By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 4, 2002
Hmmm ... Michael Vick?
After owners of the mercurial Atlanta quarterback reaped a huge performance Sunday against Minnesota (173 yards rushing and passing, three touchdowns), the thought of this week's game against the Bucs dampened the celebration.
Much like an earlier debate about whether or not to play Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb against the Bucs defense in Week 7 -- which was a resounding yes due to McNabb's steady and consistent performances all season -- Vick owners have to be wondering this week:
The fact that this is a huge week in almost every fantasy football league, it being the last in the regular season with playoff spots on the line in most, makes the decision even tougher.
So does this:
In his first meeting against Tampa Bay, Vick had his worst game of the season, completing 4 of 12 passes for 37 yards and never getting a chance to showcase his running skills before an injury sidelined him the second half.
The question then becomes, is the real Michael Vick the one we saw against the Bucs, the one who tore up a crummy Vikings defense last week, or somewhere in between?
And is somewhere in between good enough to produce enough points in the season's biggest week?
Play him because he's just too fun to watch, or don't, because he has just two 200-yard passing games, has thrown for more than one touchdown in a game just three times, and against the Bucs, Ravens, Steelers and Panthers defenses rushed for just 54 yards on 23 carries.
NO, SERIOUSLY: Call me crazy, but I'd start quarterbacks Jon Kitna or Matt Hasselbeck ahead of Michael Vick this week (but not, say, A.J. Feeley or Jamie Martin).
Kitna's 308-yard performance Sunday was another in a string of strong recent outings, and Hasselbeck threw for 427 yards as Seattle's offense clearly has shifted to pass-happy.
RB SOS: Those desperate for a running back this week might want to look at Carolina's Dee Brown and Green Bay's Tony Fisher.
Not only did the no-names have great weeks (Brown had 127 yards, Fisher had 91 and a touchdown), but they get favorable matchups this week. Brown goes up against the Bengals, and Fisher gets a crack at those mighty Vikings.
Keep an eye on Fisher, however, as the severity of Ahman Green's knee injury remains unknown. He is not expected to play but could be a late start.
SYRA-WHO?: Those unfamiliar with Brown, he is a rookie from Syracuse.
Oh, and those still unfamiliar with Indianapolis running back James Mungro (touchdowns each of the past two weeks), he is a rookie from Syracuse.
The one season they played together in the Syracuse backfield, they combined for 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns ... and the Orangemen went 6-5.
REMEMBER ME?: Seattle wide receiver and former Tampa Catholic High standout Darrell Jackson was one of the hot fantasy players to draft this season, but since a great Week 2, he has slipped off the fantasy planet.
In weeks 3-11, Jackson missed three games with a concussion, didn't catch a pass in another and had a high game of 54 yards.
But Jackson is back. He has been a beneficiary of Hasselbeck's resurgence with 13 catches, 206 yards and two touchdowns.
Jackson could be hidden in your league's forgotten players.
If he's available, grab him.