As you rigorously prepare and research leading into each week of DFS, injuries are always going to change the landscape. “Next Man Up” is a series that examines players who are now being propelled into the starting role (thus creating a larger opportunity for that player), whether it be via injury, or simply a change to the depth chart.
Michael Vick — QB, Pittsburgh SteelersRight off the bat, it’s obvious this isn’t your typical backup. “Next Man Up” generally features younger, lesser known players that are stepping into the spotlight for the first time. Michael Vick needs no introduction, so we can skip the part where I try and convince you this guy can play.
Pittsburgh is almost definitely Vick’s last stop in the NFL, and he knows it. But not many actually expected him to get a chance like this before his time is up. Ben Roethlisberger went down in Week 3 with a knee injury that’s expected to sideline him for six weeks — meaning one of the top offenses in the NFL is at the fingertips of the former Falcons/Eagles superstar.
Football-wise, it’s actually a pretty scary situation for the Steelers. Vick himself has been pretty fragile throughout his career, and at his age, Pittsburgh is probably already considering options in case Vick goes down next. But that’s thinking way too far ahead. Let’s talk about what we can expect from one of the most exciting players of his generation during his time back on the field.
He’s going to get his first shot at home on Thursday night against the 0-3, and extremely hungry Ravens. This is going to be a fun game, but also a game in which the minimal salary Vick can put up some valuable fantasy numbers.
At the helm of one of the most high powered offenses in the league, Vick is going to have a lot of options. For starters, Pittsburgh should look to use Le’Veon Bell even more than they originally planned for. He likely gets a bump in value since he’ll be running the ball more, but Vick also seems to like to target Bell a lot — both good things for his fantasy value. Antonio Brown, on the other hand, has to take somewhat of a hit. The most consistent fantasy WR of the past couple years just can’t be expected to produce the same numbers without Big Ben. Vick will still use Brown as his top option, but we need to see just how involved Antonio remains.
The real reason that Vick is likely to be the best value QB of Week 4 is because he remains a dual threat QB. When he doesn’t like his options, he’ll scramble out of the pocket and take what he can — not as good for the Steelers offense as a deep ball to Brown, but good for you if you roster Vick. Although it’s not likely we see any designed runs, Vick’s at his best when he’s improvising.
Week 4 is as ideal as it gets for Vick on DraftKings — $5,000 and facing a terrible Ravens secondary at home. His price is likely to rise, and he will face tougher matchups, but if MV still shows he has the ability to scramble, he’s likely going to be one of the best value quarterbacks until Big Ben returns for his job.
Finally, stepping away from fantasy for a moment, as long as you’re not a Steelers fan, this final Michael Vick experiment is going to be fun to watch. That has to count for something.
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