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Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Sterling Shepard in Week 4?

Through three games this season, the rookie Sterling Shepard has been a revelation for the Giants, and a coup for his fantasy football owners. The wideout has notched ten fantasy points in every game this season and is quickly rising to the ranks of must-start fantasy assets. His 233 yards ranks seventeenth in the NFL this season, putting him in the same territory as Demaryius Thomas and Travis Benjamin this season. He’s performed amazingly well so far this season, but that’s likely to derail on Monday Night Football this week.

The Vikings are one of the worst defenses for wide receivers to go up against this season, and it isn’t like they took on slouches, either. While Marcus Mariota is questionable as a 2016 producer, there is no doubt of the talent held by Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. Both these quarterbacks were held in check through the air, combining for one passing touchdown and four picks while averaging fewer than 250 yards against the Vikings. That type of quarterback stifling is unproductive to wide receiver production, especially given the passing share going towards Sterling Shepard.

Shepard, despite his breakout, is a long way behind Odell Beckham when it comes to targets (30 to 19). This makes him the #2 receiver on the Vikings, and it’s been the #2 receiver that has been completely shut down by them this season. Through three games, the #2 receiver on a team (Andre Johnson, Randall Cobb, and Ted Ginn) has averaged just under 45 yards per game, and they are yet to score. This is not a good prospect for Shepard, despite his share of Eli’s target volume.

It’s just very likely that Eli Manning’s target volume won’t go as the Giants hope Sunday. In his seven career games against the Vikings, he has fourteen interceptions and only five touchdowns. The next time he throws for multiple touchdowns against the Vikings will be the first time, and he hasn’t topped 275 yards passing since George W. Bush was president. And it isn’t like Eli is getting better, he’s averaged 207 yards passing their last three contests and has a 3:5 TD: INT ratio. For whatever reason, he’s not good against the Vikings. That does not bode well for his #2 receiver, especially since they play on the road.

Shepard has been great this season so far for those that drafted him, but he’s a sit this weekend. The Vikings have shut down the number two receiver in every game so far this season, and Eli has a terrible track record against the Vikings. These things conspire to make Shepard a firm sit on Monday Night Football.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com