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Marvin Jones and Marquez Valdes-Scantling Lead the Way in WR Fantasy Points Over Expectation

In a week where many of the highest-profile fantasy weapons were on the bye, a slew of early injuries crushed hopes, and wet weather in the Northeast put a damper on passing games, Marvin Jones and Marquez Valdes-Scantling headlined a surprise cohort at the top of the reFPOE leaderboard.

With help from the Screener and the NFL Stat Explorer, we take a closer look at the wide receivers who created the most fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE) in Week 7.

Aaron Rodgers Likes the New Offense Just Fine

Rodgers averaged 24.2 PPG from 2014 to 2017, and QB1 finishes outnumbered finishes of QB2 or worse by a count of 37 to 18. Since the beginning of 2018, his average had dropped to 21.7 PPG, and he’d shockingly been a QB2 or worse more than half the time (13-9). Then Week 7 happened.

It was even more impressive with Davante Adams out and several other receivers limited. Until Sunday, the Packers had been far less aggressive in the passing game when Adams missed time.

We mentioned last week that the Packers were stockpiling elite athletes with top Freak Scores, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling is one of those guys. MVS now has two 20-point games on the season, and while the first was a mixture of volume and efficiency, his 133 yards and a score against the Raiders came on only three targets.

This was his first double-digit reFPOE day in a career that should have a few more with Rodgers at the helm.

Marvin Jones

Jones has been a feast or famine receiver for the Lions, and it’s only fitting that he would score four TDs a week after scored fewer than four total points. Week 7 was his fifth double-digit reFPOE game since joining Detroit.

A frequent underperformer in both 2016 and 2018, Jones went through a very solid stretch in the middle of the 2017 season. Owners can now hope that he might be moving that direction again. Matthew Stafford is No. 6 in passing fantasy points over expectation (paFPOE), and the emergence of Kenny Golladay has opponents starting to take the measures like Minnesota employed on Sunday.

Jones’ big game was also a departure from his role as the deep threat. He did his damage on 13 targets that went for only 93 yards. While this game may be a fluke, Jones current target depth of 13.4 yards is the shallowest it’s been since his Cincinnati days.

You can explore all of his target location charts in the NFL Stat Explorer.

Zach Pascal

Pascal is only owned on 6.9% of FFPC teams, but this isn’t the first time he’s blown up as a Colt.

After his Week 4 breakout a year ago, I mentioned his prospect profile in The 15.

5. Don’t sleep on Zach Pascal in deep leagues. Pascal was a Jon Moore special and one of my devy selections three years ago after he put up excellent market share numbers at Old Dominion from 2014 to 2016. He also chipped in more than 300 yards in rushing value, adding another promising check mark to his resume. He wasn’t drafted in 2017 but split time with the Washington and Tennessee practice squads before signing with the Colts over the summer.

The Box Score Scout illustrates just how strong his market share numbers were.

Pascal was an immediate contributor as a freshman and concluded his career with back-to-back seasons with a Dominator Rating of 30% or better.

Returning to his 2019 peripherals, Pascal’s target share still languishes in fantasy bench territory – it’s only up to 13% over this impressive four-game stretch – but he’s now scored 10 or more points in three of four. This is the type of performance that should earn more snaps even as his teammates get healthy.

John Brown

Every time Brown has a big game it fills me with nostalgia for Davis Mattek’s prospect profile from 2014 where he asked if the tiny receiver from Division II Pittsburg State would be the next T.Y. Hilton. He hasn’t been that good, but he has wildly outperformed expectations.

Despite a reliance on Brown and Cole Beasley, the Bills surprisingly rank No. 11 in expected fantasy points to the WR position. Brown has parlayed that into WR20 status by doing what he always does: haul in deep passes.

Brown has already lassoed seven of his 14 deep targets for 181 yards, but he’s also dominating the intermediate areas with a ridiculous 21 catches on 24 targets between five and 14 yards of the line of scrimmage. A 23% target share in this passing game is enough to make him a weekly weapon. His previous career-high was a 20% share in 2015. He turned those targets into 209 points and a second-year breakout with the Cardinals.

Find weekly splits for fantasy scoring and all the advanced stats in the Weekly Explorer.

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

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