Hakeem Nicks: Evaluating Fantasy Potential of Giants WR This Week

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants waits for the game to start against the San Francisco 49ers on October 14, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The Giants won 26-3. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

It's been a bumpy ride for Hakeem Nicks and his fantasy owners thus far this season, but what should you expect from him with a tasty matchup against the Washington Redskins this week?

To a degree, that's hard to say. Nicks has had more injuries this year than the guy from Operation, and it remains unknown how healthy he'll truly be on Sunday.

One good sign for his fantasy owners, however, is that he did practice on Wednesday. As Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger notes, that's been unusual—perhaps unprecedented—for Nicks this year:

Canty is indeed practicing. So is Nicks -- his 1st Weds practice all season, if memory serves. A. Brown also back from concussion. #nyg

— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) October 17, 2012

One good thing is his matchup against the Redskins, who are allowing 328.3 passing yards per game (32nd in NFL) and 34.2 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers each week (you guessed it—32nd in NFL). 

Nicks wasn't very good against the San Francisco 49ers in his return, catching just three passes for 44 yards. After that game, he had the following to say (via Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News):

[Nicks] added that his sore left knee “wasn’t feeling great” during the game.

“I didn’t expect to come out here and be ‘great great’ in my first game back,” he said. “But I know it’ll get better by next week and the week after that. It just takes time.”

Here's the bottom line for fantasy owners: If Nicks plays against the Redskins, you pretty much have to start him. While it's a risk, how infuriated will you be if he has a huge performance—which is totally within the realm of possibility—and he's sitting on your bench?

You'll be furious. You might break something. That's why we can't have nice things. 

For players like Nicks, I always try to split the difference when making my projections. It's not so much a prediction of what I think will definitely happen, but rather a prediction that tries to realistically project both his upside and the inherent risk he brings to the table.

If he plays, I think a projection of five receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown is pretty reasonable, and the sort of numbers you want from a WR2. That's how I see Nicks this week—as either a low-end, risky WR2 or a flex with a ton of upside.

You need to start him, you need to pray he's close enough to 100 percent, and for heaven's sake, let's all hope he doesn't end up with a wrench in his ankle.


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