Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus each team's most underrated player

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The NFL Power Rankings are all about evaluating teams every week. Because we have to rank all 32, there aren't teams that fall through the cracks. That's not the case with individual players, though.

Some players, no matter what they do, don't get the big headlines. Whether this player is a star who isn't fully appreciated or a role player who defers the praise to more celebrated teammates, our NFL Nation writers identified that guy on the team they cover who quietly gets the job done. Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings:11 |10 |9 |8 |7 |6 |5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

1. New England Patriots (9-1)

Week 11 ranking: 1

Most underrated player: Lawrence Guy, DT

Big, powerful defensive tackles who don't put up weighty sack numbers aren't often part of the postgame conversation, especially if they prefer to be under the radar with the media, such as the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Guy does. But a large part of the success of the Patriots' defense, which is the backbone of this year's team, is Guy's unsung work at the line of scrimmage -- particularly against the run. He also tallied his first career interception earlier this season on an exemplary play. -- Mike Reiss

2. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)

Week 11 ranking: 3

Most underrated player: Nick Boyle, TE

Boyle often takes a backseat to the Ravens' pass-catching tight ends --Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst -- with fans. But Boyle is the NFL's top blocking tight end and a major reason Baltimore has rushed for 2,038 yards -- the most by any team in its first 10 games of a season since the 1977 Bears. "We all know how valuable he is," Andrews said. "He's basically what makes this offense tick." -- Jamison Hensley

3. San Francisco 49ers (9-1)

Week 11 ranking: 2

Most underrated player: K'Waun Williams, CB

The diminutive Williams is a favorite in the Niners locker room for playing much bigger than his 5-foot-9, 185-pound frame would suggest. Williams is one of just three defensive backs with at least one sack, two forced fumbles and two interceptions through the first 11 weeks. "We call him the Shark for a reason, because he's just out there tearing everything up in sight," Niners linebacker Fred Warner said. "He kind of is the whole package and an outstanding player for sure." -- Nick Wagoner

4. Seattle Seahawks (8-2)

Week 11 ranking: 4

Most underrated player: Shaquill Griffin, CB

Of all the issues the Seahawks have had on defense, Griffin has not been one of them. His 11 pass breakups are tied for the league lead among defensive backs, per ESPN charting. He has allowed a passer rating of 75.9 when he has been the nearest defender in coverage, per NFL Next Gen Stats. That's eighth-best among DBs with at least 50 targets. Griffin will have a hard time making the Pro Bowl unless he starts picking off some passes, but he is otherwise playing at that level. -- Brady Henderson

5. Green Bay Packers (8-2)

Week 11 ranking: 5

Most underrated player: Elgton Jenkins, LG

The second-round pick ranks fourth among all NFL linemen in ESPN's pass block win rate at 97.3%, which also is second among all guards. The rookie trails NFL leader and fellow Packer Corey Linsley, who was probably second choice for this write-up. Jenkins took over as a starter in Week 3 after left guard Lane Taylorsuffered a torn biceps but would've done so eventually even without an injury to Taylor. "There's been so much good, both in the run and the pass," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. "But what I love about Elgton is the consistency and the level of effort that he brings each and every day on every play." -- Rob Demovsky

6. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

Week 11 ranking: 6

Most underrated player: Demario Davis, LB

The eighth-year veteran has never made a Pro Bowl. But he is working on his third straight season of at least 110 tackles. Since he arrived as a free agent last year, the Saints have had the NFL's No. 1 run defense (allowing just 82.2 rushing yards per game over the past two seasons). Throw in everything Davis does as a captain, emotional leader and signal-caller wearing the defensive headset and he might be the Saints' best free-agent signing in a decade. -- Mike Triplett

7. Minnesota Vikings (8-3)

Week 11 ranking: 7

Most underrated player: Jayron Kearse, S

In back-to-back weeks, Kearse has been credited with making the final play of the game to seal victories. He picked off Dak Prescott's Hail Mary attempt last week and broke up a pass in the end zone as time expired on Sunday against the Broncos. Kearse's playing time has fluctuated, and the return of Andrew Sendejo puts the 6-foot-4 safety's role in question. Still, when Harrison Smith sustained a hamstring injury late against Denver, Vikings coaches trusted Kearse to cover tight end Noah Fant in the ultimate "got to have it" situation. Coming through in these moments cements Kearse's importance in the secondary. -- Courtney Cronin

8. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Week 11 ranking: 9

Most underrated player: Anthony Sherman, FB

Sherman doesn't play much on offense, but there's a reason the Chiefs keep bringing him back. Sherman is now in his seventh season with the Chiefs because of his special-teams ability. He led the Chiefs in special-teams tackles with five heading into Monday night's game against the Chargers. -- Adam Teicher

9. Dallas Cowboys (6-4)

Week 11 ranking: 10

Most underrated player: La'el Collins, RT

On an offensive line with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, it is easy to be overlooked, but Collins is having his best season. He came to the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent playing left guard and moved to right tackle in his third season. He has become comfortable in his techniques and has found the right blend between aggressiveness and patience, especially in pass protection. The only issue he has is a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee that he aggravated in Sunday's win at Detroit. If he can't play, then folks will see his value. -- Todd Archer

10. Houston Texans (6-4)

Week 11 ranking: 8

Most underrated player: Carlos Hyde, RB

Yes, Hyde is averaging 76.9 yards per game, nearly double what he averaged last season, but he is sometimes overlooked because he plays on an offense highlighted by quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Thanks to Hyde, the Texans rank fifth in the NFL in rushing. -- Sarah Barshop

11. Los Angeles Rams (6-4)

Week 11 ranking: 11

Most underrated player: Cory Littleton, LB

On a defense that packs plenty of star power with Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and Clay Matthews, Littleton often gets overlooked. But the fourth-year pro, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, often comes up with big-time plays. He has two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a team-best 82 tackles this season. Littleton, also a special-teams standout, is in the final season of his contract. -- Lindsey Thiry

12. Buffalo Bills (7-3)

Week 11 ranking: 13

Most underrated player: Jordan Phillips, DT

Phillips is a known commodity among the Bills fan base, but the rest of the league likely will get to know him this coming offseason, as he has played himself into a sizable payday. Despite initially taking a backseat to 2019 first-round pick Ed Oliver, the upcoming free agent trails only Aaron Donald in sacks among defensive tackles with seven and has been a much-needed presence in Buffalo's interior pass rush. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

13. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)

Week 11 ranking: 14

Most underrated player: Zach Pascal, WR

Pascal has been the Colts' best receiver not named T.Y. Hilton this season. Pascal, who was claimed off waivers from Tennessee in 2018, leads the Colts in receiving yards (364) despite being fifth (23) in receptions and third in targets (40). He'll continue to be one of quarterback Jacoby Brissett's favorite targets at receiver until Hilton returns from his calf injury, which has cost Hilton four games this season. -- Mike Wells

14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)

Week 11 ranking: 12

Most underrated player: Jalen Mills, CB

He isn't the fastest or flashiest corner out there, but there's no denying the value Mills brings to the Eagles' secondary. The defense has looked much different since he returned to the lineup Week 7 following a lengthy absence due to a foot injury. Over the past three games, opposing quarterbacks have managed only two passing touchdowns while averaging 170 passing yards per game. That's quite a shift from earlier in the season, when the Eagles were among the most giving pass defenses in the NFL. Mills' swagger and steady, physical style have been a big part of the turnaround. -- Tim McManus

15. Oakland Raiders (6-4)

Week 11 ranking: 17

Most underrated player: Trayvon Mullen, CB

Sure, the rookie was a second-round draft pick, but many observers wondered if the Raiders were too high on him when they traded away a former first-rounder in Gareon Conley midseason to elevate Mullen. Turns out, the Raiders' instincts have been on the mark. Mullen still is growing into the role, no doubt, but while he has been a step or so short on a pair of pick-sixes over the past few weeks, he sealed the Raiders' win against the Bengals on Sunday with a pick of Ryan Finley. -- Paul Gutierrez

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5)

Week 11 ranking: 15

Most underrated player: Steven Nelson, CB

The Steelers' corners haven't been mentioned much with Minkah Fitzpatrick making highlight-reel plays every week, and that's a good thing. Nelson didn't have his best game against the Browns -- he was covering Odell Beckham Jr.when the wideout made the 42-yard deep catch over the middle -- but outside of that, Nelson has been solid. According to NFL's Next Gen Stats, he has been targeted 13% of the time, and quarterbacks have completed 19 of 39 attempts for 259 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions when Nelson is the nearest defender. -- Brooke Pryor

17. Tennessee Titans (5-5)

Week 11 ranking: 18

Most underrated player: Logan Ryan, CB

Ryan draws a tough assignment every week as the primary slot corner, along with lining up on the outside. In addition to his coverage, Ryan is asked to be a key player in run support, as evidenced by his 74 tackles -- second most on the team. His versatility as a defensive back makes him an impactful pass-rusher from the nickel spot. No defensive back has more sacks than Ryan (7.5) dating back to 2018. Ryan's 3.5 sacks this season also are second most on the team. His three interceptions are tied with safety Kevin Byard for the team lead. Ryan is a locker room leader, as well. -- Turron Davenport

18. Carolina Panthers (5-5)

Week 11 ranking: 16

Most underrated player: DJ Moore, WR

He gets overlooked in the offense because running backChristian McCaffrey is on pace to break Chris Johnson's NFL single-season record for total yards from scrimmage, but Moore quietly has become quite a weapon. He had eight receptions for 95 yards in Sunday's loss, and over the past three games, he has 24 catches for 316 yards. With 779 receiving yards and six games remaining, he is easily on pace for a 1,000-yard season. He would become the youngest Carolina receiver to do so. -- David Newton

19. Los Angeles Chargers (4-7)

Week 11 ranking: 19

Most underrated player: Derek Watt, FB

Although he has seen limited snaps at fullback, the Wisconsin product has been an impact player on special teams. Entering Monday's contest against the Chiefs, Watt is leading the Chargers in special-teams tackles with 13. Watt also is 3-of-4 on converting third-and-1 rushes this season. -- Eric D. Williams

20. Chicago Bears (4-6)

Week 11 ranking: 20

Most underrated player: Nick Kwiatkoski, LB

All Kwiatkoski does is make plays when given the opportunity. The reserve linebacker has been pressed into action multiple times this season because of issues with Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, and Kwiatkoski has responded each time. A former fourth-round pick, Kwiatkoski had 10 total tackles, one sack and an interception in the Bears' victory over the Lions in Week 10. Kwiatkoski also excels on special teams, where he made a huge tackle early in Sunday night's loss to the Rams. -- Jeff Dickerson

21. Detroit Lions (3-6-1)

Week 11 ranking: 21

Most underrated player: Marvin Jones Jr., WR

It might sound weird that a known quantity would be underrated, but Jones has been a consistently strong presence since signing with Detroit in 2016. He is tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with eight and has had four or more catches in eight games this season. He has been playing under a reasonable contract and people know who he is, but his overall value to the Lions often goes unnoticed because of the presence of Kenny Golladay and the team's collective struggles. -- Michael Rothstein

22. Cleveland Browns (4-6)

Week 11 ranking: 25

Most underrated player: Joe Schobert, LB

Schobert quietly has had a fantastic season as a stabilizing force for a Browns defense that has desperately needed one. In the win over the Steelers on Thursday, Schobert had two picks, including one that set up the game-clinching TD. He leads the team with 67 tackles, more than double that of anybody else on the roster. His presence is going to be especially key as the Browns attempt to plug the dam while their top defensive player, DE Myles Garrett, sits the rest of the season with a suspension. -- Jake Trotter

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6)

Week 11 ranking: 22

Most underrated player: D.J. Hayden, CB

He is the Jaguars' nickelback and has been good in coverage against slot receivers. When he is the nearest defender, slot receivers have caught just eight passes for 107 yards, and QBs targeting slot receivers against Hayden are completing only 44% of their attempts, per NextGen Stats. He also is the Jaguars' best blitzer among defensive backs and has a career-high two sacks so far this season. -- Mike DiRocco

24. Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)

Week 11 ranking: 24

Most underrated player: Chandler Jones, LB

It might sound crazy, but Jones doesn't get the respect he deserves around the league, despite being arguably the best edge rusher in the NFL over the past five years. He leads the league in sacks yet again with 12.5, but Jones didn't make the NFL Network's Top 100 ranking. He is a game-changer every week who forces offensive lines to prepare accordingly for him, yet he is widely forgotten about outside the Cardinals locker room. -- Josh Weinfuss

25. Atlanta Falcons (3-7)

Week 11 ranking: 27

Most underrated player: Ricardo Allen, S

Allen isn't known as a ball hawk, but he makes a tremendous impact with his football intelligence and ability to be a step ahead of the opponent. Allen is the best communicator on the defense and has the versatility to play both safety spots as well as cornerback in a pinch. Allen had one of the team's four interceptions in a win over Carolina after the Falcons had just four takeaways entering the game. "For me, I'm not a stat guy," Allen said. "But I think we're doing something now, just stacking [wins] like we've done coming off the bye week." -- Vaughn McClure

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)

Week 11 ranking: 23

Most underrated player: Lavonte David, LB

David continues to be not only the most underrated player on the Bucs but one of the most, if not the most, underrated players in the NFL. He has two All-Pro nods, but it's just not enough. No other player has more solo tackles (689) or fumble recoveries (14) since 2012, and he is the only player aside from Brian Urlacher to record 800-plus tackles, 20-plus sacks and 10-plus interceptions through his first seven seasons. David showed that value against the Cardinals in Week 10, when he forced and recovered a David Johnson fumble. -- Jenna Laine

27. Denver Broncos (3-7)

Week 11 ranking: 26

Most underrated player: Justin Simmons, S

Since the start of the 2018 season, no defensive player has played more consecutive snaps than Simmons -- 1,645 and counting as of Sunday's game in Minnesota -- so he certainly is known in-house for his efforts with the Broncos. But Simmons isn't as routinely mentioned as some of the game's better safeties. Simmons has taken well to coach Vic Fangio's scheme, as the Broncos have spent much of the season in the league's top 10 in total defense, scoring defense and pass defense (No. 4, No. 8 and No. 5, respectively, after 10 games). -- Jeff Legwold

28. New York Jets (3-7)

Week 11 ranking: 29

Most underrated player: Ryan Griffin, TE

The Jets signed Griffin to a one-year, $1.1 million contract before training camp, thinking he would be a hold-the-fort player until Chris Herndon returned from his four-game suspension. Griffin has exceeded expectations, especially in the passing game. He leads the team with four receiving touchdowns and is coming off his first 100-yard game, the first 100-yard game by a Jets tight end since Dustin Keller in 2011. The Jets have tweaked Griffin's role in recent weeks, moving him around the formation. He has earned the trust of QB Sam Darnold. This was a terrific free-agent pickup. -- Rich Cimini

29. Miami Dolphins (2-8)

Week 11 ranking: 28

Most underrated player: DeVante Parker, WR

Parker often has been admonished for not living up to his first-round expectations, but he is in the midst of a breakout season. He has 604 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season and is on pace for 966 yards, which would easily be a career high. With Preston Williams out for the season with a torn ACL, Parker has stepped up as the Dolphins' No. 1 receiver, and the offense has run through him. "He's the most consistent guy that we have on our offense and has been all year long," quarterbackRyan Fitzpatrick said. Parker should get some love for that. -- Cameron Wolfe

30. New York Giants (2-8)

Week 11 ranking: 30

Most underrated player: Dalvin Tomlinson, DL

He plays on a line with first-round rookie Dexter Lawrence and newly acquired Leonard Williams, yet it is Tomlinson who leads all Giants defensive linemen with four tackles for a loss this season. He also is tied for second on the team with 2.5 sacks. Tomlinson might be the forgotten man, but he has played well this season, especially last week against the Jets, when he finished with nine tackles and a sack in his best game of the campaign. -- Jordan Raanan

31. Washington Redskins (1-9)

Week 11 ranking: 31

Most underrated player: Quinton Dunbar, CB

There is no quantifiable stat to measure why he is underrated, but it's more the eye test. And it's easy to get lost in the fact that the Redskins' pass defense stinks, especially on third down, where they rank 32nd. Dunbar only has five passes defended this season, which is a low number. But there's a reason: Most of the issues stem from teams attacking elsewhere. Despite fewer chances, Dunbar does have a team-high three picks. He is a smart player who studies quite a bit and is worth keeping around. Dunbar is not the problem on defense. -- John Keim

32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-10)

Week 11 ranking: 32

Most underrated player: Trey Hopkins, C

Hopkins won the starting job in the preseason, and he has been one of the few Bengals who has consistently played well this season. Hopkins has won 93.3% of his pass blocks (ESPN metric powered by NFL Next Gen). That's good for 15th among all centers. Hopkins is on an offensive line that has struggled all season, but he has been one of the bright spots for Cincinnati. -- Ben Baby

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