Sunday, July 15, 2018
Terrelle Pryor 2018 Fantasy Impact: New York Jets
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Terrelle Pryor 2018 Fantasy Impact: New York Jets

Terrelle Pryor was a hot commodity after putting up 1,000 yards with the Browns in his first full season as a receiver. That led to a one-year, $8 million contract with the Redskins. It didn’t go very well and Washington let him walk. Pryor joined the New York Jets, who will become his seventh team overall and his third in the last three years.

Things were about as bad as they could get in Pryor’s lone season in Washington, but there’s at least some hope for him to turn things around.

Reasons to Get Excited

Succeeded With QB Uncertainty

Pryor didn’t exactly have stellar quarterback play in his breakout 2016 season. Cleveland’s quarterbacks included Cody Kessler, Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III, Charlie Whitehurst and Kevin Hogan. If Pryor could get 1,000 yards with that group (none of whom are still in Cleveland) he could do it with just about anyone.

Recovered From Injury

Though he has been healthy for most of his NFL career, Pryor’s stint in Washington included some ankle issues. He originally suffered the injury in Week 2 and it apparently bothered him until surgery ended his season after Week 11.

The hope is the injury is mostly to blame for Pryor’s struggles and he’s back to normal now. As someone with no prior history of ankle injuries (no pun intended), he should be fine in September.

In his one healthy game of 2017, he saw season-highs in targets (11) and receptions (6) along with 66 yards for what would be his second-best fantasy performance of the year. A healthy ankle could have changed the course of his season and we wouldn’t be so worried about him now.

Potential Increase in Volume

It wouldn’t take much for Pryor to be the Jets’ number-one receiver. As it stands now, the Jets could enter Week 1 without their top five receivers from 2017.

Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse are penciled into the Week 1 starting lineup at the moment, but that could change. Anderson is in legal trouble. Though most of his charges were dropped, he could still serve a suspension.

Kearse, on the other hand, could be cut at some point before the season. He’s in the final year of his contract and the Jets would free up $5.55 million in cap space if they decide to move on. The rest of New York’s top five receivers from 2017–Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Matt Forte and Jeremy Kerley–are employed elsewhere or retired. Rostering Pryor is obviously much more tempting if he’s set to be New York’s top target.

Reasons to Pump the Brakes

Crowded Depth Chart

Unfortunately for Pryor, targets could be hard to come by if both Anderson and Kearse are available for Week 1. The Jets have a lot of wide receivers. Quincy Enunwa is set to return and the Jets also added veterans Andre Roberts and Charles Johnson. Devin Smith, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen were all New York draft picks who are still on their rookie contracts. The argument could be made that no Jets receiver will be a particularly attractive option in 2018.

One-Hit Wonder

As impressive as it is that Pryor was the 21st-ranked fantasy receiver in PPR leagues in 2016, we haven’t seen all that much production from him. We have several quarterback seasons, one good receiver season and one terrible receiver season. Was 2016 a fluke? It’s possible.

Pryor needed 141 targets (12th among receivers) to achieve such a high rank in Cleveland. If things don’t break his way, he won’t be getting anywhere close to that kind of volume. Not a good sign for his 2018 prospects.

Bad Situation

We have no idea who New York’s quarterback will be. It could be Teddy Bridgewater, or Josh McCown, or Bryce Petty, or Christian Hackenberg, or Baker Mayfield or another rookie they take with the third overall pick. As the old saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any. None of these options are particularly exciting, at least in the short-term.

Granted, Pryor did have a few good games with McCown when both were in Cleveland in 2016. But it doesn’t bode well if that’s the best thing to be said about this group.

Conclusion

Pryor should be a fun late-round selection. Almost everyone is off the bandwagon and it isn’t too difficult to tell the story of him returning to WR2 form. Don’t be in a position where you need to rely on him, but stashing him for a few weeks to see what happens is a decent move. Better to take a shot on Pryor in the later rounds than go with a safer option.

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About Derek Norton

Derek Norton is a freelance writer with a focus on fantasy football and esports. His work has also appeared on FantasyPros, LeagueSafe Post, Dober Games and SUGO.gg. Follow him on Twitter @mdereknorton or send an e-mail to m.derek.norton@gmail.com.

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