Don’t look now, but Michael Vick is a starting quarterback again. With Ben Roethlisberger (knee) on the shelf for the next 4-6 weeks with a PCL sprain and knee bone bruise, Vick looks to be the man the Pittsburgh Steelers turn to on offense.
Whether or not the Steelers can get by in the real world with Vick under center is definitely a big concern. At 35 years old it’s obvious he’s not the same player he once was, while his last couple of years as a member of the Jets and Eagles saw him develop into a walking turnover machine.
Of course, with the mere possibility of vintage Vick appearing in 2015, fantasy football owners can’t help but wonder if Vick is worth picking up and using while Big Ben is on the shelf. The short answer is a big fat MAYBE.
Vick absolutely still has upside. His arm is as strong as ever, he has one of the cleanest, most effortless releases you’ll ever see, he certainly has experience and even though his elite speed isn’t there anymore, he’s still plenty mobile and fast enough to make some plays with his legs. He’s also in an elite offensive system with loads of talent around him.
There is an argument here that suggests Vick can’t help but put up good numbers. His week three relief of Big Ben needs to be discounted, as he entered a road game against an elite pass rush, and did so completely cold in the third quarter. Pittsburgh had only put up nine points up until that point, so the fact that Vick couldn’t generate much offense isn’t overly surprising and it surely isn’t damning.
Is Vick a lock to be a viable fantasy option this week? Of course not. But he does have a chance, and a pretty good one at that. For one, Vick will now have the next (albeit a short) week with the first team offense, so he’ll be fully prepared. He also has Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell at his disposal, arguably the top wide receiver and running back tandem in the entire league.
If his system and weapons weren’t gaudy enough for you, Vick’s first start as a member of the Steelers also comes against a Baltimore Ravens defense sans Terrell Suggs and has gotten absolutely shredded through the air over the past two weeks. Baltimore shut down Peyton Manning in week one, but that’s probably not as impressive as it first felt, plus in back to back weeks they’ve now gotten lit up by Derek Carr and Andy Dalton.
While improved and solid enough, it’s not like those guys are Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. This is a tasty matchup against an 0-3 team that may be pretty desperate, but they’re also not all that great – at least not against the pass.
Is Vick going to come out and put up 400 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 100 yards rushing and two scores on the ground? Doubtful. He’s not the guy that wrecked the league back in 2010. After all, he’s five years older and he’s regressed, as older quarterbacks tend to do.
However, Vick has all the pieces around him and a matchup worth taking a chance on. You don’t want to go crazy and start Vick over another viable option in regular season long fantasy football leagues. But in this crazy 2015 fantasy football season, you may need that extra bit of upside he still might have to offer.
Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Jay Cutler and now Ben Roethlisberger have all succumbed to injuries and there’s a good chance all four are out this week. That absolutely puts Vick on the fantasy radar and it wouldn’t be crazy to see him come out and be a top-15 producer at the position. Guys like Colin Kaepernick, Josh McCown, Jimmy Clausen, Brandon Weeden and others simply can’t be trusted, and Vick at least gives you a shot.
The best part is Vick himself doesn’t even need to do the heavy lifting. He just needs to get the ball to Bell and Brown and let them do the majority of the work. And as we saw in preseason, there is still the threat of the deep ball with Vick, while he still can do more damage with his legs than the average starting quarterback.
I’m not expecting the world from Vick this week, or maybe at all while he’s the starter. But he’s driving a corvette and just needs to not crash it. If you were bad off enough to try out Johnny Manziel two weeks ago or lost your top quarterback to injury within the past two weeks, Vick is worth a try in week four. He’s at the very worst worth stashing on your bench until we can see what he’s capable of in this offense.
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