In 2010, Michael Vick helped win a lot of fantasy championships for owners who added him. In 2011, he ruined seasons for people like me who over-drafted him.
When it comes to Vick's fantasy value, the question is simple: Which version of Vick will we see this year?
Of course, there are other issues when it comes to Vick's fantasy value. How much should his injury risk affect his draft position? Will he be a more efficient passer this season? Will he run less given how often he does get hurt?
When it comes to unpredictability, Vick's 2012 season takes the cake. Let's see if we can't use the past to clear up the future.
1. Vick's a huge running threat, even at 32. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry last year and rushed for a total of 589 yards. If he can score more than one rushing touchdown like he did last year (remember, in 2010 he rushed for nine scores), his fantasy value will spike.
2. The Eagles are loaded with weapons in the passing game, namely Jeremy Maclin and one of the NFL's most electrifying deep threats, DeSean Jackson. And the Eagles have always been a pass-heavy team under Andy Reid, so you know Vick will have plenty of chances to accumulate numbers.
3. Vick has been motivated this offseason. Last year was a disaster, and he knows it. And truthfully, if he is simply more efficient this season, he can return to being an elite fantasy option. More on his 2011 inefficiency below.
Fantasy Red Flags
The major difference between Vick in 2010 and in 2011 was efficiency, plain and simple.
2010: 12 games, 12.95 yards per completion, 8.11 yards per attempt, 62.6 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns, six interceptions.
2011: 13 games, 13.05 yards per completion, 7.81 yards per attempt, 59.8 completion percentage, 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions.
Want some more proof that Vick was incredibly inefficient last season? Paul Domowitch from the Philadelphia Daily News has a few more numbers of interest:
He finished 26th in the league in third-down passing and 25th in fourth-quarter passing. He finished 23rd in interception percentage. He played poorly in the red zone, committing six turnovers and completing just 52.5 percent of his passes.
Turnovers in the red zone and failure to extend drives are guaranteed to kill a player's fantasy value in the long run. And if there was a theme to the Eagles in 2011, it was a failure to capitalize on opportunities.
Last season, Vick and the Eagles tried to go for the big play far too often. In 2010, Vick's willingness to take what the defense gave him was a revelation and eventually opened up opposing defenses and made them vulnerable to shots down the field.
That's one of the primary dangers for fantasy owners. Will Vick run the offense with patience, or will he try to extend plays and put himself in danger, hoping to hit a home run every time?
Because if he does that, he's a serious injury risk once again. The Eagles' offensive line gave up 32 sacks last season and is now without stud Jason Peters at left tackle for the season. Plus, one of Vick's strengths—his ability to run the ball—drastically increases the likelihood of injury.
If you draft Vick, you need a backup plan. And probably a stiff drink.
When it comes to breaking down quarterbacks, there are few media personalities I trust more than Ron Jaworski. Some of his critiques—running too often—run counter to what makes Vick valuable in fantasy. But in general, this is a great look at Vick the quarterback.
In ESPN snake drafts, Vick has an average draft position of 32.8 and is the seventh quarterback being selected. Given his regression from a year ago, it's not shocking that the man who was a first- or second-round selection last summer is now going in the fourth round on average.
If you believe Vick can return to his 2010 form and that he'll generally stay healthy, you're getting a steal in the fourth round. If you think that 2010 was a mirage and Vick was simply showing his true colors in 2011, he's a rip-off in the fourth.
There really isn't a middle ground with Vick. You either believe he'll be far better in 2012 or he's too risky for your tastes.
Tweet That Says It All
Asked about Mike Vick, #Eagles OC Marty Mornhinweg said the QBs precision in preseason game was '1 of the things I was disappointed in.'— Bob Grotz (@BobGrotz) August 13, 2012
Everybody will talk about injury concerns being the major factor for Vick's fantasy value in 2012. But I'm telling you, it's all about execution and efficiency for Vick.
|Games||Pass Yards||Pass TD||Rush Yards||Rush TD||Turnovers|
A healthy Vick is a nice bounce-back option if you temper your expectations. No, he won't rush for nine touchdowns again this year—he's only exceeded six rushing touchdowns in a season three times—but I do expect his passing numbers to improve.
Yes, he'll probably miss a few games to injury. That just seems inevitable at this point. But even if he does, he'll still be an effective option for you when he is healthy.
Across the board, the Eagles have to be motivated to improve upon a dreadful 2011 campaign, Vick included. That could lead to a huge year for Vick and the Eagles' passing options, including Jackson, who should be a focused, happy camper this year after getting a contract extension.
On the other hand, Vick is one big hit at the end of a scramble away from being out for the year with injury. There's no guarantee he'll erase his bad habits from 2011, either. I'm an optimist, so I like to think he'll put up solid numbers. But I'm also a realist, so I can admit when I'm being an optimist.
I'm not going to say Vick is an all-or-nothing pick at quarterback, but he is one of the more unpredictable players in this draft.
Don't draft Vick to be a savior at quarterback. Draft him for what he is—a risky, exciting player that is capable of being a top-five quarterback, could give you absolutely nothing, and likely will be somewhere in between. Make sure you have a solid backup plan in place.
And seriously, pour yourself a stiff drink.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are cracking like a Ronda Rousey armbar.