Hakeem Nicks is out for the New York Giants' showdown with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, so Eli Manning will be missing one of his favorite receiving targets.
Victor Cruz instantly becomes the focal point of the G-Men's attack, a guy that the Panthers' secondary will undoubtedly zero in on all evening.
From a fantasy perspective, will Cruz be an even hotter commodity, or will the absence of Nicks hurt his stock?
Remember, Cruz can't do it alone.
Let's rank the rest of the Giants receiving corps from a fantasy angle for tonight's matchup and for the remainder of the year.
1. Ramses Barden
If Nicks continues to deal with nagging injuries this season, the No. 3 guy has to be fourth-year professional Ramses Barden.
The 6'6'' monster from Cal Poly has yet to make even a minuscule impact on the Giants passing game, as his career high in receptions for a season is nine.
However, he's familiar with the offensive scheme and could finally be given the legitimate opportunity to prove his worth with New York's primary receivers injured.
I wouldn't advocate nabbing Barden off the waiver-wire until he produces in a game or two, but because of his experience and size, he could become a viable red zone target while Nicks and Hixon are nursed back from injury.
2. Rueben Randle
Randle's a rookie, but is clearly the most athletically gifted wideout in this grouping of secondary options. At 6'2'' and 210 pounds, he has ideal size to man the outside spot typically occupied by Nicks and has deceptive speed that could help him to get separation down the sidelines.
He's more a major boom or bust fantasy option, and like Barden, you should wait to pick him up until he contributes. The LSU alum has yet to catch his first NFL pass.
If Randle can get comfortable in the Giants offense, he could be viable a WR No. 3 or flex option in the future.
Much will hinge on the health of Nicks and Hixon in the foreseeable future.
3. Domenik Hixon
Hixon is out for tonight's contest with Carolina with a concussion, but he shouldn't be counted out for the entire season.
What Hixon has on the rest of the Giants backup wideouts is the fact that he's been semi-productive in New York, while the other receivers are young and relatively raw.
He's a risk to be injured nearly every time out, but if he returns from his head injury and reformulates the rapport with Eli Manning that saw him catch 43 passes for 596 yards in 2008, he may be an adequate WR No. 3 in some of the deeper PPR leagues.
4. Jerrel Jernigan
There really isn't any fantasy viability with Jernigan, unless the Giants unfortunately have to deal with more injuries at the wide receiver position.
At 5'9'' and 190 pounds, he's built to be that bubble screen YAC receiver who sees a handful of targets in a game.
Now in his second year out of Troy, Jernigan has yet to record an NFL catch, and still remains buried on the depth chart.
Remember though, a good fantasy owner tracks everything and monitors every trend. Now's the best time for Jernigan to break out.
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