NFL fantasy roundtable: Vick's start growing into long-term concern
Combined with injury risk, Michael Vick's erratic play has fantasy stock dropping
Mikel Leshourse appears as if he'll be workhorse power-rushing back for Lions
Niners and Texans have defenses that have suppressed rushing totals this season
The NFL fantasy season is one filled with decisions. Join SI's roundtable of fantasy experts each week to help sort through the lineup choices, injuries and waiver-wire options that can make or break a season. Each week, we'll also be featuring a question from our readers, which you are free to submit each Sunday of the season at the @SInow Twitter feed.
1. Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton and Michael Vick are among a host of elite quarterbacks who have struggled this season. What top-flight signal-callers are you most concerned about?
Mike Beacom: Assuming Stafford's leg checks out OK, I can't say I'm worried about any of the league's elite quarterbacks. I'm confident Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady will pick up the pace, and both Vick and Newton will bounce back from their so-so September starts. It's not time yet for fantasy owners to circle the wagons.
Will Carroll: I'm most worried about Vick. We know who he is and what he does, but right now, that's not getting it done. Yes, he's 2-1 but two squeaker wins and one bad loss have him firmly in the cross hairs of Philly fans. I don't think Nick Foles is ready or better suited to help this team, but at some point -- very soon -- Vick is going to try and do something, to make a play, and he's going to end up on the sidelines or worse.
Eric Mack: Most are cursing all three, but at least in the case of Vick, the preseason offered some warning. No one could have seen the struggles from Stafford and Newton coming. I am more worried about Newton, because Stafford is more certain to post 4,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns, if healthy. Newton right now looks more certain for 20 interceptions than 20 touchdowns -- and that's including his rushing totals.
David Sabino: Even though he's been the most productive out of the above group, I still worry about Vick as a fantasy quarterback. His play has been erratic, sometimes spectacular, but often sloppy, and he's still an injury risk of the highest degree. Stafford is also a concern since his numbers are a far cry from last year. The lower leg strain that forced him out of the game against Tennessee Sunday is a concern, much as is the common sight of him being thrown around like a rag doll in the pocket.
2. How has the Saints' poor start altered your view of the team's fantasy options?
Beacom: Marques Colston has been slow to get going, but other than that it's about what I expected. Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham are among the top fantasy scorers at their respective positions, and Lance Moore has been a nice surprise. If anything, it's frustrating to see Pierre Thomas steal some of Darren Sproles' production, but the Saints' split backfield is nothing new.
Carroll: I'm drafting Sean Payton in the second round next year, that's for sure. Does a coach make this much difference, or did the offseason issue unsettle this team in ways we don't understand? The Saints are no longer automatic, but it seems like all the talent is still there. Brees is still a top tier guy, Graham has been exactly what people hoped for when drafting a tight end in the first two rounds, but the receivers haven't been buoyed by Brees in the same way they normally are. Worse, the running game is a disaster.
Mack: Save for Brees and Graham, there's no certainty about anyone on the Saints right now. It was frustrating enough when they were setting records and spreading the ball around so much it was hard to pinpoint who would produce. Now, they're spreading the ball around and not setting records. Moore has been a pleasant surprise, but do you trust him? You shouldn't. Colston should be productive eventually, but will he? The three-headed monster at running back between Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas makes a mess of each other. The good news is no matter the Saints situation, Brees and Graham are going to be fantasy monsters. The rest is a crap shoot.
Sabino: A lot of New Orleans' woes have been on defense, so it's not a major factor in the Saints' fantasy outlook. Brees is still finding his receivers, namely Graham and Moore. Colston has been slowed by injury, so he gets a pass for a slow start. I'm much more bullish on their fantasy outlook than on their chances of recovering to make the playoffs.