Hakeem Nicks: Underrated WRs Fantasy Owners Should Start over Hurt Giants Star

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2012

Sep 16, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) runs past Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Ahmad Black (43) during the game at MetLife Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Seemingly destined to return on Sunday after a three-week absence, fantasy owners of New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks face a vexing decision in Week 6.

Though the Giants star wideout has practiced all week on a limited basis, he is still just "cautiously optimistic" about his playing status against the San Francisco 49ers (via Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger).

For my money, the "cautious" part of that optimism makes Nicks too risky of a play, even if he does suit up.

The Giants will face off against a 49ers defense that comes into the game ranked second in the NFL against the pass, giving up just 181.2 yards per game. That means even a fully healthy Nicks would still be a hesitant play this week—let alone a Nicks with two separate leg injuries that could be re-aggravated any second. 

What's more, the game does not kick off until 4:25 p.m. ET, leaving fantasy owners to desperately scramble if Nicks is a late scratch from the lineup. 

With that in mind, here is a look at a few underrated players worth putting in your lineup over Nicks on Sunday.


James Jones (Green Bay Packers)

I think that everyone who has ever managed a fantasy football team has owned Jones at a certain point—and the relationship has never ended on friendly terms.

Among the top fantasy receivers when good, and sometimes scoreless when not-so-good, the Packers' wideout will certainly be a nerve-wracking play in Week 6.

Nevertheless, after scoring four touchdowns over the past two weeks, it's time to hop back on the Jones bandwagon one more time—especially with Greg Jennings out on Sunday. 

While the Texans have the third-best pass defense in the NFL, allowing just 190.2 yards per game thus far, it's easy to poke holes in that statistic. Of the teams Houston has played so far, only one (Denver Broncos) have a quarterback that anyone would consider a top-half signal-caller.

Manning's stat line against the Texans: 330 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs.

With Aaron Rodgers seemingly back at the top of his game, Jones should be in line for a better-than-you think fantasy day on Sunday. 


Anquan Boldin (Baltimore Ravens)

Continually underrated and unfairly ranked by fantasy football experts, Boldin continues to be a solid fantasy option.

The 32-year-old had ostensibly lost his top billing in the Baltimore offense early in the season to Torrey Smith, but has reclaimed it with force over the past two weeks. A vital cog in the Ravens' pass-heavy offense, Boldin caught 13 balls for 213 yards in Weeks 4 and 5. 

What's more, Boldin continues to lead the team in targets with 38, and Joe Flacco targeted him 10 times last week, which was six more than any other Ravens player.

The Cowboys come into Week 6 ranking first in the NFL against the pass, but it's likely that the team uses the bulk of its coverage against Smith to avoid the deep ball. 

Boldin and Nicks essentially provide the same skill-set to their teams, but the Ravens star is healthy. Given the choice between two untenable matchups, always go with the healthier option. 


Andre Roberts (Arizona Cardinals)

With the Cardinals' backfield ravaged by injuries, it seems likely that this is the week head coach Ken Whisenhunt will finally unleash the pass offense.

The Buffalo Bills come into Sunday's contest with the 24th-ranked pass defense in the NFL and have given up an average of 29.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (via ESPN). 

As opponents continue to focus their coverage on superstar Larry Fitzgerald, Roberts should continue to be a solid option—especially as a red-zone threat. 

Roberts is obviously a risk, but one that should pay off if Kolb can accurately deliver the ball on Sunday. 

Tyler Conway is a Bleacher Report Breaking News writer who enjoys Twitter followers. So...follow him.