Green Bay rookie wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling is next up as we take a look at the most comparable players for the 11 best rookie WRs from the 2018 class.
Valdes-Scantling was the second of three WRs drafted by the Packers with picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds, and he looks like the best of the bunch after Year 1, finishing eighth in fantasy points among rookie WRs.
Among all rookie WRs, Valdes-Scantling ranked:
- Fifth in targets
- Sixth in receptions and yards
- Fifth in expected points
- Seventh in fantasy points
That’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for a fifth-round draft pick, and the only real mark against him is a slight lack of efficiency. His -5.1 reFPOE is not awful, but it ranked 21st out of 28 rookie WRs to log at least 10 receptions.
It’s a good start — what do the comps bring?
Using inputs of target volume, production, efficiency, age, weight, and draft position, I used the RotoViz Screener to come up with the most similar rookie seasons to Valdes-Scantling’s since 2000.
Rod Streater comes out as the top comp in the Screener (the graphic doesn’t list them in order of most comparable), and I love it. From draft stock to age, size, weight, opportunity, and efficiency, Valdes-Scantling and Streater align nicely.
Next up is Reggie Brown, but I like it considerably less based on the nine-pound and 139-slot draft discrepancies.
James Jones looks like a nice match, especially considering they both caught passes from Aaron Rodgers.
Meanwhile, I think we can mostly toss out Denarius Moore, who was more of a small and speedy deep threat.
Which brings us to the most interesting name — and the sixth-ranked comp on the list — Roddy White. While Valdes-Scantling had more yards and was more efficient as a rookie, White was still a first-round draft pick, and that matters when it comes to projecting future opportunity for WRs.
What Did They Do in Year 2?
In all, we saw some encouraging signs from this cohort in their sophomore years.
Half of the group took a step back (including David Gettis, who tore his ACL ahead of year two) while Streater, Moore, and Brown all took leap forward, improving their fantasy bottom lines by an average of 44 percent.
Unfortunately, Year 2 would represent the career zenith for all these players, save for two — Jones and White.
Can He be the Next Roddy White?
Probably not. White’s early career was an inefficient disaster, but his first-round draft status bought him continued opportunity, a luxury Valdes-Scantling doesn’t have.
Jones would go on to average 651 yards over his nine-year career, and I think that’s a solid baseline to shoot for as we project Valdes-Scantling. There’s not a lot of upside here, but he looks to have a decent chance at sticking around and contributing in the years ahead.
Check out the top comparables for the rest of this rookie WR class:
11. Michael Gallup
10. Robert Foster
8. Dante Pettis