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Fantasy Sports Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football 2013: Don’t Look Now, But Terrelle Pryor Playing Like A QB1

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

 

21.88, 10.04, 20.84, 23.94.

The numbers listed above are the fantasy totals quarterback Terrelle Pryor through the first five weeks of the season (DNP Week 3). Of course, those numbers would look even better if the Raiders weren’t completely dominating Jacksonville during that game, which hindered Pryor’s passing (and rushing) volume. In my personal opinion, it isn’t even remotely close who has been the league’s most improved player thus far.

Yup, that award hands down goes to Pryor.

When he was announced the starting quarterback of the Raiders, not many were very confident that he had the intangibles to be a very competent signal caller. They see an athletic guy who can certainly make plays with his legs, but he had his fair share of accuracy concerns, which was the reason why many weren’t jumping onto the bandwagon of Pryor as a serviceable fantasy quarterback. Well, despite what critics believed at first, they were actually correct. Pryor has not been serviceable.

He’s been better.

Sure, every quarterback is fantasy relevant if they run with the football. It doesn’t matter how below average they are at throwing the football, if they can make plays on the ground, they are always an intriguing option. See TebowTim for example. However, Pryor hasn’t been just a running quarterback. Go back and watch how much his accuracy has improved since Week 1. He has a nice touch on his passes, and is actually pretty accurate when throwing on the run, as he showcased this during Sunday night’s (morning’s?) game against the Chargers. He has been improving each and every week, and I feel that it needs to be addressed.

Week

Completions

Attempts

CMP%

1 19 29 65.5 %
2 15 24 62.5 %
3 19 28 67.9 %
5 18 23 78.3 %

 

Clearly he has progressed as a more accurate and decisive passer each week, and it was extremely evident on Sunday night. During the game against San Diego, Pryor went 8-for-8 with two touchdowns during the first quarter, and failed to throw an incomplete pass until his 11th attempt. He made throws into tight windows, after escaping pressure, which resulted in some insanely accurate throws while on the run. On the season, Pryor ranks 8th in passer rating (97.6) and 6th in completion percentage (68.3%) Pretty impressive numbers for a guy who is throwing to a pedestrian receiving corp, and didn’t really have much time to prepare, considering Matt Flynn was expected to open the season under center. It’s pretty impressive to see how Pryor has come along. During his time at Ohio State, he never really had a full-time quarterback coach by his side. During camp, Pryor sought out a man by the name of Tom House, a former major league baseball pitcher and former training partner with the likes of Tom Brady. At the time, Pryor even made a statement saying “I never really knew how to throw a football before.” House helped Pryor with his footwork and tuned his throwing mechanics, and through five weeks, it sure looks like it’s been paying off.

From a fantasy perspective, Pryor has been just as impressive. He’s been posting quarterback one numbers essentially every single week, and his upside is massive.

Week

Fantasy Points

Rank

1 21.88 QB12
2 10.04 QB28
3 20.84 QB11
5 23.94 QB8

 

It’s a rather small sample size, but Pryor has finished a week as a quarterback one 75 percent of the time this season. Can he maintain this pace? 75 percent is a bit much. I mean, not many signal callers can post that high of a consistency rating, but Pryor has the tools and ability to finish the season as a QB1. Keep in mind that he still gets to face the Eagles, Giants, Chargers, Cowboys and Broncos for the rest of the season, which are terrific matchups. Also, Oakland should be chasing points quite a bit this season, which should help Pryor see an uptick in volume. Pryor has been averaging a solid 19 fantasy points per game, and that’s without having attempted more than 30 passes in any game this season. Of course, we haven’t even dissected his rushing ability. In four starts, Pryor has ran the ball 36 times, and the only quarterback to run with the football more than him has been Russell Wilson (40). Dual-threat ability is always a hot commodity in fantasy land, but Pryor has proved to be more than that, and has a terrific chance to continue his QB1 production.  And oh, by the way, want to know the scary part?

He is only going to continue to get better.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.