No Hakeem Nicks, no problem as Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz are primed for big day vs. Patriots
Hakeem Nicks is battling a hamstring injury that might keep him out of the New York Giants Sunday tilt at New England.
Even if Nicks was/is in the lineup, this is a start ’em if you’ve got ’em game at the receiver position for the Giants. That means if you were debating between Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, both of them need to be in your starting lineup this week when Big Blue takes on the worst (or best) defense a fantasy receiver and quarterback can face through eight weeks this season.
We take an in-depth look at the Giants chances at making a Super Bowl run this year.
The Giants were the class of the NFC East and a Super Bowl contender last season as late as the fourth quarter of their Week 15 game when they held a 31–10 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles. They were about to roll to their fourth straight win and were getting hot just in time for the playoffs.
NEW YORK GIANTS
• Inside the Locker Room
With Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News
Will Eli Manning's single-season production surpass Peyton's in 2011?
No, and I think we all need to get past this Eli-Peyton stuff. We’ve seen seven years of Eli now, and he’s not his brother. He never will be. He’s very good, but Peyton is an all-time great. Eli’s best statistical season (2009) was barely as good as Peyton’s worst non-rookie seasons. They run different offenses and are different players. If their numbers ever match in one season, it will be a fluke.
Can Hakeem Nicks repeat his 1,000-yard, 11-TD production of 2010?
If he stays healthy, absolutely. Nicks has as good a skill set as any receiver the Giants have ever had. He’s explosive, elusive, and has incredibly good hands. Last year he was a borderline Pro Bowler, yet he only played in 13 games. His numbers would’ve been off the charts if he had played all 16. Plus he’s only 23. He’s got plenty of years of learning and upside left.
Can the Giants be the best fantasy defense in the league?
That depends on your fantasy rules. They do not have a great defense, and there are major questions at linebacker and maybe a few on the interior of the defensive line. But they are aggressive. Their turnover total was propped up by an unusually high number of fumble recoveries last year (23), but they like to go for the ball, they have a dynamic pass rush and a ball-hawking secondary. When that happens, there’s always the potential for scoring. They’re probably a top-10 defense overall, but add in the potential for points and they may deserve special consideration in fantasy.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: @DAL, WAS, @NYJ
Opening round and semifinal wins with Giants seem doable according to last year's numbers — the Cowboys (28th) and Redskins (26th) were bottom seven in fantasy points allowed across the board. Then there are the Jets. But here’s a silver lining for a Giants team loaded with receivers: The Jets were 19th against WRs last season (26.7 ppg) and 18th against QBs (17.6 ppg).
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Mario Manningham, WR Deep-Sleeper: Victor Cruz, WR Overvalued: Osi Umenyiora, DL Top Rookie: Jerrel Jernigan, WR Bounce-Back: Lawrence Tynes, K Top IDP: Justin Tuck, DL
• Try to Avoid
Osi Umenyiora, DL He reports after camp has started, then goes straight to surgery on his knee and with two weeks left until the season starts we hear he "may" be available for Week 1. Then it's reported he could miss the first three weeks. The problem here is that in IDP leagues, elite DLs are hard to find. So this is a tough call on Osi. You could still draft him where you normally would, figure out how to support yourself the first three weeks and then again in Week 7 (the Giants' bye) or you could avoid the situation altogether. We advise finding someone else with more upside than the multiple knee-surgeried Umenyiora. WAIT UNTIL: 20th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
With Steve Smith’s status uncertain for 2011 (and now off to the rival Eagles), the Giants acquired some insurance at receiver with Jerrel Jernigan. Expect the former Troy standout to make an immediate contribution on special teams and as a third or fourth receiver. Jernigan’s long-term value will hinge on how quickly Smith can recover from a serious knee injury. The Giants finished 2010 ranked as the No. 8 fantasy defense, and the additions of Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin will only add to the depth and talent on this unit. New York should be a top-five fantasy defense this season.
The Mannings insist there was nothing extraordinary about their upbringing, no special formula or secret methodology meted out inside the palatial 19th century Greek Revival home in New Orleans’ historic Garden District.
They prepared well, worked hard and basically lived their lives by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. “Nothing earth-shattering,” Peyton Manning says. “Pretty simple parental advice.”
The results, though, have set the standard by which all athletic families will be judged.