Michael Vick is an all or nothing, high-risk, high-reward type of player. He'll either make or break a season for fantasy hopefuls.
The problem is, he's broken more than he has made.
When it comes to fantasy football, risking your season by drafting a player with durability and health concerns just isn't a smart choice, especially in the early rounds. Sure, when healthy, Vick is nearly unstoppable because of the multifaceted threat he brings to the field each Sunday. When healthy was the key there.
Vick has only played a full 16-game schedule once in his career, and even then it wasn't all that impressive. He threw for 2,474 yards, 20 TDs and 13 INTs in 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons—one year before he was sentenced to 23 months behind bars for his role in a dogfighting ring.
Some will look at his 1,039 yards rushing that season and have money signs gleaming in their eyes, but fantasy aficionados will look deeper into those stats. Vick had nine fumbles that season. Vick had 27 fumbles combined the two years prior to that. His tendency to run around in the pocket got him in trouble.
It wasn't until four years later, in the 2010 season, that Vick settled in the box and electrified the football world by throwing for 3,000-plus yards in 12 games with the Philadelphia Eagles. He ran less and cut down on silly turnovers, only to have them spike again last year.
His propensity for turning the ball over and his overall inconsistency has bewildered fantasy owners for years. And do you want to know a secret? It won't get better.
For those who say he is still "fresh" after two years out of the game, you are wrong. He has been sacked at a scary clip of 57 times over the past two seasons. That doesn't even take into effect the amount of times he has been hit overall.
I will believe it when I see it.
It comes to the point now that when Vick simply gets hit, fantasy owners think the worst. And most times they are right. Vick has been knocked out of each preseason game he has played in this year, each with a different injury.
The first occurred when he hit his thumb on a teammate's helmet. The next (and his last) preseason game saw Vick taking a shot in the ribs, causing him to leave the game. Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid will hold Vick out for the rest of the preseason due to those injuries and will force Vick to wear more Kevlar padding in the season opener—much like we saw last year after he took shots to the ribs.
The odd injuries always seem to follow him around. This is the second time in two years that he injured both his ribs and his thumb (albeit on his non-throwing hand last year). Does that make him injury prone? You can be the judge. Tell me if you see a trend with Vick missing games:
In 2009, he played 12 games.
In 2010, he also played 12.
How about 2011? 13.
True, Vick is dynamic. He has produced three seasons of at least 2,000 yards passing and 700 rushing. And sure, he has scary weapons in Desean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. And one cannot deny that Vick is a high-end fantasy option, but his penchant for injuries and reckless style of play keeps him from being a first or even second-round selection.
Count on Vick to miss somewhere between three and four games behind a somewhat better offensive line. But draft wisely. Pick up a solid backup if you're going to take the leap. But keep in mind that in doing so, it will mean that you burned two of your first six or seven picks on quarterbacks, when you could be solidifying your receiving corps.
Do you want the flak-jacket wearing, game-missing Vick to hold the reigns and potentially jeopardize the depth of your fantasy team?
I certainly don't.