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Player Spotlight: Hakeem Nicks

A detailed look at Hakeem Nicks' fantasy prospects for 2013

Setting the Stage

Hakeem Nicks played football at Independence High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. He never lost a high school game and caught 93 passes for 1,819 yards and 20 TDs as a senior. He was ranked as a four-star recruit by Rivals. He accepted a scholarship offer from North Carolina.

Nicks started all games that he played in as a freshman and set season records for yards receiving and receptions by a freshman with 39 catches for 660 yards and 4 TDs. He improved his production in each year and recorded 68 receptions for 1,222 yards and 12 TDs as a junior. He was found guilty of academic fraud well after he left North Carolina.

Nicks left after his junior season in 2008 and was invited to attend the NFL Combine in 2009. He remained highly regarded after the combine, although his 40-yard time was only 4.51. Many scouts particularly liked his size and strength combination and he was thought to be similar to Anquan Boldin. He was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants at 29th overall, but was only the fifth highest wide receiver drafted, after Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, and Percy Harvin. Kenny Britt was also taken as the sixth wide receiver in the first round, immediately after Nicks.

Nicks played immediately for the Giants as a rookie. He moved into the starting lineup later in his rookie year and has been a fixture there as long as he was healthy. Nicks enters the 2013 season in the last year of his five-year $12.54 Million contract. He did not attend the OTAs, but stated that the reason was not contract related. Nicks has been working out since with quarterback Eli Manning and will be ready for pre-season camp. Nicks’ health and production in 2013 will be paramount to whether he has a big money pay-day and extends with the Giants or pursues the free agent market after this year.

His career statistics are provided below.

Year Gms Targets Catches Yards ypc TDs
2009 14 74 47 790 16.8 6
2010 13 128 79 1,052 13.3 11
2011 15 161 75 1,169 15.6 7
2012 13 100 53 692 13.1 3
Totals 55 463 254 3,703 14.6 27

Looking Ahead to 2013

The New York Giants have had a lot of success passing the ball recently and have ranked 10th, 5th, and 12th in passing yards over the past three seasons. They return their two primary wide receivers and Reuben Randle is expected to play more in his second year. They will break in another new tight end as they allowed Martellus Bennett to leave via free agency and signed Brandon Myers as his replacement. Eli Manning will be in his tenth year with the team and has never missed a game.

They also allowed Ahmad Bradshaw to leave, so their running back depth is shallow and although big things are expected from second-year player David Wilson, he was lightly used in his rookie season. The team will likely lean on the passing game again and there will be plentiful opportunities for Nicks to perform.

Positives

  • Nicks will be highly motivated as he is in the final year of his rookie contract and is coming off a poor season where he was unable to remain healthy
  • Nicks will continue to be an integral part in the productive passing game for the Giants
  • Nicks is an excellent red zone player who has scored 27 TDs in 55 career games

Negatives

  • The Giants chose to sign Victor Cruz to an extension before they negotiated with Nicks
  • Eli Manning has plentiful targets and although he continues to be well regarded, he had a down year in 2012
  • The Giants offensive line has lost some continuity and could be starting players in new positions

Projections

  Gms Receptions Yards ypc TDs
David Dodds 15 73 1,022 14.0 7
Bob Henry 14 66 965 14.6 7
Jason Wood 15 75 1,070 14.5 7
Maurile Tremblay 16 85 1,135 13.4 6
Stephen Holloway 16 86 1,204 14.0 10

Final Thoughts

Hakeem Nicks is a very talented wide receiver who finished as WR8 in 2010, even as he missed three games. He is very effective near the goal line and has already scored 27 TDs. However, he has fallen off the high ranking he once commanded primarily because of his consistent injuries, having missed games in each of his four seasons and 9 games overall in his career. Because of the time missed, his ADP this year is WR19 (average ranking of WR14 at Footballguys.com) and 50 overall. This is an astounding drop for a player that has finished as WR8 and WR12 in 2010 and 2011.

Other Viewpoints

Lames Eisenberg at CBS Sports Fantasy News in late June http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasyfootball/players/playerpage/1117392/hakeem-nicks

Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks said he's completely healthy after undergoing what he described as a "clean up" procedure on his troublesome left knee this offseason, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. Nicks also said that he and quarterback Eli Manning have worked out together since the end of minicamp, trying to make up for the time that Nicks missed. Giants coach Tom Coughlin had suggested the pair do so. "We hooked up twice this week already," Nicks said. "We're going to do it again about two or three more times before (training) camp starts."

Nicks, who has one year remaining on his rookie contract, said this is an important year for him. He said he'll report to training camp on time and be full-go. "It's definitely big," he said of the upcoming season. "Talking about it can't do it justice. I just have to go out there and do what is expected."

ImTheScientist in the Spotlight Thread http://forums.footballguys.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=683421#entry15700992

Contract year and he has something to prove. Last season Cruz was the value pick and many smart owners picked him up instead of Nicks. This year you can flip that. Nicks is now the value play and is the more talented of the two, he just needs to remain healthy. If he is there in the 5th or 6th round of your draft I think he is difficult to pass up.

Ryan Hester in his player notes

When I draft teams, I lean towards guys who are physical freaks and don’t let past injury dictate my selections too much. Nicks is an exception though. He always seems to be nicked up, which has allowed Victor Cruz to become the more consistent target. Even if healthy all year, that trend could continue. It’s also quite possible that the Giants skew toward the run to mask an inexperienced (and not great) defense.


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