Over the years, the New York Giants have established themselves as one of the highest scoring passing offenses in the fantasy landscape. Led by Eli Manning, the Giants have produced productive receivers (not named ODB) year in and year out. Heck, even Rueben Randle hauled in 2,346 receiving yards and 17 TDs over the past three seasons. That just leaves you wondering the possitibilites for 2nd round pick Sterling Shepard.
Coming out of Oklahoma, Shepard was one of the most productive and well-rounded receivers in this year’s draft class which led to Giants brass snagging him in the 2nd round. Of course we waste no time in projecting how he’ll perform in the fantasy scene.
First off, I had Shepard as a top 5 WR in the draft – I’ve always been quite high on him. With that being said, I believe he’ll be an extremely productive fantasy WR, and quick. I don’t expect there to be much of a learning curve with Shepard as he has a high football IQ, great work ethic and he finds himself in a great situation in New York under Ben McAdoo and Mike Sullivan.
With the departure of Rueben Randle to Philadelphia, the Giants will get the return of Victor Cruz who sat out the entire 2015 season. With ODB and Cruz on the outside, Shepard will make his living in the slot in an offense that will be pass heavy. In due time, I see Shepard developing into one of the game’s best slot receivers and making a quick impact this season.
Last season Eli Manning attempted nearly 40 passes per game in a career year, under McAdoo you can expect to see that number slightly increase this season which bodes well for Shepard. Considering the uncertainty of Cruz’s health, Shepard very well could emerge as the #2 option for Manning as the season goes on.
Between his actual ability and the offense he’s plugged into, I really like Shepard in fantasy this season and would even rank him over guys like Doctson, Treadwell and Fuller. My standard projection is around 55 catches, 700+ receiving yards and 4-5 TDs, however, he has more upside than that and can finish as the top rookie WR this season – especially if Cruz happens to miss sometime due to injury. Will be a hot commodity in dynasty leagues.