May 30, 2011
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In the showdown for top fantasy QB honors, decorated gunslingers Michael Vick(notes) and Aaron Rodgers(notes) pack plenty of heat. However, pigskin prognosticators Brad Evans and Brandon Funston disagree on who is the best weapon of choice. Peruse. Ponder. And declare a winner below. The docs are in …
Evans screams: What Vick accomplished last year was legendary. Less than two years removed from the pokey, he underwent a career resurrection, seizing the starting job from incumbent Kevin Kolb(notes). Only a rib injury Week 4 against Washington slowed him down. And that was only brief.
Historically speaking, Vick was in a class by himself. His 29.7 per game average in traditional formats outpaced Aaron Rodgers by 5.2 points. More impressively, the mark was the highest output ever by a QB with at least 10 starts. More than Peyton Manning(notes) and Daunte Culpepper(notes) in 2004. More than Tom Brady(notes) in 2007. More than your self-created character in Madden '10. Showcasing increased accuracy, pocket poise, maturity and vintage athleticism, he eclipsed 25 points in 10 of 12 starts, including an unforgettable 52.7-point outburst against rival Washington Week 10 on Monday Night Football. Simply put, the largely undrafted passer had owners rolling in green by year's end.
Naysayers will point to Minnesota's "containment" of the slippery quarterback in Week 16 as reason for avoidance. They will also remind everyone of his injury downside. After all, he's only played a full slate once in his eight-year career. Though the latter concern is legitimate, the former is laughable. The Vikings' blitz barrage did hold Vick in check, if in check means he finished just shy of 30 fantasy points. In a game the entire Eagles offense appeared sluggish, the prodigious passer still managed to throw for 263 yards, run for another 63 and account for two touchdowns (one pass, one rush). Because of his pass/run duality and Andy Reid's air-happy system, he can quickly rack up fantasy points even if the real-life scoreboard isn't decorated with crooked numbers.
Since he inherited duties from Brett Favre(notes) three years ago, Rodgers has always had my full support. He's a reliable, consistent scorer in a dynamic spread offense who deserves strong consideration in the early half of Round 2. However, despite the risks involved, Vick's potential for explosive, impossible-to-stop performances is just too tempting to pass up.
Funston counters: In three seasons as the Packers' starter, Aaron Rodgers has finished no worse than second among QBs in total fantasy points. In his entire career, Michael Vick has never finished in the top 2.
Sure, Vick was the points per game QB king last season, but he missed four games because of a rib injury suffered on one of his typical highlight-reel scrambles. And other than a track record that takes a backseat to what he did last season, the concern with Vick is his ability to stay healthy with his running-enhanced style of play.
You can argue that Rodgers also falls into the hazard zone of mobile quarterbacks, but on a per game basis, Vick ran twice as often as Rodgers last season. In my perfect-world draft, I land a Drew Brees(notes), Peyton Manning or Tom Brady at a bargain price, because they live in the pocket and rarely get touched (so I get to sleep at night). But there's no denying the allure of a multi-threat QB. At least in that regard, Rodgers has missed just one game in three seasons.
In the end, it comes down to a matter of trust. Can Vick stay healthy? Will Andy Reid be content to let Vick run wild if backup Kevin Kolb isn't around? Will he be content to let him run wild if he continues to fumble at a nearly one per game rate (11 in 12 games)? At 31, will he be able to repeat his career-best numbers after teams have had an offseason to break all his '10 film down? I'm not sure I need to roll those dice when I know that the prime-aged, Super Bowl MVP Rodgers is going to deliver no worse than a top-two season if all goes like it has the previous three seasons.
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