Fantasy Football: Beware of Michael Vick

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Athlon Sports ranks the Eagle as the sixth-best QB and here's why

Athlon Sports ranks the Eagle as the sixth-best QB and here's why

Athlon Sports’ 2011 Fantasy Football magazine has Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick ranked No. 6 at his position and No. 26 overall because we don’t trust him. 

Will Mike Vick become a fantasy bust this year? The reason we think he will be if you make him a Top 5 drafted QB. Why? Because of trust.

We don’t trust that the 31-year-old will have the kind of year on the ground that he had last season, when he piled up 676 yards and nine scores. Since the 1960s, no quarterback who has rushed for even eight touchdowns in a season has come back to score more than five the next year.

We don’t trust that the career 55 percent passer will repeat his 62.6 percent performance from a year ago. He had eclipsed 55.3 percent passing in a season only one time before last year, and he did not hit last year’s 62.6 percent season mark in any of his final four games of the season.

We don’t trust that Vick’s offensive line has improved enough to keep him comfortable in the pocket, despite the fact that the Eagles need to do all they can to protect their key asset with Vince Young, never having run the West Coast offense, being the next man up.

In the six games after his monster 57.3-point fantasy effort against Washington, Vick attempted more than 38 passes five times — something he had not done in his first six games of the season — and he was intercepted in all but one of the games, fumbled nine times (lost three of them) and had 19 of his 34 sacks.

Did defenses figure him out? Well if they didn’t, they have certainly had nothing but time during this lockout to study all they need to about the new-and-improved Michael Vick.

And we had Vick ranked sixth at QB and 26th overall well before DeSean Jackson decided to hold out and long before knowing of Jeremy Maclin's health issues. These two factors don't help his cause much, either.

Combining all the above with the fact that we also don’t believe he will make it a full 16 games has led us to the following conclusion: Beware of Vick in 2011.

We DO trust the quarterbacks who have done it year in and year out in recent memory more than we trust a player who finally put it together for one season and didn’t even stay healthy in the process.

Our Old Reliables are Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers — all quarterbacks who succeeded with missing pieces last year and have been there at the top year after year.

That five-man group has started 537 of a possible 560 games (95.9 percent) since becoming starters for their respective teams. Of the 23 missed starts by these five, Brady accounts for 15. He tore his ACL and MCL a little over seven minutes into the first game of the 2008 season.

We are willing to take the chance that, while they may score fewer points than Vick, their chances of being upright from Week 1 to Week 16 are much greater than the Philly scrambler’s. Vick, who was incarcerated during the 2007 and 2008 seasons and had to sit the bench in 2009, has started only 77 of a possible 90 regular-season games (85.5 percent) since 2002 and has played a 16-game season only once.

So take the risk if you’d like and waste another pick in the middle of your draft to get some insurance. Meanwhile, we will take the safe, proven bet — pick up a player in that same round who we can use multiple weeks and see who gets to the championship.

WHAT A PHILLY BEAT WRITER SAYS:
Q: Vick: Better or worse in 2011?
A: Depends which part of the first year you’re comparing him to. Vick put up some ridiculous numbers in wins over Washington and the New York Giants but tailed off at the end of the season as teams began finding ways to blitz him into poor decisions. Best guess: Vick will be steadier in 2011, putting up reliably good numbers without as many extreme highs or lows. Also, expect his rushing totals — Vick had nine of the Eagles’ 18 rushing TDs last year — to be down. One thing Vick and the coaches want is for him to protect his body more.

— Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer

OLD RELIABLES
Here’s how the five QBs we have ranked ahead of Vick have fared when it comes to starting games from the time they ascended to the starting role on their respective teams. Vick has started 77 of 90 games in that time.
Player, Years — Starts
Aaron Rodgers, since 2008 — 47 of 48
Philip Rivers, since 2006 — 80 of 80
Peyton Manning, since 2002 — 144 of 144
Drew Brees, since 2002 — 137 of 144
Tom Brady, since 2002 — 129 of 144
Total starts, since 2002 — 537 of 560

More Fantasy Football Coverage:
Athlon Sports gives its Best Bets — sleepers, deep sleepers, overvalues, top rookies, bounce-back and top IDPs from the each of the 32 NFL teams — for fantasy football in 2011. Also see our values/overvalues story as well as our players we are trying to avoid for the 2011 season. And for more on each NFL team, see our in-depth breakdown for all 32 teams.

Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs

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011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
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011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams

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<p> Athlon Sports’ 2011 Fantasy Football magazine has Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick ranked No. 6 at his position and No. 26 overall because we don’t trust him. That's it in a word.</p>

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