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Spotlight - QB Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons

Jason Wood's mug

Jason Wood's Thoughts

Here's the thing about Mike Vick...his 2002 season is going to forever cement his place among TEAM OVERVALUED as far as I'm concerned, at least until he shows us a FULL SEASON of real passing prowess. For those with a short memory, 2002 marked Vick's first season as a full-time starter. His passing numbers were mediocre (2,936 yards, 16 TDs, 8 INTs) but good enough when combined with his otherworldly rushing totals (777 yards, 8 TDs). Those numbers were good enough for Vick to finish 3rd among fantasy QBs. Everyone's minds started racing about the potential.

Imagine how dangerous Vick will be once he learns how to be an NFL passer

He's going to revolutionize the position

When his passing catches up to his athleticism, the sky is the limit

Well, color me jaded but I'm just not seeing it happen that way. Is Vick an electric player? OF COURSE. Will there be games where he single handedly wins the game for Atlanta and, at the same time, puts up a huge fantasy week to boot? INDEED. But fast forward three years later and Vick looks startlingly similar to the 2002 version.

Last year, indoctrinated into the "Vickized" version of the West Coast offense, he completed 181 passes (50 less than 2002), threw for 2,313 yards (623 less than 2002), 14 TDs (2 less than 2002) and 12 Ints (4 more than 2002). And his magic legs? They were still there to the tune of 902 yards, but his rushing TD output fell to 3. OOPS...all of the sudden Vick looks very much like a marginal fantasy starter.

Although I'm generally averse to projecting injuries, I don't think you can cast a blind eye to the relative injury risk of a player versus his positional counterparts. How anyone can't concede that Vick represents SIGNIFICANTLY greater injury risk than any other fantasy worthy starter is beyond me. With more rushing attempts comes more chances for the defense to get a clean hit. Just chronicle the average lifespan of NFL starting RBs versus that of NFL starting QBs...that's all the proof you need that a QB who runs 100 times a year is more likely to succumb to injury.

But his injury risk extends beyond the rushing attempts too. Did you realize that Michael Vick was sacked 46 times last year? Only David Carr was sacked more. How can this be, you ask? Isn't Vick the guy who can nimbly avoid the pass rush and then make a play with his feet or his rocket arm? No, that guy's name is Donovan McNabb. Vick is the guy who can tuck it and run, but all too often holds onto the ball and gets taken down behind the line of scrimmage.

Add up 100+ open field tackles and 40+ sacks to his 6'0", 210 lbs. frame and you get a guy I would be stunned to see playing in this league in five years time as a regular starter.


  • There is no one close to Vick in terms of athleticism as the QB position
  • His open field runs will undoubtedly buoy his considerable shortcomings as a passer
  • Entering his 2nd season in the WCO, Vick should show considerable improvement


  • He's been injury already, and he's easily the most risky QB in the league in terms of future injury potential
  • His 2004 passer numbers were WORSE than his 2002 season as a 1st time starter
  • The Falcons appear set on a youth movement at WR, but neither Michael Jenkins nor Roddy White can be expected to be saviors given their inexperience

Final Thoughts

Mike Vick is electric. He's also one of the league's best marketing tools. No one can duplicate what he can do on an individual play. But plenty, in fact most, of the league's QBs are better passers. And although Vick's running overcomes his passing inefficiencies, it also raises the risk profile of relying on him as your fantasy starter. If your league is like mine, at least one guy will see Vick as a top 5 QB and draft him several rounds before his production warrants. Don't be that guy.

Mark Wimer's mug

Mark Wimer's Thoughts

Michael Vick is a gifted athlete with a cannon for an arm. His highlight reels include spectacular scrambles and laser passes – Vick has a lot of very memorable plays to his credit.

The problem with Michael Vick is that he is an inconsistent passer. Last season, Vick never completed more than 18 passes in any game. He threw for zero TDs in 6 games (over 1/3 of the season). He yo-yoed all over the map regarding completion percentage, showing no discernible improvement from the start of the season to the finish (from week to week during 2004 – 59.1%, 73.7, 50, 55.6, 62.1, 57.1, 33.3, 75, bye, 50, 60, 55.2, 48.1, 65, 39.3, DNP, and 6/7 in a cameo week 17 (85.7%)).

His season totals in the passing department were paltry – 181/321 for 2313 passing yards, 14 TDs and 12 interceptions. He managed to appear at #14 among all fantasy QBs only because of his 121/902/3 rushing performance. Let’s talk about Michael Vick’s tendency to run the ball for a moment.

The guy leads with his head and shoulders when he goes to the ground, or performs acrobatic leaps over defenders when he’s not seeking contact. Vick has experienced considerable trouble with the A/C joints (where the collarbone meets the shoulder) in past seasons, and his reckless scrambling style definitely makes his injury risk much higher than a pocket passer like Peyton Manning. Also, during his 4 year NFL career, he has missed at least one game per season, with over half of his 3rd year ruined by the A/C injuries mentioned above – he simply hasn’t played enough at the pro level to fully polish his throwing mechanics. Heading into his 5th NFL season, Vick has played in only 43 games.

To further compound the problems, the Falcons have an undistinguished stable of wide receivers – Peerless Price has been so underwhelming since arriving in Atlanta, he’s been bumped out of the starting lineup at the beginning of training camp by second-year pro Michael Jenkins (who has all of 7/119/0 under his belt thus far in his career). Dez White, Brian Finneran and Michael Jenkins combined for a total of 60/747/4 receiving last year – unimpressive for 1 receiver, let alone 3. Rookie Roddy White is an unknown quantity, but the struggles of many rookie receivers to adjust to the pro game is notorious in fantasy circles. Beyond TE Alge Crumpler, there just isn’t much reason for optimism about this receiving corps, folks.


  • Michael Vick has incredible arm strength and can throw laser-like passes on occasion
  • Michael Vick is a dual-threat QB who is going to rack up substantial rushing yards and an occasional touchdown
  • Michael Vick is entering his second season in OC Greg Knapp’s system, so he should be more comfortable running the offense


  • Michael Vick has not developed consistent accuracy to this point in his career
  • Michael Vick has more injury risk than other NFL signal callers
  • Vick’s supporting cast of receivers is not top-notch

Final Thoughts

Michael Vick is an electrifying NFL talent who is a lot of fun to watch on Sunday. However, he is a lack-luster fantasy performer who has yet to put “it” all together and arrive at the elite status that so many observers see possible for him.

Quotations from the Message Board Thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

Until Vick actually does throw for more than 3,000 yards and 20 TD in a season, you won't see me projecting those kinds of numbers. Certainly expect improvement from last year, but you will see this mostly in the completion % and it won't translate to greatly better stats for Vick, but into a more efficient offense overall.

Mike Vick says he's going to be better in 05. Well, he needs to because he hasn't been very good when it comes to passing the ball. However, it's not just he who needs to get better, the Atlanta wide receiving corps is very young.

Long Snapper:
Seems like just yesterday Vick was the FF magazine poster boy. A lots happened since then. Injuries, poor performances, and the commitment of Atl. to the run has changed our view of him considerably.

I think we are overlooking a few key factors on Mike Vick this year

1) this will be his 2nd season in the WCO. While the second season isn't necessarily the magical one, we should see an improvement on his grasp of the system.

2) He no longer requires a 2nd/3rd round pick to be selected. With an ADP in the 7th round (using antsports most recent mocks), he may actually be had for some value. Other QB's going around that time Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, Matt Hasselback....Of that grouping I feel he offers much more UPSIDE with the potential to greatly outplay his draft slot.

Michael Vick Projections

Jason Wood265016157355
Mark Wimer250015127004
Message Board Consensus299519107174

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