NFL fantasy football: Michael Vick or Philip Rivers?

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What is a fantasy football owner to do if you miss out on one of the ‘Fab Five’ elite quarterbacks in 2012 drafts? Given there’s a decent drop to the next tier of players, it’s all about potential. As Akbar Gbaja-Biamila pointed out on NFL Fantasy LIVE, perhaps no other quarterback personifies a potential return to elite status than the Philadelphia Eagles’ Michael Vick. Though he had a disappointing 2011 season, Vick is only one year removed from leading all fantasy quarterbacks with 310.32 total points. A bulk of his production came from his ability to run the ball, racking up 676 yards rushing with nine scores. But Elliot Harrison alluded to Vick’s current and past injury issues, stating “when you’re not on the field, you’re not really able to do that.” The Virginia Tech product will be a high risk/reward pick, but if he can come close to his 2010 numbers, selecting him as the sixth quarterback off the board will be well worth it.

Another name to consider is San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Ryan Mathews’ broken clavicle will most likely have the team easing him back into production, which means plenty of pass attempts for the North Carolina State product. Matt “Money” Smith also noted Rivers’ four straight seasons with over 4,000 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. While the ceiling of potential might not be as high for Rivers as it is for Vick, he does provide much more consistency without the risk of injury. The main concern here will be if Malcom Floyd or Robert Meachem are able to step-up as reliable targets and keep teams from focusing on Antonio Gates.

Other names to keep in mind are Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. Each carry average draft positions among the top-ten on, but in the end it will be up to fantasy owners to decide if they are willing to roll the dice and reap the benefits of a player like Vick, or if caution will be the approach. Either way, there is value to be had once the elite names are gone, so don’t let it derail your draft strategy.

Follow Adrian Mojica on Twitter @FFFdaily

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