Trendsetting or Treading Water: Trading Terrelle Pryor in 2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor
Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor
Sep 15 2013 Oakland CA USA Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor 2 controls the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter at Oco Coliseum The Oakland Raiders defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 19 9 Kelley L Cox USA TODAY Sports

What to do with Terrelle Pryor in 2-QB fantasy football leagues is a question many 2-QBers have been grappling with since Pryor’s Week 1 performance. If you own Pryor in a 2-QB league, you’re trying to figure out if you should keep him or trade him. And if you don’t own Pryor, you’re deciphering whether you should make an offer for him.

There’s intrigue on both sides. Going into 2-QB drafts, Pryor was selected as the 37th fantasy quarterback off the board, according to August 2-QB ADP data. Closer to the start of the season, I took part in two 12-team 2-QB drafts. In those drafts Pryor went in the 11th and ninth rounds, drafted at QB30 and QB27, respectively.

Some fantasy footballers wonder exactly what the appeal is with Pryor, seeing as how he’s only started three NFL career games:

  • Game 1: 2012 – Week 17 – Versus San Diego Chargers
  • 22.9 fantasy points – QB7
  • Game 2: 2013 – Week 1 – Versus Indianapolis Colts
  • 19.88 fantasy points – QB12
  • Game 3: 2013 – Week 2 – Versus Jacksonville Jaguars
  • 10.04 fantasy points – QB28

In standard scoring leagues, Pryor has two QB1 performances in three games. That’s something to build on. Sure, a three game sample size is obviously very small, and one that we can’t base concrete decisions on, but at this point it’s all we have to go on.

We already know the story against Pryor. He can’t throw, he’s not a good real life quarterback. Neither were some other quarterbacks, notably Tim Tebow, and if you haven’t read this amazing and thorough historical breakdown of the rushing quarterback in fantasy football, by fellow XN Sports writer Rich Hribar, do yourself a favor and read it. Right now.

Pryor has been deemed, a bigger, faster, strong version of Tebow. Over a full 16-game season, according to Hribar’s article, Tebow would have finished the 2011 season as QB9 in standard scoring fantasy football leagues.

When it comes to quarterbacks like Pryor and Tebow, it’s not the passing numbers that get us excited about a Pryor-type fantasy talent. It’s the rushing yards. Especially in standard scoring leagues where rushing touchdowns are worth more than passing touchdowns.

Add up Pryor’s rushing stat totals from his three career starts and you get a stat line of 31 carries for 221 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown. A 7.1 rushing yards/carry average probably won’t be sustainable all season long, but if you take away Pryor’s 13 carries for 122 rushing yards in Week 1, you still get a 5.5 rushing yards/carry average. Pryor rushing the ball 13 times a game. like he did Week 1, is also not going to happen every game, but he’s averaged nine attempts in his two other starts. Over 16 games that’s 88 rushing attempts. In Rich’s article, any quarterback that rushed 81-90 times, since 2001, finished no worse than QB9 on the season. There’s also an attractive stat for quarterbacks with over 100 carries, and Pryor could be in that wheelhouse this year.

The way Pryor plays football isn’t always going to look pretty, but the danger of him losing his job isn’t as high as it was entering Week 1. Part of the reason is Pryor’s improved play as a passer. In his lone start last year, Pryor’s completion percentage was a dismal 46.45. In his two starts this year, that has improved to 64.2%.

Again, a three game sample size is hard to go off, but if this article had been written prior to Pryor’s game managing Week 2 performance, Pryor would have been a good sell high candidate in 2-QB leagues. After what happened in Week 2, he’s now switched to a good buy low target. If Pryor puts up another decent fantasy performance against the Broncos Monday night, in a game where the Raiders could be playing catch-up real fast, padding Pryor’s garbage time numbers, he could be a buy high guy again.

Pryor’s finish as the 28th highest scoring quarterback in standard fantasy leagues Week 2 could have some 2-QB owners hesitant to trade for him, or start him, but JJ Zachariason of made an interesting point regarding that. Zachariason mentioned how we might have to temper expectations for fantasy quarterbacks playing Jacksonville because of how bad the Jaguars are. If a team gets off to an early lead versus the Jaguars, there’ll be less of an incentive to become aggressive on offensive, which can lead to a more conservative run-based/clock killing offense.

That’s what happened to Pryor and the Raiders in Week 2, and could help explain his less than stellar Week 2 fantasy performance. It’s not a concrete answer, just one possible explanation. It happened with Alex Smith and the Chiefs Week 1; it’s just that Smith was able to throw two touchdowns, making his final stat line a pleasant one.

Whether you should trade for Pryor or trade him away will all depend on your current quarterback situation. If Pryor is your QB3, but you have a shaky QB2 option such as Josh Freeman, you could look to move Freeman while he still has some cache attached to his name to an owner in your league in desperate need of a QB2 upgrade. Pryor’s schedule the rest of the season is no cakewalk, but it’s not an extraordinarily tough one either, which would be a good selling point.

On the other hand, if you’re a Freeman owner, worried that he could lose his job, meaning you’d be out a QB2, target the Pryor owner. There’s a good chance Pryor is sitting on that team’s bench, with the owner waiting for an offer. If that’s the case now would be a good time to trade for him after Pryor’s not-so-sizzling Week 2 output.

Stats used in this article from

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Salvatore Stefanile
Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and believes that 2-QB fantasy football leagues will be the future of fantasy football. You can read about his 2-QB fantasy football opinions and analysis at