Vick, Culpepper have their fantasy value drop


Two of the NFL's most well known quarterbacks were in the news this week, but for far different reasons. The Miami Dolphins terminated the contract of Daunte Culpepper, making him an unrestricted free agent, and Michael Vick was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to dogfighting.


While a league-imposed suspension is not imminent, the fact that one could still result makes Vick far less attractive in the world of fantasy football.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a firm stance against players such as Chris Henry, Adam "Pacman" Jones and Tank Johnson, all of whom have been suspended for eight or more games for off-field issues, and Vick could be next in line. As a result, fantasy owners should now play it safe and look at such quarterbacks as Matt Hasselbeck, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Leinart, Eli Manning, Jon Kitna and Jay Cutler ahead of Vick, who should be considered no more than a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy quarterback and worth at best a middle- to late-round choice.


If Vick is forced to miss time, the Falcons likely would turn to Joey Harrington as their starter. While he did record some decent stat lines for Miami last season and will be in a more pass-intensive offense under new Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino, Harrington still shouldn't be considered more than a reserve in most fantasy formats.


Wherever he ends up, Daunte Culpepper will likely start the season as a backup.


The Falcons also could decide to look at Culpepper, who is now available to all 32 teams. However, the organization that has shown the most interest in Culpepper is the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, Jaguars coaches told Byron Leftwich and David Garrard earlier in the offseason that the team could decide to pursue Culpepper.


Once on the same level as Peyton Manning, Culpepper has experienced a notable decline after an incredible 2004 season. In 2005, he threw six touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in seven starts before a serious knee injury knocked him out of action. He proclaimed himself to be at 100 percent health at the start of last season, but the knee continued to be a problem and limited him to just four starts.


Culpepper, 30, now finds himself without a team and, in all likelihood, without a starting job even if he does land in Jacksonville. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has said anyone added to the roster would come in as a reserve, and he also named Leftwich his starting quarterback headed into the 2007 season.


With Garrard also in the mix, Culpepper could find himself in a difficult competition for playing time if he does land in Jacksonville. Other teams that could have interest include the Baltimore Ravens and St. Louis Rams, and the Green Bay Packers also could put themselves into the mix. Wherever he lands, Culpepper won't be worth more than a late-round flier.