Darius Slayton burst onto the New York scene in the absence of Sterling Shepard. He did have a 50 yard, two-touchdown game right as Shepard went down, but Slayton exploded for 15 targets, 10 receptions, 121 yards, and 2 touchdowns in a loss against the Jets in Week 10. Even when Shepard recovered from injury a week later, Slayton still had another 150-yard game. The big-play potential of Slayton is incredibly enticing to Fantasy owners.
But Sterling Shepard is still on the opposite side of the formation in New York. Shepard has WR1 potential on your team, but injuries are a concern. He missed six weeks last year but is coming back healthy for 2020. When he was on the field, he did get at least six targets a game. Shepard is the clear number one receiver, he is going to get a steady diet of passes his way.
The debate between these two receivers can go back and forth. In a sense, both are lottery ticket potential. Darius Slayton can break a play open anytime a la Tyreek Hill. He can go cold for some weeks but he will be red-hot in other weeks. While Sterling Shepard will be receiving a steady load of targets IF he is on the field. Take it to the Hizzy has Shepard two spots below Slayton in the rankings, so it’s a close race between the two.
Let me make this comparison extremely easy here. Adam Theilen or Tyreek Hill? I’m not saying Shepard is close to Theilen or Slayton is Hill, but those are the types of receivers these players are. Kansas City set the blueprint for 2020 on how to win the Super Bowl, so every team is looking for that gadget player. Slayton is that gadget player, and his gadget is getting vertical on defenses. Slayton will have many more opportunities to break a run. Shepard is going to get the touches to get the ball past the sticks. Would you rather have 15 yards/ reception or 10 yards/ reception?
For me, availability is key. I would much rather have a player who can play 14-16 games a season than a player filled with potential but can’t stay on the field. Slayton is my pick in this discussion. He played 14 games and caught 8 touchdowns. Shepard did play 10 games, but only caught 3 touchdowns. Shepard is used to moving the chains for the Giants, Slayton is used for blowing the top off of defenses. The 14 weeks of lottery ticket potential will be much more beneficial to you week-to-week than a possession receiver with injury concerns.