New York Giants: Are Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks an Elite Fantasy Duo?

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New York Giants: Are Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks an Elite Fantasy Duo?
SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 07: Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants congratulates Hakeem Nicks #88 after Kevin Boss scored a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on November 7, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Giants defeated the Seahawks 41-7. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Will the rest of the NFL recognize Manning to Hakeem “The Dream” Nicks as an elite combination in the line of Montana to Rice, Stockton to Malone or Tinkers to Evers to Chance?  Fat chance, you say?

I have my own ideas and I’d better be right. I drafted Manning and Nicks for my fantasy squad the other night and boy are my nerves wracking. I need a cigarette, except I don’t smoke.

Speaking of smoke, Nicks has proven he could take a smoke screen pass that’s almost a lateral to the house from at least 55 yards out. He did that against Kansas City in 2009 in his first game back from an injury suffered in Week 1.

Kansas City was winless at the time, but their defense wasn’t that far away from turning the corner. The AFC West champions had a strong defensive unit and a playoff team.

Nicks really emerged in the NFL and for fantasy football owners last year. Last year off 79 receptions, he posted 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns in 13 games (12 starts). 

He thrived on the teams with weak defensive backfields—most of the teams in the league. It’ll be much of the same this season.

Not many NFL teams have two elite cornerbacks, but division rival Philadelphia has three of them. Nicks isn’t concerned, but I am—like a good fantasy owner should be. He could struggle against Philly, but he should light Dallas and Washington up. They were two of the worst defensive backfields in modern history last season.

The Giants have a relatively easy schedule this go around and Manning to Nicks should be one of the best things about this team. I am concerned about Manning more so than Nicks. 

In what has gradually become a passing league, Manning threw for over 4,000 yards and over 30 touchdowns in 2010. Those used to be considered elite numbers. Nowadays several quarterbacks, including Matt Schaub, surpass 4,000 yards.

Manning’s best season in terms of touchdowns to interceptions differential was 2009-10. He completed a solid 62.3 percent of his passes that season with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Manning posted his first 4,000 yard season that year with a whopping 251.3 yards passing per game average. He lost eight fumbles, though, his most ever. He lost five fumbles last year—his second most ever.

You probably heard that Manning recently stoked the flames of fall-out with the controversy-inducing statement he made about him being in the same pyramid pool as Captain America: Tom Brady.

Last season, Manning threw 25 interceptions—six times more than Brady and four times more than Josh Freeman. Twenty-five interceptions. Twenty-five? That’s almost 1.5 per game—not good enough by any stretch of the imagination.

Shocking shades of Brett Favre, Bat Man! Batten down the hatches. I can see defensive backs licking their lips in preparation of batting passes down and hatching a pick six—high-stepping Deion Sanders style to the house against Manning and Nicks. 

Say it won’t be so, Eli. Lie to me like I was a love struck female in the presence of a pretty boy player.  Wait.  You are a pretty boy player—most quarterbacks are—but I’m not a love struck female.

The image of your bloody head without a helmet still flashes in my mind and help to toughen people’s perception of you. All right, so you’re not a total pretty boy. In fact, you’re kind of goofy, but you’re not running for government so it doesn’t matter.

I’m hoping the totalitarian government of Tom Coughlin helps you and my fantasy squad out by giving Nicks a few rushing attempts to get him around the corner and ease the interception bug.  Fat chance you say? You’re probably right. 

Nicks had zero rushes last year. Although he had two of them in 2009, he was much more of a threat in this area while at UNC.

If Manning is able to cut down significantly on his interceptions, then Nicks should be able to do his thing because of his team’s running game. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs should be able to force opposing safeties closer to the line of scrimmage for run support.

Manning’s and Nicks’ jobs become easier, and they could do their thing with relative ease. In this scenario, the current New Yorkers will become an elite duo. They aren’t in that category now, but they are hopefully going to get their NFL peer recognition soon. 

Stay tuned and check back with me for a full slide show article on this topic. Meanwhile, does anyone want to trade me Tom Brady and Chad Ochocinco Johnson for Manning and Nicks?

Contact Lake Cruise at rjspann@swbell.net

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