How much attention will the Chicago Bears pay to Marquez Valdes-Scantling during Thursday night’s season kickoff at Soldier Field?
Depends on how much of the talk they believe.
The Green Bay Packers wide receiver talked up since the start of training camp when he quickly emerged as the starting wideout opposite Davante Adams with fellow impact receiver Geronimo Allison fitting into the slot position. A modest 38-catch, 581-yard rookie season saw him establish a presence after Allison went out for the season with an injury, and the outlook only looks stronger for him as a fantasy football prospect in 2019.
Here’s the catch: Valdes-Scantling could have a tremendous night Thursday night against the 2018 league-leading defense, but most owners might not be able to afford the downside of a lackluster performance should he underachieve.
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Marquez Valdes-Scantling Fantasy Outlook: Matchup vs. Bears
Make no mistake, Valdes-Scantling — or MVS, as his Packers teammates call him — could do some serious damage against the Bears with much of their attention focused on No. 1 Adams, but what’s to suggest the Bears defense isn’t ready for the Packers’ other starter?
Again, it circles back to whether the Bears believe him to be a true downfield threat or if they are content to focus most of their energy on rushing Rodgers and shutting down Adams. Then again, a second-year guy with a larger load to carry could be seen as an opportunity either way for a Bears unit that loves its takeaways.
Rogers has bragged throughout the preseason about MVS’ speed, saying it was taking him some time to dial into the quickness of the “damn fast” wideout at his disposal. A good problem to have when it’s someone like Rodgers, who you know will have the calibrations sorted out before kickoff.
Should You Start or Sit Marquez Valdes-Scantling in Week 1?
The answer lies in how much you’re willing to risk and what else you’re working with on your team. If you have two solid WRs for your lineup, MVS will do better for you on your bench for at least one week while he grows into his own — if he does that at all. But if you find yourself in a pinch in a three-WR-deep league, MVS is a better choice than several other receivers at his level, including his own teammate Allison.
Ranked in the sixth WR tier at No. 43 by Fantasy Pros, MVS has more potential than the likes of Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams) or Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals), but right now that’s all he has — potential. Rodgers makes receivers into stars at will, but much is uncertain about how the Packers’ offense will be deployed exactly under new coach Matt LaFleur.
Final verdict: MVS is not a bad third option, but sitting him bodes better than playing him in an important role during your first week of the season. If he goes wild on your bench against the Chicago defense, his outlook against whatever else the season can throw at the Packers will thrust him from sleeper to must-start option at WR2.