Fantasy Football 2011 | Michael Vick is worth the risk

In the past I’ve suggested a safety-first approach to drafting, especially in the first round.

I’m shredding those recommendations and burning the scraps when it comes to Michael Vick. Vick is a massive injury risk, practically guaranteed to miss a handful of games. However, when he is on the field he is the most dominant force in fantasy football and worthy of a top-5 overall pick.

There is not a player defenses fear more than Vick. When he was on the field last year he put up passing numbers on par with Peyton Manning and running numbers on par with a top-20 running back.

Math performed by ESPN’s Matthew Berry showed that in their standard scoring Vick’s fantasy output was equal to having Aaron Rodgers (the No. 1 overall QB according to many 2011 cheatsheets) and Cedric Benson (who scored 158 points last year) combined on the field in your quarterback slot. When all competitors were on the field in 2010: Vick=Rodgers+Benson.

I owned Vick in a couple 2010 leagues and it has definitely skewed my perception. I concocted my QB consistency rankings in part because of Vick’s contributions. He propelled my team to victory more than any one player I have ever owned. Down 40? No problem, Vick is playing on Monday night.

OK, I was never that confident, but when Vick got done tearing up defenses every week it usually meant a victory was in hand.

Detractors will bring up his injury history, which is long. There is no denying that his rushing ability makes him a health risk. He runs and cuts hard, putting his body under more stress than statue QBs. And defenders become enraged homing missiles when a quarterback leaves the safe room the NFL has built for them between the tackles.

Detractors might also say that 2010 was a career year and that nobody should pay for a career year. They’ll say defenses will have a whole offseason to game plan against him.

In actuality,  there are many reasons to believe that Vick’s best might come this year or even in 2012.

Last year, the Eagles offense was built for Kevin Kolb. Kolb took the first-team reps in the preseason. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and company were synced up with Kolb, not Vick. Of course, Kolb was injured as the sun was rising on the 2010 season, opening the way for Vick, who settled in quickly. Over the course of the season he took over the offense and everybody got on the same page.

All of the intel points to a Vick who is a much better passer than he was before poor decisions in his personal life cost him a few years in prison. He also has more weapons than he has ever had in the NFL and still flashes elite running ability.

In 2011, Philadelphia has had as much time as opposing defenses to iron in new wrinkles that will no doubt add extra bite to the attack. And, unfortunately for opponents, the defense that is best capable of shutting down a receiver like Jackson is the unit he’ll face in practice.

Maclin’s mystery ailment is a potential buzzkill. It won’t render the offense mediocre by any stretch, but it could slow the Vick-led production factory’s assault on the stratosphere.

Few players, if any, have taken the field with the elite run-pass skillset that Michael Vick presented in 2010. When a player like that emerges, rules evaporate.

Stay away from perennially hurt players? Shredded.

Wait on a quarterback? Incinerated.

In fantasy football you want to win every week.

No player has a better chance of single-handedly winning fantasy games. If Vick only plays in 12 games, that means he’ll make an average team great or a great team unbeatable in 12 games. Whether he helps teams to 12 regular season wins or nine regular season wins and 3 playoff wins, that’s still a whole lot of wins.

Imagine, just for a second, what Vick could do if the stars align and he suits up for 16 games…

11 Responses to “Fantasy Football 2011 | Michael Vick is worth the risk”


  1. Bearserker

    I’ve been thinking about my top overall pick. Assuming I get a top 5 pick in my 0.5 PPR league, I’m not sure who to go for.

    Of the RBs, I would pick Ray Rice over Foster, Johnson and AP. I just have a stinking feeling Ray Rice will out perform the rest (not by a landslide but I like my chances with Rice).

    Rice vs Vick though….I don’t know. Both are so enticing!

  2. ep

    Bearserker,
    Thanks for the comment.
    If you’re going to get PPR (even only half a PPR), I’m not sure you could go with anything other than a pass-catching RB at No. 1.

    But before you pick Rice, I’d recommend you consider Vick’s teammate, LeSean McCoy. I consider McCoy a top 5-6 overall pick in non-PPR and a legit contender for No. 1 overall in PPRs. McCoy had almost 80 catches last year.

    I’m picking McCoy ahead of Rice in standard leagues.

  3. Monster

    I’m in a similar boat at 5th pick in a 12 team ppr. However, my league is QB heavy.

    We can start 2 QB’s, and there’s 15 QB’s that score well above 300 points (top QB’s score 400) where RB’s are all in the 200′s and few WR’s peak over 300 points. So basically in my league, round 1 you see many QB’s fly off the board and round 2 you see WR’s fly off the board.

    I’d be all about taking that PPR monster in McCoy or Ray Rice, but in this league I have to take a top 7 QB, top 7 WR, and hope I can still get a tier 2 QB in the 3rd round.

    Then fill in RB/WR in rounds 4-7 and hope I can find some reliability and upside which will be tough to do.

  4. ep

    Monster,
    Thanks for the comment.

    I agree with you. In a 2-QB league, especially one that favors QBs that heavily, you have to go QB in round 1. Then you have to get another one early and grab tons of upside WRs and RBs. If you gather enough RBs and WRs you should get a few hits.
    Great strategy.

    That sounds like a fun, unique league. Be sure to let us know how everything works out.

  5. Monster

    For sure, another twist in this league: You get 6 points for TD’s less than 10 yds, 9 points for 10-40 yards, and anything over 40 yds is 12 points! So big play guys like LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Mike Wallace who have long TD’s are increased value. Although those are so few sometimes it’s hard to plan and strategize for. QB’s are 4/8/12 for TD points.

    Also, it’s 24 teams, 2 conferences (2 separate drafts) and the winner of each conference plays each other week 17. Makes for a HUGE pot so we do payouts many ways, including top points scorer each week gets $50

  6. ep

    That sounds tremendous. I love the point system for long TDs. It adds a really good wrinkle.

    I play in a couple leagues that give out bonuses for things other than winner-loser. It’s smart fantasy football because it really keeps people interested in the league even if they get decimated by injuries in Week 2.

  7. Willy

    12 team ppr league with 1 pt per 20 yards passing and 6 pts for passing tds. 1st overall pick – Foster or Vick? Even if Vick only plays 12 games it almost seems to me that he’s less of a risk than a Leachless Foster’s production dive (maybe even another Slaton?)

  8. Willy

    I guess the better question is whether Vick and a Best/Hillis rb that would fall to pick 24 better than a Foster and Rivers/Brees qb that falls to 24?

  9. ep

    Willy,
    Wow, that’s tough. 6 pts per PaTD and PPR.
    I’m still thinking you should pick your favorite out of Foster/McCoy/Rice/Charles/Johnson.

    If you were picking fourth or fifth and your RB choice wasn’t there, I’d say go with Vick, but if a star RB also produces 60-80 reception points, you almost have to pick them first.

    In a 6 pts per passing TD league, you need to make sure you get a stud QB. I’m not sure Brees falls to you at 24 in that league, but at least Rivers/Romo should be there.

    If you go with Vick I wouldn’t go into tunnel vision on those two backs. Just a few picks down the ADP WRs go from studs to huge questions. Don’t overlook Dez Bryant, Vincent Jackson, Miles Austin, DeSean Jackson or Mike Wallace if you get to that point.

    I think Best’s and Hillis’ values are a little inflated this year, but most of those receivers above are elite or are on the verge of elite status.

  10. ep

    Willy,
    Be sure to let us know what you decide and how your draft works out.

  11. Ron

    Simple question. I’m the current champion and luckily landed the 1st pick in a 12 team PPR keeper league (we re-select every two years including this year). Vick or Foster (I don’t like Peterson because of his team and O-Line)? Last season Vick had the best season in points per game played than anyone in the our league history. With a better team and an offense built around him, he could do even better. But no one has ever picked a QB first. Foster would have been my obvious choice because of his recieving and goal line potential. My logic is even if Vick get’s hurt during the season, he could propell me to anothr championship during playoff time. what do you think?