Michael Vick Will Win (Or Lose) You Your 2-QB Fantasy Football League in 2013

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Eagles QB Michael Vick

Aug 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) runs with the ball during the second quarter of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field. John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one expert in the world of fantasy football that tends to get as much love/hate as anybody it has to be Matthew Berry. When you work for the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ that’s bound to happen. You’re not going to make everybody happy, and you’re most definitely going to make a lot of people unhappy. Especially if they take your advice, and it wronged them in some way.

Perhaps the one piece of advice that will haunt Berry for the rest of his life occurred back in 2011, as part of his Draft Day Manifesto that year. If you don’t remember, that was the time Berry told us to draft Michael Vick first overall. Not in the first round. Not as the first quarterback. No. But as the first player off the board entirely. 1.01. And that was in 1-QB standard leagues.

At the time, you either loved or hated the call. And it’s one that Berry has never been able to live down. Today, with this article, I feel like I’m about to go all Matthew Berry on you. Why? Because I’m going to say something I never thought I would say: Michael Vick will win you your 2-QB fantasy football league this year… Or, he’ll lose it…

You might not be too concerned with the second part of that statement, as the first half is the real money shot.

Most people, and by extension, most fantasy football drafters are either risk takers or risk adverse. Read fellow XN Sports writer C.D. Carter‘s book How To Think Like a Fantasy Football Winner’ to find out more about the brain, and how our thinking impacts fantasy football decisions. I usually tend to fall into the second category of risk averse, but sometimes you have to be the guy at the poker table going all in with a 2-7 offsuit hand. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, other than you’re tired of folding all the time, even if you have a good hand, because you don’t want to risk losing all of your money.

I’m not saying Michael Vick is the Pocket Aces of 2-QB fantasy football leagues this season, but if he were, you don’t have to go all in with him. You can sit back, feel out the room, and call your shot whenever you feel comfortable. And if it passes, and Vick gets taken before you have a chance to draft him, you don’t have to worry about it coming back to haunt you if Vick is riding the pine by Week 9.

However, if you do draft Vick this year, the risk isn’t as high as it was in 2011, because unlike during the 2011 fantasy football drafting season, when Vick could have legitimately been the highest scoring fantasy player, not just quarterback, we don’t have to pay 2011 Vick draft prices to acquire the 2013 fantasy version of Vick. If you’re drafting today, which many of you might be, Vick is currently being drafted in that QB2 tier of 2-QB leagues.

Now, while we do have updated August 2-QB ADP, even that is outdated. Any ADP is going to be outdated if you don’t update it every day. It’s just the way it is. If you want to take a closer look at how Vick is shooting up the 2-QB draft boards, you can do so in this article, examining Vick versus Eli Manning, in their battle for the top QB2 crown.

The reason why I’m endorsing Vick, after being lukewarm on him, is that he has the potential to be the highest scoring fantasy quarterback, but he comes without the price tag that the potential top fantasy scorer usually holds. In 2-QB leagues that’s an Aaron Rodgers or a Drew Brees, which for the most part, is a first-round pick, and in some cases, most cases, that’s the first or second-overall pick.

If you could draft a quarterback that could be the highest scoring fantasy quarterback of them all, but not have to do so until 12, 13, or 14 other quarterbacks are off the board, wouldn’t that intrigue you? Especially if you already have your QB1 in place, and Vick would be your 2-QB team’s QB2?

I know it intrigued me, and that’s why I’m here today.

Before delving deeper into the value of Vick in 2-QB leagues, I want to make it clear that Vick is the ultimate boom/bust pick in 2-QB leagues, and in some cases you might have to burn a high pick on him. That will most certainly be the case the closer your draft is to the start of the NFL season, as he will surely climb up the draft board.

Looking at the 2-QB ADP we have, Vick is currently the 18th QB taken off the board, and has an ADP of 65.2. That’s a sixth-round draft price in 10 or 12-team 2-QB leagues. Eli is QB13, with an ADP of 39.1, putting him at the top of the QB2 tier. If you got a chance to read that QB2 battle piece, you’ll notice that Vick is being drafted higher than that. While Vick is already starting to cost more than he was weeks ago, he’s still in the QB2 tier. For now.

We already went over different ways to look at the QB2 tier, when deciding when and which QB2 to draft, if you are unable to land two QB1s. Eli has been atop the QB2 tier perch since the 2-QB ADP become available, but Vick could be the man to dethrone him soon enough. Determining whether or not he should be the top QB2 could be one of the more difficult decisions to make in many 2-QB drafts.

Using the QB Custom Similarity Scores App on rotoViz, Vick has one of the highest projected points per game (PPG) ceilings in both standard scoring fantasy leagues, and leagues that award 6 points/passing touchdown:

rotoViz Ceiling Rankings

rotoViz Ceiling Rankings

In standard leagues he comes in at QB9, with a ceiling of 21.4 points per game (PPG), only a 2.4 PPG difference between Aaron Rodgers. In leagues where passing touchdowns are worth 6 points, he shoots up all the way to third, with a projection of 18.7 PPG, or only 1.2 PPG less than Rodgers.

The flip side to that is Vick has one of the lowest floors as well, according to the rotoViz sim app, coming in at QB18 and QB20, in 4-point and 6-point passing touchdown leagues, respectively:

rotoViz Floor 2-QB Rankings

rotoViz Floor 2-QB Rankings

Those two sets of rankings should show you just how much of a boom/bust pick Vick is in fantasy this year, which will weigh heavily on your decision to draft him or not.

If Vick is a draft day consideration in your upcoming 2-QB fantasy football league, you’re going to obviously want to find all the positive pieces of information you can, to state your case, such as I have below:

-The crazy fast tempo offense the Eagles are likely to run this season, which will be spearheaded by Vick at QB.
-The bad Eagles defense, which could lead to plenty of shootouts.
-Vick’s preseason numbers:
28 of 38 passing, 74% completion rate, 383 passing yards, 10.07 passing yards/attempt, two passing touchdowns, two interceptions, and 73 rushing yards.
-Having an average of 3.51 seconds to throw, which was a preseason best, according to PFF Signature Stats.
-His history as a top fantasy quarterback, including three Top-3 fantasy quarterback scoring finishes, including his unworldly 2010, where he was the second highest scoring fantasy player overall, and the highest fantasy scoring quarterback, even though he only started 11 games.
-Playing behind a rejuvenated offensive line, which will be returning key injured starters from last season, such as Center Jason Kelce, and adding first round rookie offensive tackle Lane Johnson.
-The second best adjusted preseason quarterback rating, according to PFF.
-Four QB1 (Top-12) fantasy finishes in 2012, out of nine games he started and finished.

Even with all the signs pointing to Vick as a guy that could win you your 2-QB fantasy football league, he could also lose it for you. With the obvious fear of him being injured, or benched because he’s unable to fully grasp and flourish under Kelly’s offensive system.

Let’s break down some of the negatives for Vick, like we did the positives:

-Third highest turnover/start ratio past three seasons.
-During his 11-year career, has only one full 16-game season under his belt.
-Never thrown more than 21 passing touchdowns in a season.
-Career high in passing yards is 3,303.
-Regressed in fantasy points per game past three seasons.
-He’s 33-years-old.
-Decline in adjusted yards/attempt, three years running.

You’ve seen the good and the bad with Vick, and you’ve probably already made your decision on him, as to whether or not he’s a draft day target, or a draft day run-away-from-and-never-draft player.

If you’re looking at the positives, and think there’s upside, Vick could utilize his rushing skills to compliment an uptempo offense, while playing behind one of the potentially top NFL offensive lines, as well as being on a team that could be in shoot-out after shoot-out this year. Of course, none of that upside and potential could be fully realized, and we’re left with Nick Foles starting under center for the majority of the 2013 NFL season.

The main reason why I’m high on Vick, at this moment, is because he’s being drafted in the QB2 tier, but could easily outperform his draft day 2-QB ADP. If I can get a potential QB1, at a QB2 price, especially after already having drafted my actual QB1, the risk isn’t as bad as it would be, if I were relying solely on Vick to anchor my 2-QB fantasy football team. There’s risk, and then there’s calculated risk.

I hope going “all in” with Vick in 2-QB fantasy football leagues in 2013 won’t come back to haunt me like it did when Matthew Berry called his Vick shot back in 2011, but there’s worse things that can happen. Like writing a book about fantasy football, and seeing it shoot up the New York Times Best Sellers List.

*Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData.com, MyFantasyLeague.com, Pro Football Focus, and rotoViz.com

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 XNSports.com.
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