Darius Slayton or Sterling Shepard: Will the Giants WRs play and should you start them in Week 7?

    What should fantasy managers do with Giants WRs Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton in Week 7 as they try to play through hamstring strains?

    The New York Giants wide receiver corps has been ravaged by injury, the likes of which I cannot ever remember seeing. We already know Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are out. However, fantasy football managers may have Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard available this Sunday. What is the injury outlook for Slayton and Shepard, and can fantasy managers start them if they play?

    What are Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton’s injury statuses?

    Shepard and Slayton have been dealing with hamstring strains for several weeks now. Shepard returned in Week 6 and played the entire game with no issues. Unfortunately, he aggravated the hamstring injury at Thursday’s practice. According to a report by Adam Schefter early Sunday morning, Shepard will undergo a test on his hamstring ahead of Sunday’s game with the Panthers.

    Slayton, meanwhile, was limited at practice leading up to Week 6 and ultimately did not play. He went through the same routine this week. Both players are listed as questionable, but head coach Joe Judge expressed far more optimism regarding Slayton. My guess — and this is purely a guess — is that Slayton plays, but Shepard does not.

    Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton’s fantasy value

    The Carolina Panthers allow the 11th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, but we’d be chasing volume here. However, given the extensive injuries the Giants are dealing with, both Shepard and Slayton would have fantasy value if they can go.

    Should fantasy managers start Shepard or Slayton?

    With Golladay, Slayton, and Toney out last week, Daniel Jones targeted Shepard a whopping 14 times. Excluding Week 3 where Shepard first hurt his hamstring and left early, his target numbers are 9, 10, and 14. If Shepard is active, he’s a must-start as a true target hog, regardless of Slayton’s status.

    On a normal week, I might caveat Slayton’s startable status as being tied to Shepard. However, this is not a normal week. If Slayton plays and Shepard does not, Slayton is an excellent bye week filler as your WR3 or flex. He should soak up a lot of the targets vacated by New York’s missing starters.

    Even if Shepard does play, I still like Slayton this week. As heavily as Shepard was targeted last week, he can’t get every look. I can’t imagine the Giants want to throw another 11 passes to Dante Pettis. That WR2 role would go to Slayton. For what it’s worth, Jones targeted Slayton 13 times over the first two weeks of the season.

    Slayton was a near every-down player for most of his rookie season and his entire sophomore campaign. The Giants know they can trust him. While he’s not the talent that Golladay and Toney are, he’s good enough to get the job done. That’s all fantasy managers need in this crazy, wild Week 7.

    Final thoughts and predictions on Shepard and Slayton

    Both Shepard and Slayton are startable. I like Shepard more if one or both of them play, but both are worthy of being in fantasy lineups regardless. We’ll have to wait for inactives to be officially announced on Sunday morning, but I predict Slayton plays and Shepard does not.

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