Who NOT to Pick Number 1 (2011)

(2011) Michael Vick, the Number One Pick?

Michael Vick’s reemergence last season with Philadelphia was the fantasy story of the year and led countless owners to fantasy championships. His 57 point outburst against Washington in week 10 ranks as one of the best performances in history and is one of the reasons some people are considering Vick as the number 1 overall pick in this upcoming fantasy season. My response to that: NO. Nope. Don’t fall for it. No.

There is no doubt Vick is extremely gifted and is a top 5 fantasy quarterback, but number 1 overall? I just do not see it. For starters, there are two extremely safe options in Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson and maybe even Arian Foster. There is a huge ceiling for Vick, but I think the risk is too great for the number 1 pick. With Vick, there are several concerns that I have with him.

We all know that much of Vick’s fantasy value stems from his uncanny rushing ability and last year was no exception. For his career, Vick’s rushing stats have accounted for 42.3 % of his total fantasy output. Last year was surprisingly low as his rushing totals accounted for only 38 % of his total. However, his 9 rushing touchdowns in just 12 games contributed to much of that, putting Vick into the elite quarterback category.  Now imagine that for a full season! But wait, even for Vick, that will be extremely hard to repeat as rushing touchdowns vary greatly year to year. For his 4 previous full seasons, Vick averaged 4.75 rushing touchdowns a season. Vick should be good for about 5 rushing touchdowns a year, but 9 just seems highly unlikely again. While 5 is good and a great bonus for a quarterback, it wont be enough to make me draft Vick first.

Anyone remember when Braylon Edwards scored 16 touchdowns in 2007 and then bet next year he would have twice as many touchdown as Michael Phelps had gold medals? Well, he had 3 the next season. I think Phelps won that bet… While Edwards is not on the talent level of Vick, my point is that touchdown production is tough to match on a yearly basis.  And with regards to rushing touchdowns, the fluctuation among individuals is great and can vary based on a number of factors.  For Vick to match 9 would require many things to go right.

Will we be seeing Vick on the sideline this year?
And the thing that scares me most of Michael Vick is him being one of the most hit quarterbacks in the league. In just 12 games last season, Vick was sacked 34 times and hit often on scrambles. Vick was sacked at the fourth highest rate in the league and the hits will continue. Vick is no doubt electric, but taking so many hits can make fantasy owners cringe. It could be only a matter of time before he is on the sideline. After all, in his 8 seasons in the league, Vick has played just ONE full season.

Another interesting stat is Vick’s completion percentage from last year. He set a career high with a percentage of 62.6 %, more than 6 percent higher than his previous career high. This can attributed to not only his personal improvement, but the best talent he has ever had around him. But such a high jump worries me that it will be tough to match once again. Along these lines, he threw for 3,000 yards for just the first time in his career and had a sky high yards per completion. This is partly because of the talent surrounding him and the Eagles ranking 8th in yards after catch according to hosted.stats.com. If anything, these could be seen as signs that Vick will continue to improve and be a fantasy stud. But should he be the number 1 pick?

The answer is still no. But would I take him 6th? Maybe. 10th? There’s a good chance. Early 2nd round? Not even a question in my mind. For Vick, consistency is still an issue and I would much rather have Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson before him.  My top 2 quaterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are extremely consistent and have proven their worth of being picked late in the 1st round. Drafting any quarterback early is a risky strategy as you could easily miss out on an elite running back, even with a deep class this year. But Vick has unlimited fantasy potential and could make or break someone’s season. For risk takers, Vick is a perfect fit around the 5th pick and could be a steal even there. He could also be a huge letdown, and leave you looking for, gulp, Rex Grossman on the waivers.

Stats found on nfl.com and hosted.stats.com