Michael Vick was handed the reins to the Pittsburgh Steelers offense Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens, but the results were mixed. While running back Le’Veon Bell was predictably strong on the ground and in the passing game, Vick’s primary receiving targets left fantasy owners disappointed.
Here’s a rundown on how Vick, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller all fared in the team’s thrilling 23-20 overtime loss.
Vick was on the fringe of the QB1 conversation entering his first start of the season, and he’s now firmly out of it in 10- and 12-team leagues after a mediocre fantasy effort Thursday night.
Although he completed an impressive 73 percent of his passes, Vick’s longest completion was an 18-yard hookup with Markus Wheaton.
There were a couple of minor positives, though. Vick didn’t turn the ball over, and his nine carries for 33 yards—including a 10-yard run—salvaged his production for owners who were daring enough to take a shot on the boom-or-bust signal-caller.
As was the case against the Ravens, it’d be risky to trust Vick with a starting fantasy nod next Monday against the San Diego Chargers. That also goes for the three weeks after that, when the Steelers are primed to do battle with the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals.
Brown’s streak of 35 consecutive games with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards was snapped Thursday night as Pittsburgh proved to be reluctant to take big shots downfield with Vick under center.
And on the one occasion when they did, Brown dropped what would have been a 36-yard touchdown, per NFL Network:
It was encouraging that Vick targeted Brown a team-high nine times, but the dink-and-dunk nature of Pittsburgh’s offense didn’t allow the electric wideout to pad his stat sheet with solid fantasy figures.
But despite the poor showing, owners can’t turn on Brown. He’s still one of the league’s unique talents, and even though Ben Roethlisberger (knee) isn’t around to target him on some of the broken plays that resulted in major gains in the past, owners can’t ignore Brown’s raw capabilities.
As long as he’s healthy, Brown should continue to operate as a low-end WR1 who will revert to an elite option once Roethlisberger is healthy.
Brown and the Steelers have 10 days to prepare for a Chargers defense that’s allowing 325 passing yards per game through the season’s first three weeks.
Save for one catch, Miller was a non-factor Thursday night.
Vick looked to Brown, Bell and Darrius Heyward-Bey more often, and rookie Sammie Coates even saw the same number of targets as the tight end.
It’s also worth noting that Miller’s been on a steady decline of late. Ever since seeing 11 targets in Week 1, he has been targeted seven times over the past three weeks combined.
With those numbers in mind, owners should plug Miller into their starting lineups only if they’re in need of a bye-week stopgap. Otherwise, he shouldn’t be on the fantasy radar.
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