Marquez Valdes-Scantling Impressing as the Packers No.2 WR; Prime Fantasy Sleeper - Roto Street Journal
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Marquez Valdes-Scantling Impressing as the Packers No.2 WR; Prime Fantasy Sleeper

Marquez Valdes-Scantling became a Waiver Wire darling as a rookie, and the logic was clear: an imposing 6’4″ burner (4.37 forty) was in line for considerable volume from Aaron Rodgers. Plus, he was thriving, with 100+ yards or a TD and 12+ FPs in four straight contests (Weeks 5-8).

Yet, MVS could never carve out a consistent role and failed to top 7 points in six of his last seven contests.

Fortunately, this seems bound to change in his sophomore campaign. MVS has been operating as the clear “No.2 receiver” throughout OTAs after “quickly picking up” and thriving in new HC Matt LaFleur’s system. Perhaps most importantly, he’s caught the eye of Aaron Rodgers, who said MVS “had a fantastic spring” and “really stepped up as a guy who can be an every-down player.” Between a steadier role, a perfect-fitting scheme, and more trust from his QB, MVS seems headed for a major sophomore breakout.

Gaining Rodgers’ approval may just be the most crucial note, as he’s notorious for isolating players on his “bad side.” The fact MVS earned separation on 70.3% of his targets (third highest grade per PFF) only fuels speculation that Rodgers blackballed MVS for running the called routes called versus what Rodgers wanted at the line.

Now, however, MVS appears out of the dog-house and ready to dominate. In particular, his “game speed” is continually praised as now matching his blazing timed speed, with MVS playing looser and thinking less. Rodgers himself gushed:

“You might time at a super-quick 40, but how fast do you play?” Rodgers said, via Mike Spofford of the team’s official site. “It’s that football speed. It’s the opposite for a guy like James Jones, who timed kind of slow but he played fast. MVS is playing a lot closer to his 40 time speed, which is saying a lot because he’s pretty damn fast.”

Thus far, star No.1 WR Davante Adams feels the scheme, which emphasizes pace and chunk plays off of play-action, is “catered to a guy like MVS” due to this speed:

“Just the tempo, the type of routes we’re running, the marriage between the pass game and the run game, and some of the play-pass stuff, there’s a lot of speed involved in all things,” Adams said. “And the way he played, he runs fast, but he plays even faster. And you don’t always see that with the guys who run 4.3. Sometimes, they come out and play slow. But he’s not thinking much. He’s just going.”

In six of Rodgers’ 9 healthy seasons, the Packers have sustained two high-quality fantasy options and five seasons he’s fed at least two wideouts 100+ targets:

  • 2008 Greg Jennings – 80 (140), 1292, 9;  Donald Driver – 74 (116), 1012, 5
  • 2009: Greg Jennings – 68 (119), 1113, 4 TDs;  Donald Driver – 70 (113) – 1061, 6
  • 2010: Jennings – 76 (125), 1265, 12  *NO GOOD NO.2
  • 2011: Jordy – 68 (96), 1263, 15 TDs;  Jennings – 67 (101), 949, 9 TDs
  • 2012: No 1,000 yard guys – Cobb had 64 954 and 8; James Jones had 14 TDs, Jordy was balling but got hurt
  • 2013 – Rodgers Hurt – Jordy still crushed 1314 + 8
  • 2014 – Jordy: 98 (151), 1519, 13 TDs;  Cobb: 91 (127) 1287 12 TDs
  • 2015 – No 1000 yard WRs – the Jordy hurt year, Adams sucked, James Jones had 890
  • 2016 – Jordy – 97 (152), 1257, 14;  Davante 75 (121), 997, 12 TD
  • 2017 – Rodgers Hurt 
  • 2018 – Adams 111 (169), 1386, 13 – NOTHING else 

This season, Adams and MVS could easily become the next deadly Packers pair. Simply put: MVS is playing up to his 4.37 speed, with a locked-in No.2 role, inside a better-fitting, more-vertical scheme. Most importantly, he seems to have finally earned Rodgers’ stubborn trust. He’ll have to ward off Geronimo Allison in camp, but otherwise the fantasy stars are aligned for a massive MVS sophomore breakout.

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