By Corey Snyder (@csnyder128)
Sometimes dynasty trades can feel like buying a used car. Sure, it’s last year’s model and the air bag has been recalled but you’re not planning on crashing it and you can get a deal. In a series of articles I am going to look at a few of last year’s ‘models’ that have found themselves at the back of the lot for whatever reason but could see a jumpstart in value.
Sterling Shepard, a top pick in the deceptively shallow 2016 rookie draft class, has seen his ADP (courtsey of DLF) drop to 99 in July. That is a sixty point drop from his ADP at the end of the season. Shepard finished his rookie season as the WR36 in PPR scoring pulling in 62 passes behind Odell Beckham Jr. I understand that WR36 is not sexy and Shepard’s ceiling may be as a WR2, but that makes him far from useless, especially in dynasty formats. Shepard’s ADP has fallen to the point that he is three spots below JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster is a wide receiver stuck behind Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant for the next two seasons. It is evident what cause Shepard’s precipitous drop was the signing of Brandon Marshall in March to a two-year deal. The team then went on to draft Evan Engram, the tight end out of Mississippi, in the first round. Neither of these additions are particularly encouraging for Shepard this year but Marshall will be 33 years old and is coming off an injury plagued year. To see Marshall as a long term threat to Shepard’s value would be short-sighted.
It is fair to say that the team will fit Engram in somewhere during his rookie year. He has been talked about as a much better pass catcher than a blocker so I expect we see more two TE sets from this team. It is also worth noting that the Giants ran 92% of their plays out of a three wide receiver set. The next closest team, the 49ers were at 76%. Even if the Giants run two TE sets at the NFL average of 19% they could still use the three WR set 78% of the time. I understand this could all just be conjecture, and they may change the play calling entirely for this year. But I cannot see the team pulling that far away from what they built their play book around last year. The Giants have passed an average of 605 times over the past three seasons and give us no reason to think that will change this year. With 600 passes to spread around it is easy to see Shepard and Marshall both fall into the 100-120 target range, with OBJ still seeing 165+. This leaves more than enough targets to keep Engram busy for his rookie year.
Shepard’s ADP represents a solid buy window right now. I do not see his floor as being much lower than the WR3 he was last year, and if something happens to Marshall, we could easily see Shepard’s ADP jump back up to the 30’s. Testing the market before an injury to Marshall or the aging wide receiver just shows he is not the player he was two years ago is key. That value is what makes Shepard a buy right now. So go out and kick some tires to see what a second round pick or JuJu can get you.
(Formation stats from sharpfootballstats)