Michael Vick, Nick Foles and You

Michael Vick, Nick Foles and You

By John Paulsen (Director of Forecasting), last update Jul 16, 2013

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, and has finished in the Top 6 in seven of the last eight years. Cumulatively, John has been the most accurate expert from 2010-17 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

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In recent days, there have been a few Eagles beat writers who have been promoting the idea that Michael Vick will not be the team's starting QB on opening day.

CSN Philly's Geoff Mosher mentioned in a mailbag that Vick "could be a roster casualty if [HC Chip Kelly] is sold on Nick Foles and the promise of Matt Barkley."

In another mailbag, Mosher said that he believes Foles and Barkley have a better chance to start than does Vick.

Jimmy Kempski of the Allentown Morning Call said that Vick "was outplayed by Nick Foles in OTAs and minicamp" and went on to say that Foles "got the ball out quicker, was generally more accurate, and is putting receivers in a better position to get yards after the catch." Kempski added that Foles "looks far better" that he did a year ago, and that he has "come a long way," especially with his deep throws. As for Barkley, Kempski was complimentary, but said that competing with Foles, Barkley "has a pretty steep uphill climb to win a starting job."

CSN Philly's Reuben Frank dedicated a full column to making the case that Foles will be the starting quarterback, saying that he is "better at making quick decisions under duress," has "tons of upside" and is "more accurate." He said that if it is truly an open competition, then Foles "will be the Eagles' starting quarterback on opening day."

What does this mean for your fantasy draft? Well, we no longer believe that Vick has a good chance to be the team's starter, so we've moved him down to #26 in our QB rankings. He's an interesting upside QB2 if he wins the job, but at this point in the offseason, that's in serious doubt.

Someone asked me on Twitter whether Foles would be a high-end QB2 if he won the job and my initial feeling is that he'd merely be a low-end QB.

Here's what we know about Foles and Chip Kelly's offense:

1. In the last two seasons coaching the Oregon Ducks, his offense ran the ball 63.4% of the time. Granted, many of those runs were called with the Ducks sitting on a comfortable lead, and the Eagles won't be in that position nearly as often. He'll have to call more passes now that he's in the NFL, but it's clear that he likes to run the ball, so the Eagles are likely to be a run-first team.

2. LeSean McCoy is one of the most talented running backs in the league. Of the 39 RBs with at least 300 carries in the last three seasons, McCoy has the 6th highest YPC (4.75). In addition to McCoy, Bryce Brown proved to be a capable lead back, racking up 347 yards in two games against the Panthers and the Cowboys with McCoy sidelined.

3. The Eagles' QB position is one of the most fluid on the entire roster. While Vick and Foles are considered the two most likely candidates to start in Week 1, the team said it had a 1st round grade on Matt Barkley, scooping him up in the 4th round. It appears that the team believes that Barkley is the QB of the future in Philadelphia. With all this uncertainty, it's likely that the Eagles are planning to focus on the running game to take as much pressure off the QB as possible.

Foles played significant snaps in seven games in 2012. Here are his game logs from those seven games:

Week Opp Score Comp Att Yds Int TD RuAtt Yds TD Sack Fum FumL
10 DAL L 23-38 28 41 289 1 2 0 0 0 2 1 1
11 @ WAS L 6-31 21 46 204 2 0 1 0 0 4 3 0
12 CAR L 22-30 16 21 119 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0
13 @ DAL L 33-38 22 34 251 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0
14 @ TAM W 23-21 32 51 381 0 2 3 27 1 6 0 0
15 CIN L 13-34 16 33 180 1 1 2 5 0 1 1 1
16 WAS L 20-27 32 48 345 1 1 4 10 0 5 1 1
    Average 23.9 39.1 252.7 0.71 1.0 1.6 6.0 0.14 2.9 1.1 0.4
    Prorated 382 626 4043 11.4 16.0 25.1 96 2.3 45.7 18.3 6.9

Since he only played a partial game in Week 10, I added Vick's passing stats from that game (6-of-9, 70 yards, TD) to Foles's totals. Including that game, Foles averaged 253 yards and 1.0 TD against 0.71 INT. That equates to 4,043 yards, 16.0 TD and 11.4 INT over the course of a full 16-game season. Including his (modest) rushing totals, that results in about 226 fantasy points. That's about what we have for Matt Schaub and Philip Rivers, our #20 and #21 QBs.

On the surface, that's not too bad, but take a look at his sack and fumble numbers. He was on pace for almost 46 sacks, which would have been the 4th-highest of any QB in 2012. He was also on pace for 18.3 fumbles, which would have led the league in that category. These are worrisome numbers.


Bottom Line

Foles is an interesting player to monitor as training camp wears on, but I'd feel much better about drafting young, established starters like Ryan Tannehill or Sam Bradford as my QB2, or even a solid vet like Alex Smith, who has an easy schedule and has landed in a pretty good situation Kansas City.

As for Vick, I'm going to avoid him for now, although if he's still around in the final rounds, he's not a bad flier if he can be easily replaced once the waiver wire opens for business.

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