2011 Fantasy Forecast: Giants WR Hakeem Nicks, the Birth of a Legend
2010 Review: Hakeem Nicks, No. 88
For those of you who watched him play during his rookie season, it should come as no surprise that Hakeem Nicks rose to the top as quickly as he did.
His unique talents are utterly mind-blowing while his overall grasp of the game seems to always be on display. So much so, in fact, that early last season, I wrote an article on the Giants' young monster wideout welcoming him into the elite class of NFL receivers despite his fledgling age of 22.
Though there are a multitude of praises I can heap upon Nicks’ back, I’ll let his stats speak for themselves…
First off, in the 13 games he was active for in 2010, Hakeem was targeted a mammoth 128 times—or about 10 targets per game.
What makes this number so special is that besides Nicks, only a handful of other receivers throughout the NFL were able to claim they were depended on as much as he was by Eli Manning. We’re talking top-of-the-line receivers such as Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. Even guys like Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings and Dwayne Bowe didn't made the cut!
Diving in a bit further shows an elemental reason why the Giants were so confident in their sophomore receiver—namely, his production.
Again, in just 13 games, Nicks caught 79 balls for 1,052 yards and 11 TDs. Prorated over a 16-game season, Hakeem would have had 97 receptions (which would have been third in the league), 1,295 yards (fourth) and possibly 14 TDs (second).
Those are some serious stats we’re talking about here—numbers not too often seen in the NFL.
Another little tidbit that shouldn't be overlooked is that Nicks, like both Reggie Wayne in Indy and Greg Jennings in Green Bay, accumulated these prodigious numbers despite the plethora of talent surrounding them.
With players like Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and Kevin Boss beside him looking for targets, along with a few up-and-comers such as Ramses Barden, Derek Hagan and Victor Cruz all fighting to crack the lineup, Hakeem's staunch and immediate impact becomes even that much more impressive.
One last crucial statistic that puts Nicks amongst the elite fantasy wide receivers in the game is this:
When the final whistle of the 2010 season blew, Hakeem became the NFL's No. 1 ranked WR in fantasy points per game (13.2) and even though he played in only 13 games, he still ranked eighth in the league in total fantasy points (171.2).
As a 22-year-old?!?! That’s crazy good!!!
Assuming they all stay healthy, who will have the most fantasy points in 2011?
If you want to witness the growth of a surefire Hall-of-Fame wide receiver, keep a close eye on this kid over the next decade or so and please, don’t miss out on him starting for your fantasy team this coming season.
(Brought to you by PYROMANIAC.COM.)
Pros and Cons for 2011
(+) Nicks is clearly the WR1 in this offense after receiving 128 targets in just 13 games last year.
(+) He can score from anywhere, as shown by his seven red-zone TDs and four others from 25-yards plus.
(+) Though he lacks size (6’0”) and speed (4.5-4.8 in the 40-yard dash), he reminds us of a slightly smaller version of Michael Irvin or Cris Carter.
(+) Hakeem seems to have developed a knack for the big play.
(+) Steve Smith and Mario Manningham are no doubt good receivers, but Nicks is one of those special talents that can’t help but dominate.
(+) When the ball is in the air, odds are it comes down in Nicks’ elephant-sized hands.
(–) Though as talented as any in the league, Hakeem lacks that elite, coveted WR size and speed.
(–) He doesn’t have a great track record of health thus far missing two games his rookie season and three more in 2010 due to Compartment Syndrome in his lower right leg.
(–) Eli Manning tends to spread the ball around, so Nicks does have the chance of being a bit inconsistent.
For the rest of Hakeem Nicks' Player Profile, CLICK HERE.
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