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Why Buy Marquez Valdes-Scantling When This WR is Cheaper?

“You pay for this, but they give you that.”

That classic Neil Young lyric came to mind as I was researching this year’s “Why Buy?” series. So often, we’re confident of what we’re going to get when we spend that sixth-round pick on the next big thing, but in reality, we rarely know exactly what we’re buying.

The solution? Pay less for the same upside.

That’s the concept behind our “Why Buy?” series, which is inspired by the Fantasy Douche’s Getting Something for Nothing article penned back in 2013.

Whatever you want to call it — arbitrage, discount shopping, or simply fading overpriced players — there’s no shortage of opportunities buy knock-off versions of a more expensive player this season.

Let’s roll on a discount play on Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Manufactured Buzz

Hype is a hell of a drug. Despite exactly nothing changing in Green Bay since the spring, Valdes-Scantling’s ADP has skyrocketed by more than 70 picks and is still climbing.

Meanwhile, our discount play is in much the same scenario — a complementary piece heading into his sophomore season — only without having Aaron Rodgers as a personal hype man.

The result is a 50-pick discount.

Gallup’s rookie season compares well to Valdes-Scantling’s right across the board, only he’s got a decided edge in age and draft equity, factors we know have a significant impact on NFL success.

Gallup commanded just four fewer targets as a rookie in the same number of games but had a slightly bigger slice of the target pie.

I don’t see much there to justify such a significant price difference. In fact, there’s a case to be made that, especially with youth on his side, the outlook is brighter for Gallup.

I looked at the closest rookie comps for both players according to the RotoViz Screener earlier in the offseason. And while neither was spectacular, Gallup’s upside was better.

Gallup’s rookie comps

  • Davante Adams 
  • Aaron Dobson
  • David Terrell
  • Corey Coleman
  • Nate Burleson

Valdes-Scantling’s rookie comps

  • James Jones
  • Reggie Brown
  • Rod Streater
  • David Gettis
  • Denarius Moore
  • Roddy White

The Roddy White comp jumps out, but as noted in the article, he was a first-round draft pick and Valdes-Scantling’s pedigree isn’t in the same league. As the rare 24-year-old rookie to go on to be elite, White tends to pop up as a comparison any time an older rookie has a solid season.

With size and rookie numbers, at the very least, we can call this one even.

Competition & Projections

While Gallup is the clear No. 2 receiver for the Cowboys, Valdes-Scantling faces considerably more competition. Drafters are assuming the gig is his, but don’t forget that it was third-year man Geronimo Allison who had a better target market share when active.

The RotoViz Projection Machine gives Valdes-Scantling and Allison the same 96 targets in 2019

Kellen Moore

Meanwhile, we’re projecting Gallup for just nine fewer targets and a better yardage total, thanks to his higher average depth of target (13.9 to 12.3).

It’s close enough that it’s not hard to envision a scenario where Gallup gets more targets than Valdes-Scantling. The Packers brought in Matt Lafleur, whose Titans offense was second last in pass attempts last year, while the Cowboys hired rookie offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who is expected to install a more uptempo scheme.

Conclusion

Valdes-Scantling’s price is out of control and largely the result of hype from his Hall of Fame QB. Yes, a second-year leap could be in the cards, but the same can be said for the younger, more highly drafted Gallup.

The difference in cost is unjustifiable. Pass on the Packers sophomore and get the same upside in Gallup instead.

Image Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

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