Update September 1: Shepard has been able to establish himself as New York’s best wideout by dominating his team’s defensive backs at practice, according to The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. He led the Giants in receptions last year despite only playing in 10 games. A healthy season could lead to a breakout campaign for Shepard.
In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.
The Giants are set at their starting positions as long as they can hold off injuries. But, who will rise above the fray to lead the team in targets? Last season was tough on the Giants receivers, as every one of them missed some time due to injuries.
Last season, the three receivers played fully at the same time in six games and Shepard led with 53 targets to Tate’s 41 and Slayton’s 34. When you look at this, it at least feels right. Slayton is a risk/reward deep threat. Tate is the slot man and Shepard is the No. 1 who can work multiple route trees.
There is room for Slayton to develop more and work at unseating Shepard, but all things being even, Shepard should remain the No. 1. And that is a good thing, as he’s shown ability when healthy and now in his third year and Daniel Jones’ second year, there’s a real chance Shepard breaks out in 2020.
All the Giants receivers have upside in fantasy, but Shepard is the safest of the group and is just reaching his prime in an offense that should pass the ball plenty, with him as the lead receiver.