We are at the halfway mark of the NFL season even though Week 10 is upon us – each team has played at least eight of its scheduled 16 regular-season matchups. Let’s take a look at some of the more underrated players to this point around the league. None of them will win major awards but perhaps have earned a nice raise or new contract in the offseason.
Underrated NFL Players | 2020 NFL Expert Analysis
Robby Anderson, Panthers WROn April 1, the Carolina Panthers signed former Jets receiver Robby Anderson to a two-year contract with little fanfare. That’s because Anderson played for the lousy Jets. In 2019, Anderson caught 52 passes for 779 yards and five touchdowns. In his previous two seasons, he led the Jets in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He was one of eight NFL receivers with at least 50 catches, 750 yards and five touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.
Anderson has emerged as Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target in 2020 as Anderson is fourth in the NFL in receiving yards with 751. Anderson’s smooth route running and speed has made him Bridgewater’s preferred target within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. In Week 10, Anderson will look to put together another productive performance at the expense of a Buccaneers team against whom he posted 109 yards on nine receptions back in Week 2.
Does Jets GM Joe Douglas think he made a mistake letting Anderson walk in free agency?
“I’ve thought about Robby a lot…that’s on me and that’s on us moving forward to get a better handle on every players’ market value,” Douglas said recently.
James Robinson, Jaguars RBUnless you are a graduate of Illinois State or a huge fan of the Jaguars, you probably never heard of Robinson, who wasn’t even supposed to make the Jaguars’ active roster after being an undrafted free agent. However, he showed enough in camp that the Jags let Leonard Fournette go and put Robinson in the featured role. He has shined.
Robinson ranks No. 6 in the NFL with 580 yards rushing and has surpassed Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay for the most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie through the first nine weeks of a season in NFL history. Adding to his 580 yards on the ground, he’s caught 27 passes for 225 yards, making it a total of 805 scrimmage yards in eight games.
Robinson also has seven total touchdowns on the season, five rushing and two receiving. His team just stink at 1-7 and on a seven-game losing streak.
“I just go with (what) the game plan is, and when I get the ball, I try to make a play every time. I think that’s just what’s going to help us. What I’m doing is good, but it’s just not enough. We’ve all got to come together and find a way to win and get over that hump,” Robinson said after Sunday’s loss to Houston.
Blake Martinez, Giants LBWhile New York is having another rough season, Martinez leads the NFL with 82 tackles. Originally a fourth-round draft choice in 2016, Martinez (6-2, 237 pounds) led the Green Bay Packers in tackles in each of the last three years, when he started every one of the Packers’ 50 regular-season and postseason games.
The Giants signed him to a three-year deal in March worth $30 million. Martinez leads the NFL in tackles since 2017 and is second only to five-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner since he entered the league in 2016. In Sunday’s win over Washington, Martinez got his first interception of the year. He also has two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble this year.
Trey Hendrickson, Saints DEThat Aaron Donald and Myles Garrett are tied for the NFL lead with nine sacks each is no shock, but that the Saints’ Hendricks is third with 7.5 is a surprise. The 2017 third-round pick out of Florida Atlantic never had more than 4.5 sacks as a part-time player in three previous seasons.
This past Sunday night, he was in Tom Brady’s face all night, having sacked him on three plays in a row, with one called back for a penalty. The Saints destroyed Brady’s Bucs.
If he keeps up this pace in the second half of the season, Hendrickson would finish with 15 sacks, which would be the sixth-most in a season in Saints history. Pat Swilling (17 in 1991) and La’Roi Glover (17 in 2000) are at the top of the list, followed by Swilling again (16½ in 1989), Wayne Martin (15½ in 1992) and Cam Jordan (15½ last season).
Hendrickson also has 13 quarterback hits this season, tied with Garrett, and only two behind Donald.
“The work’s not done,” Hendrickson said of his career-best start. “We’re only eight games in. I’m hungry. I don’t think anybody in a race wants to take third. … Just getting after the quarterback, this is something that I was born to do.”
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