You can make an argument that Arian Foster was the 2010 NFL Fantasy MVP, but there’s little doubt that if it wasn’t the Texans’ running back the award went to Michael Vick of the Eagles. Vick had one of the most remarkable seasons of any quarterback in NFL history, but the question facing fantasy football leaguers is what should they expect from Vick in 2011?
Vick appeared in just 12 games which makes his efforts even more impressive. There is no disputing that he was the most valuable player in fantasy football per game (even those that champion Foster as the fantasy MVP would have to admit that). As a result of playing only three quarters of the games though, Vick’s passing numbers aren’t as great as you might have thought.
(1) His passing rating was 100.2, the fourth best mark in the league.
Other than that mark, he really didn’t do much to stand out.
(2) He tossed the pigskin for 21 touchdowns. There were 15, fifteen, quarterbacks who threw for more scores.
(3) Vick passed for 3,018 yards. There were 19 quarterbacks who threw for more yards. Of course his passing total is so low because he appeared in only 12 games. Let’s put things in context. He averaged 251.5 yards passing per game which ranked him 10th in the league.
(4) His completion percentage was 62.6 percent. That mark was good enough for 10th in the league.
(5) Vick tossed only six interceptions, a great mark that was only bettered by two men who threw more than 300 passes ‚Äď Ben Roethlisberger (five in 389 passes) and Tom Brady (four in 492 passes).
Add all that up and you can say that Vick was a fairly impressive passer last season. If that was all their was to look at you’d be left to think that Vick was a solid QB2 heading into 2011. Of course, I’ve totally left out the work that Vick does with his legs, and that is what makes him special.
In 2010 Vick led NFL QBs in:
Carries. He had 100 (Josh Freeman was second with 68).
Rushing Yards. He had 676 (Freeman was second with 364 yards).
Rushing touchdowns. He had nine (Tim Tebow had six).
When it comes to rushing the football, Vick was so far and away the best rushing quarterback in the NFL that drawing any comparisons to him would be foolish. In fact, Let’s compare Vick’s rushing efforts to the best running backs in the NFL.
Vick averaged 6.8 yards per carry. The league leader amongst backs was Jamaal Charles at a historic 6.4 YPC.
Vick averaged 56.3 yards per game which is a virtual match for guys like Ryan Mathews (56.5), Thomas Jones (56.0), Jonathan Stewart (55.0) and Brandon Jacobs (51.4).
Vick scored nine rushing touchdowns. That’s more rushing scores than Ahmad Bradshaw (eight), Cedric Benson (seven), LeSean McCoy (seven), Darren McFaddden (seven), Steven Jackson (six), Jamaal Charles (five) and Ray Rice (five) to name but a few.
It’s pretty easy to understand the claim that Michael Vick was the most valuable fantasy performer in 2011 when he was basically Ryan Mathews and Ben Roethlisberger — combined.
MICHAEL VICK’S HISTORY
All of the above clearly means that Vick should be the #1 player taken in fantasy drafts, or at worst the first QB off the board, right? I mean if he plays 16 games how could he not be the best player in fantasy football in 2011. Well, there are a whole host of issues with that position.
(1) Vick plays a crazy style that leads to him leaving himself open to absorb tons of punishment. When a quarterback leaves the safety of the pocket, he really opens himself up to some big hits. Vick, who doesn’t like to slide, suffered a variety of injuries last season that conspired to keep his games played total down, and it’s not like this is the first time that has happened. In eight years in the NFL Vick has appeared in 16 games a total of one time. Peyton Manning has never missed a game in 13 seasons. Injuries are a constant in football, but with the way that Vick plays he’s about as injury prone a player as you’re gonna find at the quarterback position.
(2) As great as Vick was last year on the ground, expecting a repeat is a huge risk, and I’m not even factoring in the injury risk here. Vick has run for more yards in a season on three separate occasions even hitting the 1,000-yard mark in 2006. The yards are nice add a ton of value to Vick, but it’s the ability to get into the end zone that moves the needle from impressive to elite. Last year Vick scored nine times on the ground, a career best mark. Over his previous three seasons he rushed for a total of 10 scores and that includes just two during his historic 1,000-yard effort in 2006. You simply cannot count on seven or more scores from him even with all his skills as he’s hit that total just twice in eight NFL seasons (the other time was 2002). Plus, the Eagles do have a pretty good running back in LeSean McCoy, and even though his forte isn’t lowering his pads at the goaline, he’s still bound to be utilized heavily in the red zone.
(3) I hate to break it to you all, but Vick really isn’t that good a passer.
Last season was the first time that he completed more than 56.4 percent of his passes. He also owns a career completion rate of 55.3 percent. It’s pretty rare that a quarterback improves from rate to 63 percent a decade after he was drafted.
Second, last year was just the second time that he has thrown for 20 touchdowns. Hell, Kerry Collins has three 20-TD seasons.
Third, last season was the first time, the first, that he has thrown for even 3,000 yards. Vick’s career best yardage total left him only 17 yards ahead of Matt Hasselbeck last season and you won’t find a single person rushing to the buffet table to add Matty H to their roster.
Fourth, Vick owns a career QB Rating of 80.2 percent and 2010 was the first time he ever posted a mark above 81.6 percent.
Is Vick the passer we saw last season, the one who set career bests in virtually every category, or is he the one who we saw toss the pigskin over his previous 88 NFL games with little fanfare?
Given the totality of the data there is no way I’m drafting Vick first overall.
There’s also no chance I’m taking him as the first quarterback off the board.
Honestly, there is no chance I’m going to have him on a single one of my teams this year cause I simply don’t trust him for three main reasons.
(1) I don’t think he is as good a passer as he appeared to be last season.
(2) I don’t think he is going to repeat his nine rushing scores.
(3) I don’t think he’ll play 16 games, and if history is a guide he might be lucky to play in 14 games.
That’s simply too much risk for me to spend my first or second round pick on.