If your league is fond of keeping an ongoing wall of fame (ours does), Michael Vick’s name now likely populates the “Most Fantasy Points in a Game” category. With a ridiculous 57.2 fantasy points on Monday night, Vick replaces Clinton Portis who, in 2003, amassed 54 points in a single game. Our primary league is a relatively standard scoring format, non-PPR, with all TDs scoring 6 points.
But beyond his amazing performance on national TV lies the spectre of Vick’s recent past and the very individual and personal reaction to it by each NFL fan.
Like it or not, Michael Vick is a polarizing figure with as many detractors as he has supporters. I have yet to find a single individual that understands or, in any other way, easily dismisses those crimes of which he was convicted. To be sure, many other NFL players have run afoul with the law or were victims of violent crimes. Such names as O.J. Simpson, Rae Carruth, Ray Lewis, Marvin Harrison, Donte Stallworth, Chris Henry, Darrent Williams and Sean Taylor have all been linked to events in which at least one person lost their life. But while much of the information that followed these events were a mixture of mystery, circumstance and accusation, that resulting from the Vick conviction was proven, admitted and decidedly grisly. True that no human life was lost, but the crimes committed were sobering and sad.
My goal here is not to retry Michael Vick in the court of fantasy football or popular opinion once again. For sure he is retried many thousands of times over with each game, appearance or mention of his name. Instead, I wish to raise and acknowledge that specter in light of perhaps the most exceptional single game performance by a NFL player in the modern age of fantasy football, perhaps much longer. Any of us that are fans of the game, fan or not of Brett Favre, will remember the performance that followed the day Favre’s father passed away. Vick’s performance came with seemingly no greater catalyst than of the Monday night lights against his old teammate and champion, Donovan McNabb. What played out over the next 3 hours was a game in which Vick could seemingly do no wrong.
But week 10 can now be forgotten, the stats are in the book, wins and losses tallied accordingly. Just what is Michael Vick when considering the dynasty format?
That question is certainly relative and answered primarily considering three assessments:
1. How competitive is your team?
2. What is your depth at QB?
3. What are your feelings about Michael Vick as a player/individual?
You say #3 is out of place? Think again. Not easy is the separation between a fantasy game and the real life actions of one of its participants, let alone the differing perceptions of those coaches in your league(s) that greatly affect the value of those participants. In Michael Vick’s case, the views and values are even more extreme and we all have them. The only question is to what degree do they affect in our valuation.
I am assuming that your leagues are represented by coaches that closely resemble the leagues in which I participate. Hard core fantasy nuts with as many divergent opinions, valuation metrics and strategies as there are players in the NFL. No greater example of this is needed than the league banter that is present after a trade. And these strong views and values are certainly to play out in any dealings or thoughts related to Michael Vick.
In our league, the simple mention of “Vick” presents a wide array of feelings from the dreams of a championship on Vick’s back, to shocked disbelief (from his 2010 performance) to utter disgust. In fact, DLF’s own Ken Kelly is so disgusted in Vick’s off the field issues that, as he puts it “…if Vick was dropped, I wouldn’t put a claim in on him”. Realize that Ken owned Vick for some time and until this year, he had bounced around our league. Other coaches in our league are easily able to separate the player that is Michael Vick from the person. I, myself, am nestled firmly in between disgust and acknowledgement of what he could provide to my team’s future prospects.
Vick is a young 30 years old. Even in missing almost four full games in 2010, he likely sits in the top 7 of QBs. More importantly, he is showing a level of dynamic ability AND passing maturity that he has yet to display in his professional career to this point. The combination of the two is a scary proposition. But what is Vick’s dynasty value?
Going back to the three questions above, it will most certainly be a very individual and personal valuation process. In my opinion, Vick’s value is largely set by the competition level of the owning coach/team. In short, if you own Vick and your team is on cruise control towards your championship game or the playoffs, there is little way that you should be considering trading away the player. His performance to date has been such that his presence alone in your lineup, if continued, could carry you to the championship game. Factor in that Vick is a young 30 years old and doesn’t have the extra two years of game wear and tear on his body and it is conceivable that Vick could continue playing at a high level for another 3-5 years, or at least to the point at which his legs begin to fail him. Unless your goal is to run a socially responsible team, you’re not trading him. Let your conscience be your guide.
However, if Vick alone is holding your team at a mediocre level of performance or below, then you are playing a losing game. You must be honest and objective about your team’s prospects going forward. If your starting core is not young and productive, you most likely do not have the luxury of time with Vick under center to develop a championship team unless something within your plan will substantially change your game day lineup in short order. In this situation, even should you be able to develop a championship caliber team within three years, there is no way to ensure that Vick will be performing at a level similar to 2010. At Vick’s current level of production, it is not out of the question that you could achieve a substantial amount of rebuilding to the tune of multiple first round picks in addition to a young or established production player in trade. Start the process by making a beeline for the Eagles fan in your league. If you have younger depth at QB already, the world is your oyster. Even with a competing team, the potential of adding substantial value in picks/players in exchange for Vick is very intriguing.
But regardless of your own team’s situation, the over-arching variable is that Vick’s perception in your league will ultimately dictate his value. Fantasy production aside, this player’s past has transcended the game for many to the point where values may actually supersede the quest for a championship ring.
Feel free to share your Michael Vick opinions, value or league trades here in the comment section.
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