Fake Football, Real Questions (August 29th Edition)
August 28, 2013 | Staffy Stafferton
In the past few months our “Fake Football, Real Questions” series has focused on helping you make tough decisons between similarly ranked players. Now that training camp is in full swing and preseason games are underway, you’re going to see opinions on player value and ADP fluctuate wildly as film is studied, news is leaked, and injuries abound. Staying on top of the latest developments that are impacting the fantasy landscape (and more importantly knowing what to make of them) is a must if you plan on strutting around like a peacock while counting championship cash at the end of the season. Our writers really want to see your best championship strut, and they’re here to help. Make sure you know the answers to these questions before you start slapping stickers on your draft board:
Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor is getting a lot of buzz after a big performance in Friday night’s preseason game. Coach Dennis Allen has reopened the starting QB competition, and says Pryor will be mixed in with the first team offense during this week’s practices. If Pryor is the Raiders starting QB, is he worthy of your consideration as a QB2?
Recommending Pryor as an end game option in your drafts before he led the Raiders on four scoring drives in relief of Matt Flynn last Friday night, is shaping up to be one of my better calls this preseason. When Pryor started doing stuff like this against the Bears, it took a great deal of self control for me to keep from prancing around Twitter like the prized Pekingese at the Westminster Kennel Club. Sure Pryor can bomb in his audition with the starters Thursday night in Seattle, but I still think it will only be a short time before he’s named Oakland’s starter. The moment that happens, Pryor becomes interesting for fantasy purposes. He’ll do enough with his wheels from week to week to offer a high statistical floor at the position that other QB’s typically available late in your draft do not. Oh, and bump him up a bit if your league awards 4 points for passing TDs. 6 point rushing TDs from your QB in that format will pay the bills.
Absolutely. I don’t know if I’m really going out of my way to get him, but in deeper leagues he could be a really nice find. If anyone recalls, he actually was a very nice fantasy option in week 17 last year. He’s a dual threat QB, which could have his legs make up for his inaccuracy issues. He also has a bigger arm than Matt Flynn, so he might be able to challenge defenses deep. If Tim Tebow once had weekly fantasy value, so too will Pryor. Just don’t roll into 2013 with him as your QB1 or anything.
Pryor is enough of a dual-threat talent to merit a QB2 roster spot, but I’m staying away. That Raiders offense has looked atrocious this offseason, and it doesn’t look to be progressing much. The offensive line has been playing like they hate their QBs, and if DMC gets injured like he usually does…all eyes on Pryor. He is still very raw as a passing QB, and unfortunately doesn’t have the receiving talent around him to make up for his growing pains.
Pryor is someone to keep an eye on for fantasy purposes, but you don’t want him as your backup quarterback. The position is very deep this year, not only for fantasy starters, but also in terms of those that will serve as your QB2. From high-ceiling guys like Michael Vick to steady veterans like Ben Roethlisberger to up-and-coming signal callers like Sam Bradford, the QB2 ranks are filled with better fantasy options than Pryor, at least at this point in his career. For now, I’m only thinking about Pryor if it’s an extremely deep league (16+ teams) or if I have the ability to start two quarterbacks and I’m taking a chance on him as a QB3.
Terrelle Pryor is certainly worthy of my consideration as a QB2, but I probably won’t be drafting him as such in any of my leagues. Tebow did it, Vick did it, but Pryor is not going to make the jump from waiver wire fodder to fantasy gold. He just doesn’t have the experience or surrounding talent to carry him. That being said, I do believe Pryor can bring a bit more life to Darren McFadden’s fantasy outlook.
New England rookie Kenbrell Thompkins was the lone bright spot for the Pats last Thursday night, racking up 116 yards on 8 catches. His ADP is up 4 rounds in the past two weeks, topping out at 9.01 in 12 team leagues (WR39). Will Thompkins live up to that price tag this season?
That’s still a decent value for a guy who is probably now a locked-in WR3 with legit WR2 upside, so why not? A washed up Brandon Lloyd was in his role a year ago, so there’s optimism he can hit Lloyd numbers (74-911-4) or better. Considering Lloyd and Welker are gone, Gronk is out, and Danny Amendola’s injury history, Thompkins is the Pats’ WR to own these days, given the value. And if he’s not, so what? He’s a ninth round pick.
Fantasy football is a game of opportunity, and Thompkins will have all he can handle. With the departure of Welker, question marks surrounding Gronk, and the likelihood of Amendola being injured, Thompkins is a great stash. Instant rapport with Tom Brady also speaks wonders. Gaining Brady’s trust is crucial with the lack of familiarity with the other WRs. Even if Amendola stays healthy, I believe Thompkins can make a solid impact every week as he cements the WR2 spot in NE. I’d be excited to have this type of potential in a Round 9 pick.
I’ve been on board with Thompkins since he proved himself competent in the preseason opener. He’s gone on to draw more pass targets in exhibition play than any other NFL player, so it’s pretty safe to say he’s going to remain part of the game plan for the Pats. An 80 reception, 1,000 yard season is not out of the question. I wouldn’t think twice about drafting him ahead of guys with comparable ADPs like Emmanuel Sanders and Vincent Brown, and it’s not crazy to take him ahead of low ceiling veterans with higher ADPs like Anquan Boldin and Greg Jennings.
I have Thompkins ranked slightly behind the WR39 spot, but I think he is an intriguing option for fantasy owners. It’s not hard to imagine Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski each missing four or more games, leaving the door open for New England’s young receivers to reap everything Tom Brady has to sow. I think Thompkins is an ideal WR4 with upside for your fantasy team, but assuming your first two receivers are solid, I’d have no problem rolling the dice with him as a WR3.
Let’s take a look at some comps. Josh Gordon was WR40 last year. He posted 50 catches, 800 yards and 5 TDs. Brandon Lloyd posted 74 catches, 900 yards and 4 TDs. Kenbrell Thompkins is being drafted where Gordon finished last year and replacing Lloyd. Will he approach WR39 status? Based on those numbers, it sure looks like he can. Will I be comfortable drafting him as the 39th WR off the board? Yes.
Check out previous editions of Fake Football, Real Questions: