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Should Hakeem Nicks Be in Your Starting Lineup Today?

New York Giants receivers Hakeem Nicks is a triple threat for fantasy owners in his Week 10 game against the San Francisco 49ers. And not in a good way.

First, he is questionable with a hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s game against New England and limited him in practice this week. Second, he is listed as a game-time decision, something we love to hear when prepping our lineups. Third, and worst of all, outside of a Sunday or Monday night game, the Giants play a late afternoon game today.

All signs are pointing to Nicks playing today, and the Giants will certainly need him.

Fellow receiver, Mario Manningham (knee), joined the injury report again. Manningham, who missed Week 3 with a concussion, practiced all week but was listed on Saturday’s injury report. The Giants will already be without RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) against the NFL’s top-ranked defense vs. the run (70.8 YPG and no touchdowns).

The 49ers are ranked 22nd against the pass (255.1 YPG with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions). However, the 49ers have been the fourth-best team against fantasy receivers the last five weeks and 20th-best all season.

Needless to say, New York must lean on its passing game to have any success in the Bay.

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The Giants bring the NFL’s sixth-ranked passing offense (282.9 YPG) to San Francisco as quarterback Eli Manning has thrown 15 touchdowns to six interceptions and has a 62.9-percent completion rate

Nicks has certainly seen his production cut into by Manningham, Victor Cruz and tight end Jake Ballard this season. Nicks has been targeted 62 times, catching 38 for 575 yards (15.1 YPC) and three scores. Manningham has 52 targets and two scores having missed a game and Cruz has 53 targets and four scores. Ballard has 40 targets and three scores.

Nicks is the 19th-ranked fantasy receiver in Athlon’s half-PPR format, but Cruz is 16th. Manningham is 54th. Ballard is the 11th-best TE in fantasy. Moral of the story: Manning is spreading it around so much that the Giants receivers have become New Orleans-like in that you don’t know who to count on when.

Would I start Nicks against San Francisco? If I had better options, no.

There are the aforementioned factors going against him this week, and the late-afternoon start makes it really dicey. Anything could happen with the game-time decision tag and that is a scary proposition if you are counting on Nicks. Of course, if you hear that Manningham is out and Nicks is in, then don’t be too clever. Get Nicks in the lineup.

Hopefully, you drafted well or have made the correct moves on your waiver wire to establish depth for these situations. If you have not, then throw fantasy’s 19th-best receiver and still the team’s No. 1 target in there under the theory of playing your best players.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter