[UPDATE: Scratch everything below. Shepard was a late add to the injury report with migraines and was made inactive Sunday. Try one of these guys, instead?]
The New York Giants spent last week allowing the San Francisco 49ers to march up and down the field in order to post their first victory this season. The defense completely gave up, but there were a couple of offensive players who still had some fire inside of them. One was second-year wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who posted 142 yards while catching 11-of-13 targets. He’s had an up-and-down season, getting over 55 yards just once before going out for three weeks, returning after their week eight Bye. It’s what he’s been since then that is exceptionally wonderful, but does it make him a good fantasy football start in week eleven against the Kansas City Chiefs?
Sterling Shepard has become Eli Manning’s workhorse since coming back from his injury. His play has warranted an uptick in targets, but the losses of Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. certainly don’t hurt. He’s averaged eleven targets per game since returning from injury, and ignoring the fact that is a miniscule two-game sample size, he’s #5 in that span in targets, behind Marqise Lee, Larry Fitzgerald, Adam Thielen and DeAndre Hopkins. What’s more, he’s been exceptionally productive with his targets. Among players with double-digit targets over the last couple of games, his 9.64 yards per target is second to just Adam Thielen. What’s this all mean? He’s getting more targets than most players, and he’s being more productive with those targets than nearly anyone else.
That elevated target volume and increased per-target production match up with the best-possible matchup this week for wide receivers as the Giants host the Chiefs this week at MetLife Stadium. The Chiefs are an absolute mess on pass defense, likely due to the loss of Eric Berry in week one. They’ve allowed 100 yards or a touchdown to thirteen different WRs this season in nine games. Four of those wide receivers scored multiple touchdowns against them, and they gave up 70 yards, 141 yards, and two touchdowns to three different Cowboys receivers last week.
Sterling Shepard is not only extremely talented, but he’s also the only wide receiver in New York. He’s gotten a ton of targets and done a lot of great things with them. His degree of difficulty on his catches against San Francisco show that he’s fully recovered, and he should be able to take full advantage of his matchup. A double-digit PPR day is his absolute floor, and 100 yards and two touchdowns aren’t out of the question. Get him into your lineup everywhere. And I mean, everywhere this week. He’s only $6,500 on FanDuel, hint hint.