Fantasy Football 2013: The Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Competition
Quarterback competitions can be annoying for fantasy football owners for many reasons. The unknown causes people to wait, which then makes fantasy owners unsure of the fantasy prospects of the supporting cast around them. Of course, there aren’t many competitions in 2013, but one of them in particular is making headlines, and has serious fantasy implications.
The Philadelphia Eagles are anything but a boring team. This unit was pretty bad in 2012, but still found ways to constantly make the headlines. 2013 will be no different, and the change at the head coach position, as well as the quarterback battle will make the Eagles one of the more intriguing teams to watch. Chip Kelly is calling the shots now, and will be implementing a much faster, run-oriented offense. He has the dynamic running back in LeSean McCoy. He has the speedy wideouts in Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. Now, he just needs to pick a starting quarterback.
Many believe that Michael Vick is suited best for this style of offense, including me. However, rumblings out of some Eagles’ beat reporters indicate that second-year signal caller Nick Foles may currently have the upper hand. Personally, I think it will end up being Vick, at least to start the season. Despite what many critics may say, I just feel that he has the speed and arm strength to excel in this offense, and it will be a bit more difficult for a sophomore quarterback to step in and produce. Foles showed some flashes during his rookie year in 2012, but not nearly enough on his track record to consider him the safer option in my eyes.
Why Vick Fits
Kelly may have stated that being a mobile quarterback isn’t a necessity for his offense, but a little thing called history may tell us otherwise. Obviously, Vick is the more mobile quarterback of the two, having rushed for a career 5,551 yards. If you look back at some of Kelly’s offenses at Oregon, his starting quarterbacks have all scrambled quite a bit.
Clearly, Kelly’s quarterbacks have been asked to do much more than just throw the football, and I’d think the Eagles new coach is salivating at the chance to use his shiny new toy in Vick, one of the most dominant rushing quarterbacks in the history of the game. However, as explosive as Vick is with his legs, that’s not the only reason he is the logical choice for this offense.
In 2012, Vick was actually a very good quarterback in the two-minute offense, sporting a QB rating of 98. Why is that important? Well, during that situation, you need to be quick, absorbing everything around you in quick time. That’s what it will be like to play in Kelly’s new offense. Quick thinking and even quicker acting. Also, Vick was under pressure quite a lot in 2012, thanks to a horrid offensive line. With that being said, according to Pro Football Focus, Vick posted a a passer rating of 91.0 when holding the ball for 2.5 seconds or less. That quick thinking is imperative for Vick to succeed. Interestingly enough, his passer rating was much worse when he held onto the ball for longer than that 2.5 seconds. The talk that Vick isn’t smart enough to run this style of offense is a bit off if you ask me. Vick (33) is a veteran guy who can quickly read defenses and deliver the ball on time. Sure, Vick was a turnover machine last year, but he had to scramble for his life due to a crumbling offensive line in front of him. If you ask me, I think Vick fits this offense just fine.
Why Foles Fits
Foles doesn’t nearly have the athletic ability as Vick, but he does have something else that Kelly seems to like. The sophomore quarterback is a more accurate mid-range passer than Vick, which is what a large majority of the passes will consist of in Kelly’s preferred offensive gameplan. Also, Foles quietly ran a high-tempo offense during his college days at Arizona, which gives him some experience. His mobility, though not flashy, is also a tad bit overrated. Many actually believe Foles will enter Week 1 as the starter, and while it obviously wouldn’t surprise me, my money is still on Vick.
Fantasy Impact Of Vick
If Vick enters Week 1 under center, it will have a different fantasy impact than it would with Foles. First, I think McCoy owners would rather have Vick handing him the football, strictly because of the potential of a read-option gameplan. Opposing defenses would have to respect Vick’s rushing ability, allowing McCoy more room to run. The combination of a mobile quarterback and a dynamic running back in past Oregon offenses saw strong rushing numbers, which excites me a bit about McCoy this year. I think DeSean Jackson takes a hit (not that I like him anyway) simply because Vick’s quick thinking means shorter routes for Eagles receivers. Jackson is a one trick pony, running a streak route or screen. That’s it. Also, the tight ends aren’t as appealing because Vick tends to overlook the tight end position when under center. For instance, Brent Celek only saw 87 targets a year ago, only catching 57 balls (62 in 2011).
Fantasy Impact Of Foles
The rushing game of the Eagles isn’t as intriguing with Foles under center, but it certainly isn’t enough to knock down a talented back like McCoy. I think the player that receives the biggest boost in fantasy value is Jeremy Maclin. In games where Foles was under center last season, Maclin was targeted a healthy 60 times. And that was in only seven games. It’ll be interesting if that was just the situation of each game unfolding or if Foles actually likes to look for Maclin that much.
Vick: 2,976 yards, 26 TD, 16 INT. 545 rushing yards, 4 TD.
Foles: 3,446 yards, 24 TD, 15 INT.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.
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