Sterling Shepard’s sixth NFL season started stupendously last September. He racked up 16 catches on 19 targets for 207 yards and a touchdown through the first two weeks.
Then the injuries came.
Shepard picked up turf toe in Week 2. A hamstring strain the following week cost him two games. He returned in Week 6 before another hamstring injury held him out for Week 7. Back in Week 8, and then a quad strain sidelined him for more than a month. Shepard made it through Week 14 before blowing out his Achilles late in a Week 15 loss, going down untouched as he came out of his pre-snap stance.
He finished the season with 366 yards on 36 catches and that one TD.
New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen said on May 4 that he expects Shepard will be ready for training camp.
Asked for injury updates during the interview, Schoen said he expects the majority of players, including Sterling Shepard and Blake Martinez, to be ready for camp. He mentioned Nick Gates and Matt Peart as possible exceptions to that.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) May 4, 2022
2022 Fantasy football outlook
Given the nature of Achilles injuries, it’s fair to wonder if that timetable is too aggressive. Achilles tears can sap a player’s quickness, something Shepard heavily relies upon as he runs mostly short and intermediate routes. He hasn’t been a top-50 fantasy WR since 2018, and his stock was already fairly dim with the Giants’ problems at quarterback (one more year of Daniel Jones, y’all!). The team may have picked his replacement in the second round of the 2022 Draft in the form of diminutive slot receiver Wan’Dale Robinson. Even if Shepard is physically cleared prior to the regular season, he is a late-round option, at best, in fantasy drafts.