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.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin was targeted just once in Week 7, but he made it count, catching that one target for a one-yard touchdown. Jarwin continues to play behind starter Jason Witten and won't have any predictable fantasy value unless Witten is forced to miss time. Even then, he won't be a high-upside play by any means.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught all four of his targets in Week 7, gaining 33 yards. Witten had yet another very typical Jason Witten game, making a handful of catches and picking up just a few yards with each one. He'll continue to be a low-floor, low-ceiling depth option when the Cowboys return from their bye after Week 8.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense played well in a Week 7 win over the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. They allowed just 10 points, recovering three fumbles and securing one interception. They were also able to sack Carson Wentz three times. The Cowboys ended up winning a blowout in what was expected to be a much closer game. Dallas goes into their bye week in Week 8, but should come out as one of the better fantasy defensive units after the bye.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher had a big game in a Week 7 win. He knocked through all four of his extra points and made his three field goal attempts too. He knocked through a 63-yard boot and has proven to be one of the more consistent kicking options while also having a big enough leg to make the long kicks. He's one of the better fantasy options at an unpredictable position.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott accounted for two touchdowns in Week 7. He completed 21 of his 27 passes, gaining 239 yards and throwing one touchdown and one interception. He added five carries, adding 30 yards and another touchdown. Prescott's passing score was a one-yard toss to Blake Jarwin, and his rushing score came on an eight-yard run in the fourth quarter. It was an overall productive day for Prescott, although the Dallas running game was really mostly in charge. The Cowboys go into their bye week comfortably in first place in the NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard notched eight carries in a Week 7 blowout win over the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Pollard's eight carries were well behind starter Ezekiel Elliott's 22, but he was still able to pick up 28 yards. Pollard has shown well while on the field, but he won't be able to do much as long as Elliott is around. Pollard has league-winning upside if something were to force Elliott to miss time, but even in blowout wins, Pollard's value is severely limited by his place on the depth chart.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 22 times for 111 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, adding six catches for 36 more yards. Elliott was most of the Cowboys offense in this one, and was more than what they needed against a struggling Eagles team. Elliott ceded eight carries to rookie Tony Pollard once the game was firmly in hand, but he remains one of the highest-volume backs in the league and will continue to be an easy RB1 play every time he takes the field.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper caught all five of his targets in Week 7, gaining 106 yards. Cooper wasn't even a sure thing to start in this one, but he came down with every ball thrown his way and went over 100 yards in a game the Dallas offense dominated. He should be even healthier after the Cowboys Week 8 bye, and will return as a surefire WR1.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin missed his lone passing game target in Week 7, but he was given a single carry and took it in 20 yards for a touchdown. Austin has defense-burning speed, but little else to offer as a football player. That means some plays will set him loose on the field but there will never be a predictable enough matchup to determine his value. He's not a fantasy option despite the single impressive play on Sunday Night Football this week.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup only came up with three catches on his four targets in Week 7, gaining 34 scoreless yards. It was certainly a dud in a matchup where Gallup was occasionally being considered a WR1 option, but the Dallas offense simply didn't need him in a game where they had no trouble moving the ball against a scuffling Eagles Defense.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott connected on his one field goal try and on his one extra point try in a Week 7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott made his 38-yard field goal in the third quarter, but wasn't needed much in what ended up being a blowout loss to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott should fare better next week in what is expected to be a closer matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery made just two catches in Week 7, coming up with 38 yards. He tied for the team lead with five targets, but much like the rest of the Eagles offense, he wasn't able to do much. Jeffery was running as the team's WR1 with DeSean Jackson (abdomen) still on the sideline. The Eagles desperately need Jackson's seam-stretching ability and could have him back for Week 8. Unfortunately, they'll have another tough matchup against a strong Bills Defense.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz came down with just two passes in Week 7, gaining 38 yards. Ertz was targeted five times but he was soundly outplayed by Dallas Goedert, who scored the only Eagles touchdown. Ertz has been mostly disappointing this season so far, and next week against the Buffalo Bills Defense doesn't look like a likely get-right spot. He's a TE1 no doubt, but perhaps moving slowly out of the top tier.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor had another disappointing week in Week 7, catching just two passes and gaining 24 scoreless yards. Agholor was targeted four times in a game where almost the entire Philly offense struggled to get anything done. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) possibly back next week to take on a stout Buffalo defense, Agholor will be nothing more than a last-ditch effort in most formats.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins was targeted only once in Week 7 and was unable to come down with a catch. Hollins has been running in three-wide sets in place of DeSean Jackson (abdomen) for several weeks, but has been unable to do anything at all. Even if Jackson can't return for next week's tough matchup against Buffalo, Hollins will not be a recommended fantasy option in any format.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense struggled in Week 7 against the Dallas Cowboys, allowing 37 points and recording just three sacks and one interception. The Cowboys offense had its way with the Eagles secondary, as was mostly expected. The Eagles will take on the Buffalo Bills next week and should see better results, although there are likely stronger DST options on most league's waiver wires.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott tallied seven carries in Week 7, gaining 32 yards. He also caught his lone target, picking up five more yards. Scott actually ended up with just one touch less than Miles Sanders. With the Eagles taking on a similarly tough Bills Defense in Week 8, Scott won't be worth much in most fantasy formats, but the Eagles backfield has certainly become one worth keeping an eye on going forward.
Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage only had three carries for seven yards in a 31-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but two of them came inside Buffalo's five-yard line, with Ballage cashing in the second of the two for a three-yard touchdown. Ballage was far out-touched by Mark Walton and Kenyan Drake and is currently the clear third option on the league's worst team, making him nothing but fodder for the waiver wire. Even if Drake is traded before this month's deadline, it seems that he'd still be behind new starter Walton in the pecking order, which should give fantasy owners few reasons to roster the once-popular sleeper pick ahead of a Week 8 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert led the team in receiving in Week 7. He caught four passes, gaining 69 yards and scoring a touchdown. Goedert's score came on a 28-yard pass from Carson Wentz. Goedert was also charged with a lost fumble, however. In a game where the Eagles offense could barely do anything, Goedert was the lone bright spot. It could be more of the same types of struggles next week for the Philly offense, making Goedert a TE2 at best.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard did as asked in Week 7, running the ball 11 times for 50 yards. He added two catches for six more yards. Howard didn't have a ton of room to run, but he out-touched Miles Sanders 13-to-9, again solidifying his spot atop the Philly running back depth chart. The entire Eagles offense struggled in Week 7, and they should have another tough time in Week 8 against a stout Bills Defense. Howard will be a volume-based RB2/3.