Shepard was able to parlay his solid chemistry with Jameis Winston into a career-best day against the 49ers in Week 7, despite only playing 36 percent of the snaps, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
The Bucs' special teams captain turned in one of the more unlikely performances of Week 7, as he'd been thought of no higher than the fifth option in the passing game heading into last Sunday's contest. Veteran Cecil Shorts had been named the starter opposite Mike Evans in Vincent Jackson's (knee) stead, while Adam Humphries had retained his usual third receiver role. Meanwhile, tight end Cameron Brate, who'd proven to be a reliable target in the short and intermediate passing game for Winston, appeared slated for more attention as well. However, Shepard managed to haul in all but one of his six targets even though Humphries and Shorts played 51 percent and 41 percent of the snaps, respectively. While it's difficult to gauge if Week 7's production will carry over, Winston certainly seems to have no hesitation in relying on Shepard when necessary.
Shepard caught five of six targets for 77 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 34-17 win at San Francisco.
Shepard made several tough grabs on Tampa Bay's penultimate possession of the first half, which culminated in his own 19-yard touchdown catch. With Vincent Jackson (knee) on injured reserve, Shepard has an opportunity to become fantasy relevant, although teammate Mike Evans dominates a lot of the action in the Buccaneers' passing game. In fact, Evans had eight catches on 13 targets for 96 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. In any event, Shepard could find success next week against the Raiders.
Shepard could see some extra playing time on offense in the wake of Vincent Jackson's knee injury, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "I think you'll see his role increase," said (offensive coordinator Todd) Monken. "He's had a role in every game offensively; sometimes he's been more of a focal point than others. He's a good football player and we expect him to pick up some of that."
The Bucs' special teams captain has already seen between six and 14 offensive snaps in each of the first five games, but stands to see an uptick with the team reportedly planning to utilize a committee approach to replace Jackson. Shepard has played sparingly on offense over his first two campaigns and has a modest four catches as his career high. He's just one reception short of that number at present and certainly looks to be in line to set a new high-water mark while also retaining his important role on special teams. However, Mike Evans, Cecil Shorts and Adam Humphries still figure to see the majority of wide receiver targets the majority of weeks.
Shepard secured both of his targets for 16 yards in Sunday's 40-7 loss to the Cardinals.
The special teams ace made one of his rare appearances on offense in the blowout and converted both of his targets into catches. Shepard received a bump in the pecking order with Cecil Shorts exiting the contest early with a hamstring injury, an ailment that could afford the former similar opportunity next week if it prevents Shorts from taking the field against the Rams.
The reserve receiver, much more accomplished on special teams over his first two seasons, followed up his strong performance in the preseason opener by bringing in the perfectly timed throw with Josh Robinson trailing in coverage. Shepard's impressive work to date this summer has helped him stand out from the proverbial cast of thousands vying for spots in the bottom half of the Bucs' receiver depth chart.
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|13||12/4/16||@ SD||4:25 pm|
|15||12/18/16||@ DAL||1:00 pm|
|16||12/24/16||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||4||63||15.8||23||0||2||0||3|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||2||3||28||9.3||18||1||0||0||3|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||0||8||99||12.4||20||1||2||0||6|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||2||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||0||1||9||9.0||9||0||0||0|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||6||6.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||14||14.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||10||9.0||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0|
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