Why I'm starting Vick over Brady this week

This is really, really unlike me. I’m always the guy who gives commenters on this site a hard time for benching their MVPs just because of the matchup. And I’m extremely wary of high-profile, big-name “game changers” like Vick who never live up to the absurd amount of hype that’s heaped upon them. So if this doesn’t work out, I’ll be doubly disappointed – first because it might cost me the matchup, and second because I’ll know I should’ve stuck to my modus operandi.

Also worth mentioning: I don’t like Michael Vick. He failed the trust of everyone he ever worked with, and squandered his one-in-a-billion athletic talents by never taking football seriously. That’s reason enough for me to dislike him without even getting into the unspeakable things he did to dogs.

But this is fantasy football, so what matters are the cold, hard statistics. Against the Lions, I think Vick is capable of a 40-fantasy-point night in our keeper league where passing TDs are 6 points each. He’d need something like 225 passing yards (9 points), 120 rushing yards (14 points including the 100-yard bonus) and three total touchdowns, rushing or passing (18 points). I’m not predicting that he’ll get these numbers, I’m saying they’re his ceiling for the game and that I think he’s got a decent shot.

Vick got everyone’s attention last week against a Green Bay defense that is widely considered to be one of the most well-rounded units in the league, posting over 100 yards rushing in just over one half while maintaining a 101.9 QB rating and reminding everyone of the player we thought he might mature into someday. The Lions will have had a week to plan for him, but is a well-prepared Lions defense any better than a caught-off-guard Packers defense? I doubt it.

While Kolb’s almost certainly going to sit out this game, there’s a good chance that he’ll be ready for week 3. Vick knows that the owners of every NFL team with questions at the quarterback position (read: almost all of them) will be watching the tape. I don’t know that there’s ever been a player with more motivation to put on a show.

Even with all that said, there’s still no way I’d start him this week if Brady had a decent matchup. But the Pats take on the Jets this week, AKA the angriest team in football at the moment. They’re going to eat Brady alive if they can. Wes Welker is guaranteed to get lit up at least once or twice. Randy Moss is a high-risk play because they’re going to look for him to haul in a desperation bomb or two, and those could go either way on Revis Island.

In any case, these aren’t the 2007 Patriots. Moss is older, Welker’s not 100%, and by now teams have figured out that the way to slow Brady down is to throw caution to the wind and blitz the bejesus out of him – something the Jets do better than anyone. I still think Brady’s a low-end QB1 this week, but it’s hard to picture him throwing for more than 225 yards and 2 TDs, with a couple of INTs mixed in as well. That’s a 17-point day in our league – not bad at all, but I think it’s the best-case scenario.

What it comes down to is that I’ve got two quarterbacks on my roster, I’ve estimated a fantasy point ceiling for each of them this week, and one is more than double the other. I’m holding my nose, starting Michael Vick over Tom Brady, and trying not to think about it again until Sunday at 1pm so I don’t drive myself insane.