Evan Engram, Cody Latimer, More Fantasy Outlook After Sterling Shepard Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2019

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) warms up before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The New York Giants passing game is poised for a shake-up with the news that top target Sterling Shepard won't play in Week 2 because of a concussion.

The Giants announced Shepard will miss Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Let's check out the potential fantasy football impact for the rest of the receiving corps at the disposal of quarterback Eli Manning in the absence of the team's No. 1 wide receiver.

                      

Cody Latimer

Latimer has been frequently labeled as a breakout candidate since the Denver Broncos selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. It hasn't come to fruition.

The 26-year-old Ohio native signed with the Giants in 2018 but failed to make a significant impact in his first year with the franchise. He recorded just 11 receptions for 190 yards and one touchdown while being limited to six games by a hamstring injury.

Shepard's absence could present an opportunity for his long-awaited breakthrough, though. His number of targets should increase, especially on deep throws, which should make him a boom-or-bust option with the potential for some high-scoring weeks.

In Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, Latimer had 74 yards and three receptions on eight targets.

That's enough to make him a waiver-wire priority in Yahoo leagues, where he's only owned by 1 percent of teams. However, he's nothing more than a fringe roster asset when both Shepard and Golden Tate (suspended for the first four games) are on the field.

Keep an eye on his status leading up to Sunday's game because he's listed on the injury report as questionable with a calf injury. 

                     

Evan Engram

Engram looked like an emerging superstar at tight end, a notoriously weak fantasy position, when he tallied 64 catches for 722 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie in 2017.

The Ole Miss product took a step back in Year 2, however, as he dealt with a myriad of injuries that limited him to 11 appearances. The injury concerns carried into the summer as he dealt with a hamstring issue that kept him sidelined for most of the offseason program.

Now the Giants' main aerial threat is dealing with an injury, and given the lack of other accomplished receivers, Engram should be in line for a heavy workload and perhaps elite production. He looked like Manning's favorite target against the Cowboys with 11 receptions, 116 yards and one touchdown.

Don't be surprised if he challenges for No. 1 scorer status among tight ends while Shepard is hurt.

                  

Other Options

Finding another viable receiver on the Giants could be difficult since Garrett Dickerson and Darius Slayton didn't participate in Wednesday's practice with injuries.

Bennie Fowler is a deep sleeper after catching all five of his targets for 40 yards last week. Given Latimer's status with his injury, Fowler could see increased playing time in Week 2.

If nothing else, Fowler's volume of targets seems likely to go up. If you play in a PPR league, using him as a flex option could reap some reward Sunday.

                 

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