Start or Sit Sterling Shepard?
Through three weeks, fantasy football wide receivers are certainly going as we all expected. JuJu Smith-Schuster leads the Steelers in receiving yards. Michael Thomas has caught 38-of-40 passes, A.J. Green & Calvin Ridley already have more touchdowns than Julio Jones had all last season. Will Fuller is the WR3, Tyler Boyd is the WR16, and Amari Cooper & Corey Davis are WR59 & WR60. Just like we all thought would happen. So far, wide receiver has had a ton of turnover, with breakthroughs coming through, and big-name wide receivers slipping. With all the tumult happening in the wide receiver ranks, it’s likely you have to make a decision you never thought you would make; these decisions suddenly carry a ton of agitation. Here at Football Absurdity, we want to help you work through your difficult start/sit decisions in any given week. This week we tackle the age-old question: start or sit Sterling Shepard as the New Orleans Saints take on the New York Giants?
Sterling Shepard showed what he is still capable of in the Giants offense if given an opportunity. He turned seven targets into six catches for eighty yards and a score. Last year he had a chance to break out when Odell Beckham, Jr. missed the vast majority of the season with a leg injury. Without Beckham around down the stretch last year, Sterling Shepard had 6.2 receptions and 78 yards a game with a score every other game. “But Jeff,” you’re thinking. “OBJ is playing!” That’s correct. However, Evan Engram won’t play this weekend. When Shepard can play merely second-fiddle, he’s developed into a player who can take advantage of the situation.
And the situation, my friends, that is a revolution. This week Shepard takes on literally the best possible matchup as the Giants and Saints square off. The worst defense at stopping opposing wide receivers is doubly bad at stopping the secondary wideouts so far this season. In week one, DeSean Jackson burned them for 146 yards and two touchdowns while they fretted over Mike Evans. Week two saw Antonio Callaway pop off for 81 and a score while the Saints focused on Jarvis Landry. Last week, the defense focused on Julio Jones to the tune of Calvin Ridley scoring three touchdowns.
Sterling Shepard is once again Eli Manning’s secondary option in the Giants passing game, a role that has historically led to productive outcomes for his fantasy football owners. He takes on the most beneficial matchup he can get this week against a suddenly-terrible Saints secondary. If you are wondering if you should start or sit Sterling Shepard this week and decide against starting him, just move on. You’ll never start him if you don’t start him this week.