Hakeem Nicks had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons with at least 76 receptions with the New York Giants in 2010 and 2011, but since then he has been a disappointment with less than 60 catches and 900 yards and just three combined touchdowns over the last two seasons (zero in 2013). He’ll get a change of scenery after signing with the Indianapolis Colts as a a free agent, and he may be able to get back into the good graces of fantasy football owners this year.
Nicks is likely to have a prominent role in Indianapolis, with Reggie Wayne working his way back from a torn ACL and T.Y. Hilton the only other proven wide receiver on the team. Even after leaving a two-time Super Bowl MVP behind in New York, Andrew Luck is an upgrade at quarterback.
Despite a second straight disappointing season in 2013, Nicks’ 16.0 yards per catch average was a fairly significant improvement over 2012 (13.1).
Nicks has never played all 16 games in his career, and there were consistent questions about his effort level last year as he prepared to enter free agency. Multiple leg injuries seem to have sapped him of down field speed and explosiveness, and it’s possible we’ve already seen the best Nicks has to offer.
Nicks was targeted 27 times in the red zone over the last two seasons, but only one of his three touchdowns in that span came in that area of the field. Some of that ineptitude can be put on Eli Manning, but Nicks deserves some blame too.
Nicks can’t be drafted as a weekly fantasy starter this year, but he is worth a look as a WR3 with some upside as he should be motivated to re-establish himself and he is still just 26 years old. Owners in touchdown-heavy and PPR leagues can bump him down a few spots in their preseason rankings, and I won’t anoint him as a sleeper, but if he can stay healthy Nicks is likely to return solid value based on where he’ll be drafted.
Bye Week: Week 10
Projected Round: Ninth Round
Auction Value: $2 (ESPN.com)