The Chip Kelly era has begun, and the Philadelphia Eagles have already been rewarded for their gamble to sign the former University of Oregon coach with a 33-27 victory over the reigning NFC East champion Washington Redskins.
Philadelphia attempted 77 plays from scrimmage, picked up 26 first downs and topped 30 points for the second time since Jan. 1, 2012.
And if you're a fantasy player, there's one thing in particular you should take away from this game: Michael Vick is a quarterback worth reaching for in your fantasy football league.
According to ESPN, Vick's current average draft position is 106.3. In 10-team leagues, the standard format, that means the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is going in the middle of the 10th round.
If you still haven't done your draft, make sure you get Vick early, because he won't last that long anymore. If you have, do a deep search of free agency and think of potential trade offers to bolster your roster.
Vick certainly gave you reason with his Week 1 performance.
Michael Vick: accounted for 3 TD, had 0 INT in Eagles win (2 passing, 1 rushing) ... last time he did that-- 2010 vs Redskins (on #MNF )— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 10, 2013
Expect that type of production to be sustained.
Vick finished his season debut with 203 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 15-of-25 passing. He also ran the ball nine times for 54 yards and a touchdown, helping to round out a day in which Vick finally looked like his old self.
It's funny what happens when a coach designs a system that actually fits his personnel.
The Perfect System
During his time as the head coach of the Oregon Ducks, Kelly designed a system that catered to mobile quarterbacks. The use of the option, designed runs and play-action fakes help to open up the field for quarterbacks to not only scramble but throw the football.
Vick learned firsthand just how easy it is for a quarterback to produce quality numbers in that environment.
The veteran QB was provided with opportunities to hit his receivers on shorter, more manageable routes that all but eliminated the risk of an interception. Some throws sailed on him, but when you walk away with a completion percentage of 60.0 percent, there's reason to feel confident.
That's not an elite completion percentage, but in his first full game in a new system, it's encouraging. As is the fact that he had nine runs, most coming by design.
Do we need to remind you what type of runner Vick can be?
Michael Vick: 35 career rushing TD ... tying Randall Cunningham's career total— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 10, 2013
What this means for your fantasy football team is that we may just see the Vick that won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award in 2010. Other Eagles had strong debuts as well: DeSean Jackson (seven catches and a TD) has the look of a star, and LeSean McCoy erupted as a runner for 184 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries.
All Vick needs to do is play mistake-free football and the numbers will produce themselves. Despite the the frenetic pace of Kelly's offense, there is precedent for quarterbacks playing disciplined football in his system. While at Oregon, QB Dennis Dixon threw four interceptions during his senior season and Marcus Mariota just six as a freshman last year in Kelly's final season.
This system is all about making the easy play, and for Vick, that means his big-play ability will be elevated by the rhythm he develops on a down-by-down basis.
Plenty of Possessions
During the first half of the Eagles win, Philadelphia ran an unbelievable 53 plays from scrimmage, an absurd number in such a short period of time.
That pace slowed in the second half, but the impact of this new system is clear: The Eagles will be running an up-tempo offense and, as a result, will be running a high volume of plays.
In case you haven't done the math yet, more plays means more opportunities for Vick to earn you fantasy football points.
The Eagles ran 53 plays in the first half. That's more than the Panthers ran in Sunday's GAME— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 10, 2013
If you're an Eagles fan or drafted Vick for your fantasy team (or are considering him), how can you not be encouraged by this hot start?
Furthermore, Philadelphia plays in a defensively weak NFC East. Washington overachieved in 2012. The Dallas Cowboys never seem to live up to their potential, and the New York Giants defense might as well not exist.
With a Week 2 game against the San Diego Chargers looming, there is no better time than now to put Vick in your starting lineup. If you do, you'll be reminded of just how dangerous he can be as dual-threat quarterback.
The ultimate point-creator.