When the Green Bay Packers needed a big offensive play after stalling out on their first three drives Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, Aaron Rodgers tossed the ball to someone the star quarterback he trusted.
No, not Davante Adams — though he is still very much the Packers’ receiving star. The starter on the opposite side, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who hauled in the 47-yard reception that helped set up the lone touchdown between the Bears and Packers. He finished with a team-leading four catches for 52 yards, pulling in 5.2 points in PPR leagues for fantasy football and ranking No. 56 out of wide receivers in Week 1, according to FantasyPros.
Modest production like that on an unexpectedly quiet night for the Packers offense only speaks to the value Valdes-Scantling has right now to teams, as it is only a matter of time before Rodgers opens up the passing game again for Green Bay. It could happen as soon as Sunday afternoon when the Packers take on the Vikings at Lambeau Field.
Seven other players catching a pass in Week 1, though, does make it a little difficult to pinpoint who exactly is eligible for big fantasy numbers with the Packers, apart from the obvious choices of Rodgers and Adams. Valdes-Scantling had a big first week, but the question now is whether he can prove it was more than a one-off.
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Marquez Valdes-Scantling Fantasy Outlook: Matchup vs. Vikings
FantasyPros gives Valdes-Scantling three stars out of five in favor of his matchup against the Vikings, whose defense poses less of a challenge than the Bears’ unit did in the opening week of the NFL. Back home in the friendly confines, there is huge upside for the Packers offense and the second-year receiver in Week 2.
The Packers and Vikings have high-scoring tendencies between them in the past several matchups of the series, numbers that inflate when looked at specifically inside Lambeau. Six of the last 10 games played between them at the historic stadium has seen more than 50 overall points scored. They also frequently play down to the wire.
Valdes-Scantling is a starting wide receiver who is less likely to see the same degree of attention from the defense that stars like Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham should draw. Obviously, the Vikings won’t leave him completely unattended, but it could lead to a lower priority that affords him a few big plays — maybe even his first touchdown of the season.
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Should You Start or Sit Marquez Valdes-Scantling in Week 2?
Valdes-Scantling deserves some serious FLEX consideration for reasons beyond his raw projections, which come in at 10 points, according to FantasyPros. He is also favorable when compared with nearby receivers, such as Broncos wideouts Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders — who both faces Chicago’s defense this week — or Jarvis Landry with a difficult-to-predict Cleveland Browns offense.
Final verdict: There are some safer WR choices to fill the FLEX, including the Bears’ Allen Robinson and the Saints’ Ted Ginn Jr., but Valdes-Scantling is worth starting at the position for both his positional advantage as a starter and potential to takeoff with an improving offense. When you consider the other person responsible for ensuring his production is a two-time MVP quarterback, it could take just one week for the young receiver to leap from might-start to gotta-start.