Hakeem Nicks Injury: Is Mario Manningham a Legitimate WR1 in Fantasy Football?

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants  against the Philadelphia Eagles at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 19, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Hakeem Nicks' injury issues appear to be something that will haunt him throughout his career. The promising news is that Nicks' knee injury doesn't appear to be serious.

His status for next week's game against the St. Louis Rams is not definite just yet however as he may still miss the game.

Should Nicks not get the start, Mario Manningham will become the team's first-choice receiver. Manningham is very talented but whether he can match Nicks' production or not is a major question mark.

For fantasy owners that is very important. If Manningham is the team's best receiver with Domenik Hixon and Victor Cruz backing him up then defenses will key in on him. This will shut Manningham down as a viable leading receiver in fantasy football.

The Rams have their own injury issues in their secondary as Ron Bartell has neck issues after their game with the Eagles.

However what will prevent Manningham from having a big night is the Rams pass rush. With Chris Long and James Laurinaitis leading the front seven, Eli Manning will be under duress all night. The Rams have a lot of quality pieces up front, including James Hall and Fred Robbins, so much so that first-round pick Robert Quinn was inactive on opening weekend.

Couple this with the fact that Steve Spagnuolo will know a lot about his former team, the Rams defense should be able to disrupt the Giants offense.

Manningham is a matchup nightmare for defenders because of his speed and size. However now that the Giants offense has lost Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and potentially Nicks, it is a lot easier for defenses to take him out of the game.

With continuity issues on the offensive line there are just too many question marks surrounding the whole offense to make Manningham a worthwhile fantasy option.