Fri Sep 20 4:21pm ET
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
New York Giants' Sterling Shepard (87) helps clear running room for running back Saquon Barkley (26) as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) defends in the second half of a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
In this Aug. 22, 2019, file photo, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Eli Manning's long and distinguished reign as the New York Giants' starting quarterback is seemingly over. Let the Daniel Jones era begin. Coach Pat Shurmur announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, that the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL draft is replacing two-time Super Bowl MVP as the Giants' quarterback, beginning Sunday at Tampa Bay.(AP Photo/Frank Victores, File)
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, left front, and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, right, greet each other after their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard said he knew he had a concussion in the season opener against Dallas but played to try to help the team win.
Speaking on Friday for the first time since sustaining the concussion on Sept. 8, Shepard said he didn't start feeling normal until this week.
Shepard played the entire game in the 35-17 loss to the Cowboys. The team seemingly didn't find out about the concussion until after the game in the locker room. Shepard was sidelined in the 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills at home last weekend.
The four-year receiver practiced this week and is expected to play Sunday when the Giants (0-2) face the Buccaneers (1-1) in Tampa, Florida.
The NFL is trying to determine why spotters tasked with looking for players hurt during games didn't see Shepard was injured in the third quarter. The spotters and medical personnel can have a player taken off the field if they suspect a possible concussion.
''They tried to send someone in there for me and I just kind of waved them off,'' Shepard said. ''Ultimately, it's my decision, I guess, to say to stay in.''
Shepard said it took him a few plays until he felt OK, but he realized he probably was dealing with a concussion.
When asked why he stayed in and why he would risk his health, Shepard seemed uncertain.
''It was an in-the-moment decision,'' he said. ''I felt like I wanted to stay in and help my boys out, so that's why I did it.''
Shepard said he passed all the concussion tests the day after the game, but he didn't start feeling good to Sunday or Monday.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Shepard's concussion was being investigated ''behind the scenes'' and he couldn't answer any questions.
Shepard became the Giants' go-to receiver with the offseason trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland.
Daniel Jones, the sixth overall draft pick, is making his first start since replacing Eli Manning. Veteran receiver Cody Latimer, who started the first two games, will miss Sunday's game with a concussion incurred last week.
''I am just trying to help him (Jones) any way I can,'' Shepard said. ''It's his first time out there in live game action. It's my first time out there with him. That's where the week of preparation comes into play. You have to be on the same page with him and try to game his nerves a bit.''
Shepard didn't have any reps with Jones in the preseason because he broke his thumb on the first day of practice in training camp.
The 26-year-old Shepard has played almost all his career with Manning as his quarterback. He felt Manning played well this season but the team didn't do enough to win.
''He has been a great teammate and is going to remain a great teammate,'' Shepard said. ''The guy handles everything like a pro and he is helping Daniel with the preparation. He will take his role serious and do everything to help Daniel.''
Shepard caught passes with Jones after practice Friday. He said the rookie throws the ball a little harder than Manning and offers the option to run with the ball.
Shepard had six receptions for 42 yards against Dallas.
''I didn't feel good last week, sitting there watching my boys go out and play,'' Shepard said. ''So I am excited to be back out there on the field with my boys.''
NOTES: Shurmur said Manning would back up Jones on Sunday. ... Receivers used to hold a meeting with Manning after practice on the Friday before the game. The receivers were in the locker after practice. Jones will probably decide if and when he wants to meet with the receivers.
The Washington Redskins Defense will head to Minnesota on Thursday night to take on a Vikings team that has averaged 36 points a game over the last three weeks. Minnesota's recent offensive success directly coincides with its newly established willingness to air the ball out from the arm of Kirk Cousins, who has averaged 325 yards per game and thrown 10 total touchdowns in this span. Adding fuel to the grease fire that is Washington's fantasy outlook for Week 8, the Vikings also have a running back by the name of Dalvin Cook who just so happens to lead the NFL in rushing yards per game at 103.6. Even with Adam Thielen in danger of missing this game for the Vikings, there is no conceivable reason to deploy the Redskins defense in fantasy lineups this week.
Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will presumably start for the fourth consecutive week on Thursday night against the Vikings, but that starting role has yet to yield any positive fantasy results. Vernon Davis has missed Washington's last three games, a time frame in which Sprinkle has caught a total of six passes for 54 yards. Even a visit to the endzone can't necessarily save him from a usage rate that low. The Vikings are allowing double-digit PPR production on average to tight ends, but the last thing you want to do is needlessly roll the dice on a risky Thursday night player and have it go up in flames. Whether Davis (who is currently listed as doubtful) unexpectedly suits up or not, there are safer and more proven options at tight end than Sprinkle for Week 8.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson has a relatively favorable matchup on his hands Thursday, but has done nothing this season to convince fantasy owners he can capitalize. The Vikings are allowing an average of 15 receptions and 159 yards per game to opposing receivers, along with 11 total touchdowns. Richardson hasn't caught a pass for two straight weeks, and Terry McLaurin is a productive target vacuum in Washington's offense, so the reliability scale tips in the latter's direction. As much as the Redskins would probably like to involve someone other than McLaurin and diversify their attack, Richardson simply cannot be trusted as a fantasy play in any format based on his output to this point in the season.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn has totaled seven catches for 56 yards in his last three games. His only double-digit PPR outing came all the way back in Week 1 when he happened to score a garbage-time touchdown. With a short week to prepare for Thursday night's game and a Redskins offense that hasn't looked any good for pretty much the entire season, Quinn's outlook remains grim even against a Vikings Defense that has been somewhat friendly to wide receivers. If he miraculously has a productive night against Minnesota after catching three or fewer passes in four consecutive weeks, it unfortunately needs to happen on the waiver wire.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin should be in line for a ton of targets in Thursday night's game at Minnesota, making him the only reasonably safe fantasy option among his teammates. The Vikings have allowed the most receptions to wide receivers of any team in the league, for 1,116 total yards and a league-high 11 touchdowns. McLaurin's well-established rapport with Case Keenum through the first half of the season suggests he should be the pass-catcher tasked with exploiting Minnesota's secondary. Game flow figures to work in his favor as well, as the Vikings could reasonably be expected to jump out to an early lead. McLaurin's volume keeps him in flex territory for WR-needy fantasy teams.
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum will look to bounce back from Sunday's 9-0 loss in which he threw for under 100 yards, but a date with Minnesota doesn't provide him with much more fantasy appeal. This should be interpreted more as a lack of faith in Washington's offense than a vote of confidence in the Vikings' relatively exploitable pass defense, but the point remains. The Redskins are averaging 12.9 points per game on offense, and they could be without both of Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson in the backfield. The hope here from a fantasy perspective is that Minnesota's suddenly explosive offense puts the Redskins up against a massive early deficit, thus forcing Keenum to air it out. Even if the Thursday night game unfolds as such, fantasy owners would be putting a ton of misguided faith in pass-catchers like Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn by starting Keenum in fantasy lineups. The reward does not outweigh the risk.
Washington Redskins running back Wendell Smallwood might be the starter by default in Thursday night's game at Minnesota. Adrian Peterson is questionable with a high ankle sprain, while Chris Thompson continues to nurse a toe injury that held him out of last week's contest. Considering the short week, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Redskins err on the side of caution regarding Peterson and Thompson. They don't have much to play for, and it wouldn't be worth risking further injury to either if one or both are not at 100% health. If Smallwood does have the backfield to himself, volume doesn't outweigh the unfavorable matchup. The Vikings are giving up 3.8 yards per carry to opposing backs, and have surrendered just one rushing touchdown to the position. Smallwood will have to turn in his fantasy value in the receiving game, which is not worth banking on. He is best avoided unless you find yourself in desperate need of a PPR flex.
Houston Texans CB Phillip Gaines (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injury list Tuesday, Oct. 22.
New York Giants LB Keion Adams (knee) was released from the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 21.
Baltimore Ravens LB Pernell McPhee (triceps) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Chicago Bears DE Jonathan Harris was released Tuesday, Oct. 22; the move cleared a spot for the signing of DL Brent Urban.
Cleveland Browns RB Elijah McGuire was released from the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley was listed as the No. 2 receiver on the version of the Falcons' depth chart released following the trade of WR Mohamed Sanu Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley was already Atlanta's second-most productive receiver behind Julio Jones, but he stands to gain at least a few extra targets per game without much depth behind the top two wideouts for the Falcons.
Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson out-snapped RB Carlos Hyde 39-to-26 in the Week 7 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Oct. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson received a total of nine touches and racked up 56 yards. It was his first start of the season but Carlos Hyde still had more carries. Johnson has the higher ceiling in PPR formats, but Hyde is the safer option in standard leagues.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) said Tuesday, Oct. 22, he's confident he'll return to the field soon. 'Oh, I'll be back out on the field,' Shepard said. 'It's just whether it's gonna be this week or next week.'
Fantasy Spin: Shepard has been limited to four games this season, but he has been able to rack up 25 receptions on 34 targets for 267 yards and a touchdown. The more experience QB Daniel Jones acquires while Shepard is out of the lineup will only boost the receiver's production upon his eventual return. He's a solid buy-low candidate.
Free-agent DE Kasim Edebali (Eagles) signed an undisclosed contract with the Oakland Raiders Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent LB Nate Orchard (Dolphins) worked out for the Atlanta Falcons Tuesday, Oct. 22, along with free-agent DL Shane Ray (Ravens) and DE Quinton Bell (Raiders).
Free-agent DT Willie Henry (Ravens) worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Buccaneers) worked out for the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Oct. 22, along with fellow free agents S Marcus Gilchrist (Raiders) and DE Joel Heath (Texans).