Sterling Shepard Out Week 6: Golden Tate Fantasy Start or Sit?

Getty Golden Tate gets a difficult matchup against the Patriots.

Many would have pegged Golden Tate the perfect addition to a New York Giants offense that, while hungry for playmakers, was steadily improving since inserting Daniel Jones at the helm.

It seemed like a match made in heaven. A wily veteran with a quarterback-friendly skillset working out of the slot. However, things did not go as planned for Tate in his Giants debut last week.

Can the former fantasy stud regain his form from years past in New England on Thursday night? Let’s take a look.

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Golden Tate’s Fantasy Outlook vs. New England Patriots

Golden Tate’s first performance of the 2019 season was disappointing to many. Fantasy owners who rolled the dice on the slot-maven were burned by Tate when he racked up a meager 4.30 points. The wideout hauled in just three receptions for 13 receiving yards vs. the Minnesota Vikings. Certainly not the production the Giants expected when they doled out $23M guaranteed to Tate this offseason. It’s also not the production that the wideout saw for himself when he made the move to the North East.

“It felt good to get back out there…Obviously, I wish I had a few more opportunities to help us win, but I’ll watch film very critically. I’ll get with DJ (Daniel Jones), my coach, the OC and see what I can do better to help us win and help us move the chains a little bit more.”

The media pressed harder to get a soundbite out of Tate asking if this is the type of usage we can expect from the wideout moving forward. Tate took the bait and was a bit more straightforward with his response.

“I hope not, I hope not…Obviously, I want to be out there as much as possible, but we’ll see. It’s the first week back for me. I hope my role increases, but we’ll see.”

Whether it was predetermined or not, an uptick in usage is likely inevitable for Week 6 when the G-Men take on the Patriots.

Sterling Shepard will not suit up on Thursday night’s contest due to a concussion. Shepard, the Giants leading pass catcher from the wideout position, is a player with a nearly mirrored skill set to that of Tate. With both on the field last Sunday things felt a bit chunky and cramped in the short to intermediate passing game.

Without Shepard, Tate will be able to operate in the type of fashion that allowed him to be the 16th highest scoring fantasy receiver from 2012-2017. While Tate saw six targets a week ago, that number is bound to see a bump. Shepard’s has averaged nearly nine targets per game this season. Tate is the most logical, and arguably the only player capable of taking on the added workload in the Giants passing game.

However, it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows for Tate owners on Thursday night. The New England Patriots have arguably their best defense in the Bill Belichick era, an absurd, yet very likely statement. The Pats have surrendered the fewest fantasy points in the NFL to opposing wideouts over the first five games of the 2019 season.

Should You Start or Sit Golden Tate in Week 6?

Shepard has been ruled out, as has tight end Evan Engram, and running backs Wayne Gallman Saquon Barkley.

Golden Tate is worth a flex start based on usage alone. Don’t be surprised to see the Giants offense run through the wideout in Week 6. However, he is strictly a PPR play, as the Patriots defense has limited all but three receivers to 51 receiving yards or less this season.

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