Sterling Shepard Fantasy Outlook Positive for Week 3 Following Return From Concussion Protocol

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys / Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Sterling Shepard was expected to get an early jump on the 2019 fantasy season, with fellow New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate suspended for the first four games of the year. Unfortunately for Shepard's fantasy owners, the receiver suffered a concussion in Week 1, which forced him to sit out the Giants' Week 2 matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

Shepard has since passed concussion protocol and been removed from the injury report ahead of New York's Week 3 tilt with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His return will coincide with the first career start for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.

The veteran WR figures to be a top-two option in the Giants' passing game this week along with tight end Evan Engram, who dropped a monster 11-116-1 line in Week 1 before cooling down in Week 2. So far in his career, Shepard has worked as a serviceable yet underwhelming slot receiver, but there are lots of reasons for optimism in 2019. For starters, he no longer has to compete with Odell Beckham Jr. for targets, and Shepard did top out at 107 targets last season.

In addition to a potential bump in usage, Shepard has also exhibited improved efficiency over his three-year career, with his yards per reception mark increasing every season, from 10.5 in his rookie season to an impressive 13.2 last year.

If Shepard can show some chemistry with Danny Dimes, he has WR2 upside in PPR leagues, even with Tate's inevitable return. He makes for a buy-low candidate in fantasy, although that window can close quickly if he puts up a big game against the Bucs in Week 3.

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