Terrelle Pryor is a scintillating specimen. A towering 6'6'' and a solid 233 pounds, he's got elite height for an NFL quarterback and the build to withstand hits from brutal defenders. For most quarterbacks, their most prized possession is one of their upper limbs. Judging by preseason buzz, most considered Pryor to be a one-trick pony. Upon further investigation, we may be looking at more of a stabilized stallion than you'd think.
Legs Equal Loot
It's evident in today's NFL landscape that the quarterback position has evolved. First there was Michael Vick: the elusive epiphany. Crazy running ability and a powerful, yet erratic arm. Then came the new-school spiral-slingers. Cam Newton Superman'd into end zones. Colin Kaepernick tattooed himself to the game last year. Russell Wilson to a degree even flashes some leg every once in a while. In fantasy, when it comes to quarterbacks, legs equal loot. Mobile money. Through Pryor's first three games this season, he's amassed 198 yards on the ground, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. It's not crazy to think he could continue to maintain the 66 yards per game clip he's at either. Whether you're in a four or six points-per-touchdown league, he's essentially giving you an extra score via his legs each game.
Pryor is rightfully known for his legs, but surprisingly, Terrelle has shown flashes with his arm. If you were watching Week 3 versus Denver, Pryor showed a lot more poise than you'd expect from someone that has only started a handful of games. He showed solid presence in the pocket, and when needed, he evaded tackles and threw some darts, even while on the run. He opened many eyes. Only a concussion could squelch the building excitement and salivation towards a week four tilt with Washington's wonky defense.
Scouring our metrics, Pryor is actually ranked 7th in passing net expected points, ahead of such names as Tom Brady, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. This number shows us how well above or below expectation a player has played throughout the course of a season. In net expected points per pass (among players with at least 50 pass attempts), Pryor is actually ranked fourth overall, ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford.
One of the truer indicators of a passer's proficiency is displayed via our successful pass percentage, which shows the percentage of passes that actually contributed to the aforementioned passing net expected points totals. Of passing plays Terrelle is tied to, 48.9 percent of them are "positive." This doesn't sound that impressive if you're thinking in terms of standard percentages, but he's actually ranked tenth among passers with at least 50 attempts (ahead of Luck, Brady, Wilson, Kaepernick and Newton to name a few.) Remember, this is a guy that was "only" going to get you points on the ground.
Let's get things straight: I don't think that Pryor is better (or anywhere near) these quarterbacks at this point in his real-life NFL career. This is more of an exercise to prove a point that Pryor has shown that he can be a much better passer than he was given credit for during preseason rankings, and that in terms of fantasy football, you need to start considering him as a viable QB2 at-minimum. He's someone you can definitely start, depending on the matchup.
Players with the upside of Pryor don't grow on trees, which is why it baffles me that in many leagues he's still available. Via my favorite fantasy site he's only owned in 25 percent of leagues. This is 75 percent preposterous! It was only a couple seasons ago that Tim Tebow was racking up top-10 to -12 quarterback weeks. Tim, bless him, displayed one of the more gangly arms in the history of quarterbacking, yet he racked up points on the ground. If you're interested in owning a player with the fantasy impact of a heyday-Tebow equipped with an upgraded arm, you should pay a visit to the waiver wire wishing well, and hope TP is still available.
Along with the glaringly good tied to TP comes something strikingly sour. Luckily Terrelle's legs will give you the security of a relatively high floor, but I wouldn't expect too much out of him considering his supporting cast. Darren McFadden is always broken. Denarius Moore has flashed brilliance but is consistently inconsistent. Then, beyond that point, I dare you to name anyone else who you deem helpful to Pryor's cause. (Get off Google, you goon.) With that being said, you can expect the inconsistency to extend to Pryor as well, but if you play your matchups right, you can also expect some big games.
From This Day Forward
If you've stashed Pryor in your back pocket (better than stuck under your shoe...) then this is the week you've been waiting for. I expect Terrelle to roll over the Rivers and through the woods to San Diego he'll throw. Well, it's actually in Oakland and I don't expect a Raider victory, but I wanted to have some fun, OK?
The Chargers have given up the most points on average to fantasy throwers thus far. That combined with Oakland's own defensive deficiencies and Rivers recent revival gives you a recipe for a bombastic barn-burner. I'm actually rolling with Pryor over Kaepernick this week and have no hesitations doing so over Wilson, Bradford, Luck, Cutler or Schaub as well. The fun doesn't stop there! Following a daunting Week 6 against Kansas City and a Week 7 bye, Pryor gets Pittsburgh (who made Matt Cassel look like royalty), Philadelphia (second most points surrendered to passers) and the Giants (who give up the fifth most points to quarterbacks). At a minimum, you'll stash Pryor and potentially sell high to an injury-stricken team, or just one with pure suckage at the quarterback position. Best case, you've got yourself a point-piling, exciting-to-watch fantasy asset. Come Sunday night's midnight madness game (11:35 PM ET start time!) grab some popcorn, maybe a sleeping bag, and enjoy the fantasy fireworks!