Aaron Rodgers can count on Davante Adams to be among his options when he looks to pass throughout the 2019 season, but fantasy football owners especially know all too well that the Green Bay Packers star quarterback isn’t a one-receiver type of guy.
All the more reason Marquez Valdes-Scantling should be a name gone well before the later rounds in every fantasy league’s draft this year.
The second-year wideout finished with modest rookie numbers in 2018 after injuries afforded him a starting role, playing in every game and making 38 catches for 581 yards and two touchdowns to finish with the third-most catches for the Packers behind Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham.
Not bad, but not enough to make him jump off the page.
But in his sophomore campaign, Valdes-Scantling — or MVS, as the receiver is known around Lambeau Field — is poised for a breakout opportunity under Matt LaFleur’s new offense after rightly proving himself the Packers’ No. 2 option through training camp.
With Valdes-Scantling currently listed as a starter opposite Adams on the depth chart, his fantasy football stock seems to be climbing every day as the Packers chug closer toward their season opener at the Chicago Bears.
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Marquez Valdes-Scantling Fantasy Football Projections: Outlook & Preview
Readings in training camp and exhibition-game reps have Valdes-Scantling pegged as a young, skilled receiver with deep-ball potential who, by continuing to take the right steps, could easily add some shine to the Packers’ offense. The only problem: So could Geronimo Allison.
Right now, Allison is another potential sleeper candidate for the 2019 fantasy football season, but he has yet to remain healthy for a full season as he enters his fourth with the Packers. Meanwhile, Valdes-Scantling played every one of the 16 games his rookie season and missed just one over his final two years in college at South Florida — before Green Bay drafted him in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Here’s the thing: The Packers’ new offensive scheme under LaFleur is quite literally “catered” to a wide receiver like Valdes-Scantling. Adams told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky as much during June’s mandatory minicamp practices.
“I think this offense is really catered for a guy like him,” Adams said. “I think he’s seeing that and he’s recognizing that. We’ve had conversations about it, and I think he’s really starting to understand how this thing works. He’s come in and he’s made some plays. And I think that with young guys, it’s hard to know exactly how to deal with that early success, but he’s doing a great job of it right now.”
Valdes-Scantling showcased some top-end speed as a rookie and early in the preseason that could allow him to develop into the Packers’ next deep threat for Rodgers. At 6-foot-4, 206 pounds, he clocked a 4.37-second 40-yard dash time during his NFL Combine and caught a number of long throws — for gains of 51 and 60 yards among the best — during his rookie season.
When to Draft Marquez Valdes-Scantling in 2019 Fantasy Football
The problem for Valdes-Scantling comes down to consistency, but his elevated role on the depth chart now puts achieving that on him. If he proves reliable from the get-go, Allison could fall out of grace in terms of PPR after making 20 grabs in just five games in 2018 before his season-ending injury.
Fantasy Pros ranks the two Packers receivers just two positions apart among this year’s NFL wide receivers, with Valdes-Scantling trailing at No. 45. But the situation flips when it comes to average draft position, with him owning a 44.0 ADP two spots ahead of Allison.
Allison still figures to see regular usage in the slot of a three-wide set, but Valdes-Scantling winning the starting job speaks volumes to the anticipated uptick in his production this year.
Final verdict: Right now, the stars are aligning for Valdes-Scantling with a featured role and more trust in the system. If you’ve taken care of the early essentials for your team, there is a solid case for drafting him in the sixth or seventh round as a WR3 with plenty of room for him to grow into a larger role.