Sterling Shepard's Fantasy Outlook with Odell Beckham Jr. Injured

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2018

New York Giants' Sterling Shepard runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Michael Perez/Associated Press

The New York Giants will have to make due without Odell Beckham Jr. against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

The Giants announced Saturday that OBJ will not play against the Redskins because of a bruised quadriceps.

As was the case a season ago when Beckham missed time with an ankle injury, the Giants will pivot to wide receiver Sterling Shepard as their No. 1 wideout in Beckham's absence. That's not great news for Big Blue, but it's a positive turn of events for fantasy owners who have been hoping for a breakout from the third-year pass-catcher. 

Last season, Beckham's year ended Oct. 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers

After that game, Shepard only made six appearances the remainder of the season in large part because of nagging injuries. 

But when he was active, the 25-year-old saw a major increase in target share. After logging more than five targets twice over his first five games, Shepard topped that number on five occasions with Beckham out. 

During that stretch, he exceeded 10 targets on two occasions and topped 135 yards in those outings. 

According to Rotoworld, Shepard averaged nine targets and 14.4 fantasy points per game in seven games without Beckham last season.

Touchdowns weren't there for Shepard last season with Beckham or without—he had two total—but it's safe to assume he could experience a bit of positive regression this time around, especially since he's already cooked up 52 receptions for 638 yards and three scores this year. 

Brad Evans of Yahoo Sports expects Shepard to get significantly more run Sunday:

Shepard hasn't topped four catches or 37 yards in any of his past five games, but much of that has to do with OBJ's massive target share.

Tight end Evan Engram is set to return to the lineup after missing the past two games, and while that could cut into Shepard's production, Engram has had more than five targets in a game just twice this season.

Meanwhile, Shepard has just two games with fewer than five targets this season despite his somewhat modest production.

For fantasy purposes, Shepard should enter WR2 or flex territory against Washington given the lack of other quality options in the passing game.

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