Looking to Week 2: One for the Money, Two for the Show, and Three to Let Go
The Money: Hakeem Nicks
Wow. Just wow. Those of you who read my blog know that I listed Nicks among my top 20 WR for the 2010 fantasy season, stating that he had the potential to become a legit deep ball threat for Coughlin & Co. Naturally, then, when he caught his first TD I wasn’t too surprised. When he hauled in a third, however, I was admittedly floored. The 22 year old receiver finished the first game of his sophomore season with four receptions for 75 yards and, of course, those aforementioned 3 TDs. That’s half as many scores in his first week than the whole of his 2009 season! At this rate, Nicks should matriculate to a WR2 option in no time at all… well maybe a little bit of time.
Next week, the Giants travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in the highly advertised sequel to Manning Bowl (aptly named Manning Bowl II). While the Colts ultimately fell to the Texans last Sunday, their defense managed to hold Schaub to 9 completions for 107 yards and only 1 TD. They additionally silenced fantasy superstar Andre Johnson who had a 3 catches for a paltry 33 yards. Given the Giants’ history of road losses, in tandem with a fired up Colts team, I don’t think Nicks will repeat his week 1 performance. However, in weeks 3 and 4 Big Blue will head back to the Meadowlands to take on the Titans and the Bears, which should prove to be beneficial for Nicks owners.
Bottom line: At 6′ and 215lbs, he’s heads and shoulders above the other NYG receivers, making him an easy red zone target for Manning. Additionally with Kevin Boss out of the lineup, expect the number of looks Nicks sees – and fantasy points he earns – to go up… way up.
The Show: Legedu Naanee
A member of the Chargers organization since the 2007 season, Naanee saw his second career start in Monday night’s stunning loss to Kansas City. The Boise State alum was targeted 8 times by Rivers, catching 5 passes for 110 yards and one 59 yard TD. Granted his only score came from blown coverage by the Chiefs’ secondary, but he was still able to escape defenders and prove to Coach Turner that he’s a worthy WR2.
At 6’2″ and 220lbs., Naanee has the build of a receiver. In high school and college, however, he played QB. In fact, the Oregon native was so intent on playing out of the pocket that he turned down a scholarship from the Ducks because they wouldn’t let him start at QB. I only make note of this because it speaks to Naanee’s versatility. With Vincent Jackson off pouting and trying to broker a deal with the Vikings, Naanee has the opportunity to really earn Rivers’ trust and make his mark on a consistently solid offense. His ability to read the defense as both a receiver and a quarterback as well as his knowledge of Turner’s play calling gives him an advantage over the competition – namely Patrick Crayton (who had zero catches in Monday night’s game). My only hesitancy, of course, is that it’s only week 1.
Bottom line: Next week the Chargers take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. Given the Jags less than stellar pass defense, I’d make Naanee an immediate flex play or WR3 option. Keep an eye on this one. If Gates continues to get stuck in double coverage and Rivers’ confidence in the 26 year old receiver grows, there’s no reason to believe his WR2 upside won’t be realized.
To Let Go: Anthony Gonzalez
After Marvin Harrison ended his 13 year career with the Colts in 2009, Gonzalez moved up the Indy depth chart and subsequently many fantasy rankings as well. Unfortunately, the former 1st round pick blew out his knee in the week 1 opener against Jacksonville. He hasn’t really been the same since.
There was some fantasy chatter about him bouncing back and overtaking either/both Garcon and Collie. In an epic display of dejavu, however, Gonzalez left Sunday’s game against the Texans with a high ankle sprain. There’s no word on how long he’ll be out, but high ankle sprains usually take at least a few weeks to heal. Considering this guy seems to be made of glass, I doubt Coach Caldwell will utilize him in any real way even after he’s back. While I certainly feel for the guy and understand his frustration, his talents are better served on the waiver wire than any fantasy team.
Bottom line: Gonzalez is out and probably will be for a good portion of the season. While that sucks for him, it bodes well for Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon’s production. Chances are Garcon is already owned in your fantasy league, but Collie may be available. If you’re looking for a flex/WR3 with decent upside then make a play for him stat.