Hakeem Nicks: Fantasy Owners Should Keep Giants WR on Bench vs 49ers

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants warms up against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

For the first time in two weeks, stud WR Hakeem Nicks returned to the practice field for the New York Giants, leading to speculation that he may see the field against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday:

Hakeem Nicks practices Thursday, may play against San Francisco 49ers dlvr.it/2JNrNY

— ESPN New York (@ESPNNewYork) October 11, 2012

But that's not a reason for you to rush and put him back in your starting lineup.

He's been out of action for two weeks, and while it's an encouraging sign that he returned to practice, it's only one practice—and he was limited. 

How his balky knee and injured foot—the one he had offseason surgery on and re-injured against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2—will respond to a full practice, much less cross-country travel, are major question marks.

Throw in what Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride told Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger, and it doesn't sound like the Hakeem Nicks you drafted is the player we might see on the field on Sunday:

Gilbride on Nicks: "Getting him back is one thing. What level is he able to play at, that’s another." #nyg

— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) October 11, 2012

It's also worth making note of the team that the Giants are facing, the San Francisco 49ers, who boast the second-best pass defense in the NFL, a unit that gives up just over 180 yards passing per game and has allowed only five passing touchdowns all season.

There's no doubt that when he's healthy, Hakeem Nicks is one of the elite wide receivers in football and a must-start for your fantasy squad.

But there are simply too many questions surrounding him against a formidable opponent this week to trust him in your fantasy league for Week 6.