grade of the week from PFF and at a minimum salary to boot. His dollars per contribution just edged out Russell Bodine of the Bengals this week.
Worst Value: Chris Myers ($7.0M cap charge; -3.2 PFF grade)- It was another poor day for the costly veteran. Myers was ineffective in the run game and allowed two pressures in pass protection. In the two looks on offense we have done Myers has been the worst center value both times. The Texans need more from their high priced players if they want to maintain a winning record.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.