There was a lot to take away from the recent news that the Philadelphia Eagles re-signed embattled starting quarterback Michael Vick to a one-year deal to secure his return for the 2013 NFL season, but for fantasy owners the take away is simple, Vick, despite his struggles and injury history, has sleeper potential for the 2013 fantasy season.
Now this is not to stay that Vick should be drafted as a starting quarterback in any fantasy football league because that’s not the case. There is far too much risk to invest an early or even a mid-round draft choice because at this point, there is still no guarantee he will be on the Eagles opening-day roster.
The only details released about the one-year restructure of Vick’s contract is that the former No.1 overall pick can earn up to $10 million with incentives in 2013. But we have not heard what the guaranteed money is, which is important. Under Vick’s old contract, he was due $3 million by the Eagles, whether he was on the opening day roster or not, should one would have to think this deal will include at least that amount of guaranteed money.
If it does, that is a size-able investment and one that leads me to believe that there is a good chance Vick will be the opening-day starter once again for the Eagles next season. Sure, Head Coach Brian Kelly said there would be an open competition between Vick and 2012 third-round draft choice Nick Foles but sometimes money speaks louder than words and in this case, Foles will need to be very good for the Eagles to forget their investment in Vick.
Plus, Vick seems to be a more natural fit in Kelly’s up-tempo, high-octane attack. Here is what Kelly had to say about his quarterback following the news of his new deal with the Eagles, ”
“I looked at the films, and studied the tape. When you look at Michael, it’s his toughness. That cannot be overrated at all,” Kelly said. “We looked at his skill set. He still has that skill set. He can still throw the football.
“He’s got an unbelievable release, and it’s our job as coaches to make sure he can get the ball out quickly.”
So why is all this relavent to fantasy football owners. Well it’s simple. Even though Vick has been a disappointment fantasy-wise the past two seasons, if he does end up being the starter, he can still be a valuable asset and one that could be acquired quite cheaply.
Consider the depth of the quarterback position this year and you will quickly realize that even though Vick averaged 16.6 fantasy points per game in ten starts last season, which ranked 13th among quarterbacks in average points per start, his draft stock will be greatly diminished.
Before the 2012 fantasy season, Vick was being selected somewhere in the 3rd-5th rounds of most fantasy drafts. This season however, Vick, should he win the starting job, will likely be coming off the board sometime after round 10, if not later.
While Vick’s performance from a real football perspective could be viewed as terrible in 2012, his fantasy production was still above average. Thus, if Kelly could help Vick improve on his 2012 performance and the former Virginia Tech star could somehow stay healthy, there is reason to believe he could be a top-12 fantasy quarterback once again in 2013, which would not be a bad return on a late-round draft choice.
This is not to say you should craft a strategy that centers on Vick being your starter because the risk for injury is too great. Yet, for all his struggles last season, he still scored 15 fantasy points or more six times in 10 starts. Now those aren’t great numbers, but if Kelly can somehow get Vick to be productive as a runner again (he scored only two rushing touchdown in 2011-2012 after scoring 9 in 2010), then who knows, you could catch lightning in a bottle again.
Successful fantasy drafting is all about risk-reward analysis. And if taken at the right spot, Vick could offer tremendous value to fantasy owners. He could also be a complete bust, which is why you should only invest a late-round pick in him because he has sleeper potential, not because you are tabbing him to be your starter.
However, If Vick can stay healthy and find a way to rack up rushing touchdowns once again under Kelly, he could easily turn out to be a solid fantasy starter for your team or at the very least a valuable trade asset, but either way, if the price is right, Vick is still worth investing in for fantasy football owners.