Michael Vick is a lottery ticket every year when he’s drafted. You bought high early hoping for Vick the escape artist, Vick the creative, elusive athlete, and the Vick who’s dangerous in multiple facets of the game. You buy that ticket knowing you’ll tolerate a few missed games, and a few mistakes due to his wild, free wheeling style. You invite both danger, and the potential for great reward that comes with that risk.
But this week, we may have already reached a point when the odds of cashing in that lottery ticket are far too slim, and it’s reasonable to look elsewhere on your roster. In fact, being completely ignorant and not even considering another option is an act of negligence.
And dammit, you don’t neglect something that isn’t real. Quick philosophy: if you’ve neglected your fantasy team in any way, does it cease to exist? Can a fantasy exist without your acknowledgement?
Oh man, this Sunday is starting off well, and it’ll now surely include sightings of exotic monkeys and dogs as was foretold earlier in the week. For now, though, back to Vick, for he’s a far more frightening Sunday morning sight.
It didn’t take long for the serious speculation from those who are paid to say such things to begin regarding Vick. Earlier this morning NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi said that if his performance today comes even close to Vick’s four interception outing in Week 1 against the lowly Browns with a 51.8 completion percentage, a 51.0 passer rating, two fumbles, and 5.7 yards per pass attempt, then a benching in favor of Eagles backup Nick Foles could be seriously considered.
That still seems like a drastic and sudden step two weeks into a season. But for our purposes in fantasy — and more importantly, your purposes if you’re a Vick owner — a benching should receive consideration. In fact, if you’re thinking about benching him now, well, keep thinking about it.
There’s the obvious motivation stemming from the fact that Vick’s healthy receivers pretty much don’t exist. Although as expected it’s looking like Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson will suit up and play, they were both limited and barely able to practice all week, so that limited tag will linger today against a Ravens defense that had little trouble replacing Terrell Suggs in Week 1. Instead of sheer intensity up front, the Ravens used their defensive backfield to confuse Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and create sacks and pressures.
A similar approach this week will force Vick to make quick reads on tight passing windows, and when that happened last week he turned the ball over four times, and nearly added two more by putting it on the ground twice. With that creative approach the Ravens were able to sack Dalton four times even without Suggs.
I don’t think Vick will be downright awful today, and he’ll surely make a recovery from last week simply because the only direction that’s available to him is one that’s going in an upwards direction. But if you’re in a situation with your roster where there’s the possibility of a more favorable option on your bench with a better matchup, then you need to give that other guy a long, serious look, even though it’s incredibly painful to sit down Vick and his potential to go boom after you drafted him in the third or fourth round.
If you spent a pick somewhere in that area on Vick and then were wise enough to spend highly on a backup knowing his injury proneness, it’s possible that you have Ben Roethlisberger (vs. NYJ) or Matt Schaub (@JAC) on your bench. Both of those matchups and circumstances are far better than the ones facing Vick, especially with the injuries to his receivers, and with Big Ben facing a Jets secondary sans Darrelle Revis.
Bold-ish prediction for Vick’s numbers: 252 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 2 INTs, 23 rushing yards, 1 fumble lost