The injury to New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is the first casualty of the offseason that may have a real impact on fantasy football owners. Injuries to players such as Terrell Suggs and Jason Peters are significant. But unless we are talking about an IDP league, neither of those players contributes to fantasy in any way, shape or form.
Nicks, on the other hand, was a major contributor for fantasy owners last season and was projected by many to be a top 10 fantasy receiver in 2012. Yet at this point it is unknown exactly when he will be able to return from the injury, which will hinder his value to fantasy owners.
According to the report by Michael Eisen on Giants.com, Nicks will have surgery today to have a screw inserted into the foot to repair the damage. The report also states, “ The procedure will be performed by noted foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. The expected recovery time for Nicks is approximately 12 weeks. The Giants report to training camp at the University at Albany on July 26.”
The timetable for Nicks recovery works out to just around three months, definitely ruling him out for the start of Giant’s training camp at the end of July.
The fourth-year receiver could potentially return to the field in late August but he whether or not he will be a 100 percent is the question because at that point the start of the 2012 NFL season will be just around the corner.
According to a report by Brad Biggs the National Football Post, Nicks should be ready to go whenever he returns, “The upside, if there is one, is Coughlin said doctors are confident Nicks will return fully healed and it will not be a situation where he’s at risk of suffering the same injury again. That’s been known to happen with pesky foot injuries.”
The report also cites Mike Garfafolo of the New York-Star Ledger, which claims that Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is target the season-opener for Nicks return, ”
“Well, it’s probably going to be close. Hopefully, we will, He feels very confident about it. The doctors have expressed it as something they feel will heal very, very well. Obviously, we’ve got to get about the business of healing right away.If it takes the full three months, you’re going to be sitting right up next to that opening game. We certainly hope that Hakeem is correct in saying that he heals fast.”
This report contains crucial information for fantasy owners, because if Nicks is able to return for the season-opener at close to a 100 percent, then the injury may have not as big an impact as originally expected.
Nicks, who hauled in 76 passes for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns last season, has the potential to be a WR1 and now could become a draft day steal for shrewd drafters. Most fantasy owners are weary of spending high picks on players coming off injury, thus intelligent owners could target Nicks a few rounds later than expected and get tremendous value when he returns to full health.
In the latest edition of the PPR Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings, Nicks ranked 14th and while he may drop a few slots, he is going to be well worth selecting somewhere in the vicinity of rounds 5-6, even after the injury.
Normally, it is wise to be cautious when it comes to injuries and if fantasy owners do draft Nicks, it would be a good idea to spend a late-round pick on a guy like Domenik Hixon or Rueben Randle, a rookie receiver out of LSU, who the Giants selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, who could act as a handcuff just in case Nicks recovery does not go as expected.
Randle, who was viewed as a potential first-round pick by many prognosticators, will be expected to contribute right away and will have every opportunity to prove himself in training camp.
According to the National Football Post, “One national scout said Randle possesses the best hands of any receiver in the draft.” The same report also from May 12 also had this tidbit from Coughlin on Randle after a minicamp session, “I was very impressed by Randle out on the field this morning.”
Last season, Randle caught 53 passes for 917 yards (17.8 YPC) and eight touchdowns, while playing in the rough and tumble SEC. Randle would be a better handcuff option at this point for owners wanting protection in the case of drafting Nicks, than Hixon, who is also coming off an ACL tear.
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