On The Decline
Update: (5/27/12) If you have been following all of the Hakeem Nicks rumors lately, well, then you know that there are some mixed reports floating around out there regarding the recovery timetable of Nicks’ injured foot. Nicks had a screw inserted into the broken right foot on Friday and the Giants are standing by the 12-week recovery timetable that was initially reported back on Thursday. What’s causing a bit of debate on our fantasy football forums is that Adam Schefter was reportedly advised that Nicks is looking at more of a 4-6 week recovery timetable. What time frame is correct? I don’t know that anyone knows the answer to this, and I’d caution anyone from listening to the player himself, as he is clearly going to have the most optimistic of stances (as he should). But, if the 4-6 week time frame is accurate, does this change our stance below on Nicks? Sure, a little… if Nicks is going to be ready to roll in let’s say 6 weeks, so we’d know in August if he was healthy, he could climb our rankings 1-2 spots heading into 2012 yearly league drafts… but, I’m not so sure we’d touch his dynasty rank, which has dropped a handful of slots since he broke the bone in his foot. Regardless of how quickly he rebounds from this injury (even if he is ready for Week 1), this injury itself still has us tagging Nicks as a long-term injury concern. In a fresh dynasty start-up, I’d draft the following receivers ahead of Nicks: Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, Greg Jennings, Dez Bryant, Mike Wallace and even Kenny Britt. While I’m guessing this ranking won’t please all you Nicks owners out there, that still has him at a respectable No. 10 overall for fantasy wide receivers heading into 2012 and beyond. Debate this on our forums!
Posted 5/25/12: Today fantasy worlds received bad news regarding Hakeem Nicks… the receiver is expected to miss the next 6-12 weeks after fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Thursday. Nicks was injured Thursday morning while running a route during practice. The receiver will most likely undergo surgery today and have a screw inserted into his foot; the 6-12 week recovery timetable could have Nicks unprepared for Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season. According to NFL.com, Giants coach Tom Coughlin had this to say on Nicks being ready for opening day: “probably going to be close.”
So, the big question is this: Where should fantasy football owners rank Hakeem Nicks heading into 2012?
I think it’s time to officially tag Nicks as a major injury risk moving forward. Freak injuries happen, but this guy cannot stay healthy. Shockingly, he played 15 games last season, but he was banged up for much of the 2012 NFL season. If you owned Nicks in any leagues last year, you went into many weeks unsure of his injury status. It’s time to accept that Nicks is a walking injury.
What does this mean for redraft leaguers? What about dynasty leaguers? Let’s start with his yearly value… Nicks may or may not miss Week 1, so he is going to jump around our rankings heading into September, but in general, I have Nicks dropping from the No.6 redraft wide receiver to the 12th — That’s quite a drop. Here are the players currently ranked around Nicks on our 2012 Redraft Rankings:
2012 Fantasy Football WR Rankings
5. Julio Jones
6. Greg Jennings
7. Brandon Marshall
8. Wes Welker
9. Roddy White
10. Mike Wallace
11. Hakeem Nicks
12. Vincent Jackson
13. Kenny Britt
An argument can certainly be made for Nicks to still be No. 7 or 8 worthy in terms of 2012 fantasy football wide receivers… He still has top 2-4 wide receiver talent, no question, which is why I would never call anyone crazy for still having him ranked that high… That said, I personally see Jennings, Welker, Wallace and White as safer options heading into 2012, as Nicks cannot be counted on for 16 games, even if things look optimistic closer to August… You may ask why I have both Marshall and Bryant ahead of him. Well, despite the risks both of those guys come with, both are relatively healthy right now, and both have tremendous ceiling value in 2012… if in Nicks’ situation, I’d drop both of those guys significantly as well, but that isn’t the case… Nicks shouldn’t be written off, I’m not suggesting that, but look at him as more of a bargain grab in 2012, and I’m talking late third- or even fourth-round (the round will depend on how fast he heals up).
Now let’s look at our 2012 Dynasty Rankings:
2012 Fantasy Football WR Rankings
4. Julio Jones
5. Brandon Marshall
6. Greg Jennings
7. Dez Bryant
8. Mike Wallace
9. Kenny Britt
10. Hakeem Nicks
11. Wes Welker
As you can see, Nicks is still commanding a higher dynasty ranking than players like Welker and White, but I have players like Britt, Bryant and Wallace slotted ahead of Nicks. Again, you can try and argue all day long that Nicks has the same talent level as every name on that list, but the problem is I’ll actually agree with you… Talent is half the battle, and unfortunately it’s time to factor the risk factors into both Nicks’ dynasty and redraft fantasy football values.
Quick note: Nicks’ injury status hasn’t altered the rankings of other Giants wide receivers (yet) because I still see Nicks starting by Week 1, even if possibly slow moving and out of shape. Rookie Rueben Randle could mature quicker than expected given all the extra reps he is going to get this off-season/preseason, and that will be a good thing for the Giants in case Nicks gets banged up later… but Nicks won’t surrender any playing time or targets once back. If Nicks goes down again, or misses time here and there, Randle would certainly see a big bump in fantasy value. Cruz as well!