Beneath the glow of Aaron Rodgers’ record-setting performance against the Oakland Raiders last week was a career-best game for one of the Green Bay Packers’ younger talents. And it happened in just two plays.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished with a career-high 133 receiving yards on a pair of catches, including a 74-yard touchdown reception — the longest of his career — that helped the Packers (6-1) roll to a 42-24 victory over the Raiders (3-3) at Lambeau Field. The performance put the second-year wide receiver at 416 yards on the season, surpassing injured star Davante Adams for the most on the team.
For fantasy football owners who took a risk on him, the reward was long deserved in Week 7 as he raked 21.3 points in PPR leagues and a third-most 19.3 points in standard, according to FantasyPros. That Marvin Jones (10 catches, 93 yards, four TDs) and Zach Pascal (six catches, 106 yards, two TDs) were the only two ahead of him in standard leagues is amazing simply for the fact that, again, Valdes-Scantling had just two catches.
The stock is climbing for Green Bay’s new No. 1, who will likely stay in that position for at least another week as Adams was officially ruled doubtful for Sunday night’s road game against the Kansas City Chiefs. But will the Packers passing game stay hot enough for him to be a fantasy starter in Week 8?
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Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Chiefs
Even without Patrick Mahomes, chances are good the Packers and Chiefs make for good action offensively in prime time, and that can only be good news for Rodgers and, consequently, Valdes-Scantling.
See, deciding whether to start Valdes-Scantling in Week 8 shouldn’t really come down to your feelings about the younger receiver but, rather, his MVP-caliber quarterback. Rodgers is coming off a massive game that marked his second 400-plus-yard passing performance of the 2019 season, but none of his other five outings have exceeded 283 yards. The quarterback-receiver correlation of success is an obvious one, but it goes deeper with the Packers pair.
Coming into Week 8, Valdes-Scantling has a league-leading five catches for more than 40 yards — nearly a quarter of his 21 catches — and has become the trusted deep-ball threat for Rodgers when he heats up. The only problem, though, is the Packers offense spreads the love in portions that are sometimes dangerously small. He has come up with three or fewer catches in five games this season after all, even if one was his two-catch dagger last week.
The potential will be there, no doubt, as three Chiefs defensive starters will miss the game with injuries. Defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin) and cornerback Kendall Fuller (thumb) were both unable to practice this week and were officially ruled out Friday along with top edge rusher Frank Clark (neck).
Should You Start or Sit Marquez Valdes-Scantling in Week 8?
The bye is favorable this week with only the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens not playing, but Valdes-Scantling’s merits make him worth considering as an outright option at WR2 or FLEX instead of merely a substitute. Rodgers likes to deliver in prime-time moments, and Valdes-Scantling has often been on the receiving end of his biggest passes when he does. That’s a trend to trust this week.
Final verdict: FantasyPros projections have Valdes-Scantling expected for 8.3 points in standard leagues and 12.0 points in PPR, around the same range as Calvin Ridley, Alshon Jeffery and Larry Fitzgerald. There’s also the upside of him trying to string together back-to-back strong games and truly prove he is a regular threat. Bet on MVS and start him.