Sterling Shepard Start/Sit Week 2: Building on Week 1’s performance

Sterling Shepard finished Week 1 as the WR8 in fantasy football. Can you trust him this week in your lineup against Washington?

Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s touchdown reception was a thing of beauty as he broke multiple tackles on the way to the end zone. He finished Week 1 as the fantasy WR8 in PPR formats. Should you start Shepard or sit him in fantasy football this Thursday night against the Washington Football Team?

A deep dive into Shepard’s performance

Shepard caught 7 of 9 targets for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. He led the Giants in targets, and quarterback Daniel Jones had a passer rating of 156 when targeting him. Darius Slayton (7) and Kenny Golladay (6) were the team’s second and third-most targeted players.

Shepard, who played 66% of his snaps in the slot, impressively managed 6 first downs on his 7 receptions. Additionally, this was his third consecutive game — dating back to the 2020 season — with 22+ PPR fantasy points.

The Giants still have an abundance of offensive weapons

Shepard’s performance was surprising to fantasy managers considering the Giants’ receiving corps. New York was aggressive in providing Jones additional weapons. Golladay signed a four-year, $72 million contract with $40 million guaranteed to join the Giants this past offseason. He was expected to open the season as New York’s undisputed No. 1 receiver. However, Golladay has been limited with a hamstring injury, and his cornerback matchup against the Broncos was suboptimal.

In free agency, the Giants also added speedy receiver John Ross and tight end Kyle Rudolph. But New York didn’t stop there. The Giants selected Swiss Army knife Kadarius Toney with the No. 20 pick out of Florida. Yet, at the end of the day, Jones leaned heavily on old staples Shepard and Slayton. Is this sustainable?

The Giants had a sluggish start to the season

New York’s offense, unfortunately, was unable to sustain drives against the Broncos. Golladay and running back Saquon Barkley were limited due to their respective injuries. Tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a calf injury. He’s unlikely to return on Thursday night. Rudolph caught 2 of 5 targets for 8 yards against the Broncos, running 27 pass routes.

Barkley continues to be limited in practice. Many reports suggest his workload will be managed until Week 3 due to the quick turnaround. How will all of these factors affect his fantasy outlook?

Should you start or sit Shepard?

Shepard is a WR3 against the Washington Football Team on Thursday night. He’s still in a position to see a high number of targets. The Football Team allowed the fourth-most PPR fantasy points (57.8) to wide receivers last week.

Dan Duggan, Giants beat reporter for The Athletic, tweeted that head coach Joe Judge emphasized how Washington doesn’t allow explosive plays. This bodes well for slot weapon Shepard against the Football Team’s zone-heavy defense.

Eric Moody is a Senior Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). He is also the co-host of the In The Mood for Fantasy Football podcast. You can read more of his work here and follow Eric on Twitter @EricNMoody.

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