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Sterling Shepard’s Early Contract Extension + OBJ Traded/Gone = What for Fantasy? *I surprised myself here…

April 25, 2019 5:57 PM
April 18, 2019 10:39 AM
April 18, 2019 10:42 AM
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Sterling Shepard’s Early Contract Extension + OBJ Traded/Gone = What for Fantasy? *I surprised myself here…

Sterling Shepard signed a 4-year/$41M extension, early, with $21M guaranteed just a few weeks ago.

Golden Tate was signed by NYG in the offseason for 4-years/$38M with $23M guaranteed.

All offseason, I’ve felt really good about Sterling Shepard as a nice undervalued sleeper WR2 for 2019+. He’s a talented receiver. He just got extended early. Odell Beckham is gone. The door is wide open.

I didn’t really care about Golden Tate’s presence all that much because Shepard has been with Eli for three+ years now – Shepard should have the inside track.

I felt really good about this Shepard thing since the OBJ trade but then I asked myself yesterday…why? Can I prove my case? How would I prove it?

When I went to debate myself on it…I lost…the part of me that was ‘feeling’ good about Shepard ‘lost’. Because I lost the debate against myself, I’m taking down Shepard’s projections ahead for Dynasty and Best Ball/2019.

The three points to consider, and the first two I thought I was going to win (the pro-Sterling side of me) but I didn’t…which made point #3 even harsher…

1) I got excited when OBJ was moved, but then even more pumped when NYG gave him that nice new deal. I thought that deal was be way better than whatever they gave Golden Tate. Then I looked it up to see how much better…only to realize the 30-year old Tate signed a slightly better deal (guaranteed money is all that matters, really). *See their contract details above/at the start of this.  

I didn’t remember the Tate deal as well as I thought. I would have guessed 2-3 years for about $10-15M guaranteed. I forgot teams get silly for veteran wide receivers. Tate has the better deal…I felt like a fool. I thought I had this point for Shepard’s favor…no, sir.

2) I remember Shepard being so good in 2017 when Beckham missed 12 games. I thought Shepard’s 2017 production without OBJ playing, and again for 4 games in 2018 when OBJ missed the end of the season – that those time frames would spit out some sweet ’per game’ numbers and nice fantasy scoring trends.

Shepard did have a two 11 catch games in 2017, but also many ‘meh’ performances. In 2018, it was mostly ‘meh’. The past two seasons, Shepard has played 11 games with OBJ out. His per game numbers…

7.9 FF PPG/13.2 PPR on 5.3 catches (8.6 targets) with 67.8 yards and 0.19 TDs.

Good catch counts, decent yards, no TDs to really speak of…his PPR PPG would be like high-end WR3 numbers, and his non-PPR is like WR4.

I thought Shepard was more high-end WR2 for production without OBJ…I was wrong, again.

*I lost the debate on these first two points*

3) Eli Manning sucks.

Shepard’s numbers were decent in 2017…a lot of garbage targets/catches in losses with Ben McAdoo. In 2018, late season bad Eli under Pat Shurmur…it was mediocre Sterling output with dink and dunk Sam Bradford-esque Eli.

It’s not going to get better in 2019.

If Shepard couldn’t pop on 2017 or 2018 with fading Eli (and no OBJ), why would I think he will explode with an even worse Eli in 2019? Not to mention a Golden Tate issue and whatever Evan Engram get in the offense.

I was ‘feeling’ good about Shepard for the past month+, but when challenged on those feelings – I realized I was an idiot and needed to walk it all back some.

You might ask – could this same logic apply to Evan Engram? I say…”Why do you want to make me feel worse?” Two things for Engram…

1) When OBJ went out last season -- Engram was a TE1 with Eli late 2018…way better producer than Shepard in that time.

Engram posted 5.5 catches, 80.0 yards, and 0.25 TDs per game the final four games of 2018 with OBJ out.

Shepard = 3.5 catches, 58.5 yards, 0.25 TDs per game.

2) I don’t know that Shepard can be a #1 WR/’the guy’…he might wilt under the top coverage some, or he might not be a #1 WR in this situation because of Tate. However, Engram is the best target Eli has – the best mismatch at all times, and you could see he knew that late last year.

Still, Eli sucks and is dying fast…so we should be skeptics of everything Eli-based.

When I say ‘Eli sucks’, I’m not being cute – it’s over, mostly. He’s just a dink and dunk guy trying not to get sacked/hurt. He lost whatever ‘it’ he had last year.

But what if NYG drafts a 1st-round QB this year?

Unlikely, but possible…but if they don’t get Kyler Murray, then who cares? What? Daniel Jones is coming in as a rookie and igniting Sterling Shepard? Daniel Jones sucks worse than present day Eli.

Eli will play this whole season, unless it gets way out of hand (or unless they get Kyler Murray), and then we’ll see what NYG does if Eli and the win-loss record is dying around Week 7-12. I don’t think they’ll take a QB 1st-round anyway. 2nd-round+, yes…and thus not as much pressure to push them into the lineup in 2019. We’ll deal with the ramifications of that QB depending upon who they pick.