Mason Thompson | July 28th, 2019
In today’s position battle, we will be discussing two young receivers in Marquez Valdes-Scantling of the Green Bay Packers, and N’Keal Harry of the New England Patriots. In 12-team PPR leagues, both players are going in the ninth round per Fantasy Football Calculator with Valdes-Scantling as the WR40 and Harry as the WR43. In his rookie year, Valdes-Scantling finished the year as the WR65. If Harry’s junior season at Arizona State had been his rookie season in the NFL, he would’ve finished as the WR15 for the 2018 season.
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N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots
Harry couldn’t have gone to a better situation in New England. The Patriots lost a whopping 159 targets with the departures of Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, Rob Gronkowski, and Dwayne Allen. The good news for Harry is that he is the most talented receiver, besides maybe Julian Edelman, on the Patriots roster.
Harry’s skillset offers a variety of different strengths. With him being 6’4″, Harry will be a reliable red-zone target. What could come as a surprise is that he is a dominant force when it comes to yards after the catch. Harry also has great hands as he only dropped six of the 79 catchable passes he had last year according to Pro Football Focus.
New England uses a variety of different looks on offense with a lot of players. It will take a lot of work from Harry to gain trust from both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. There is also a ton of competition at the wide receiver position in New England and while Harry might be the best physical specimen, he will have to prove himself in camp.
While Harry is 6’4″, he didn’t run a blazing 40-yard dash at the combine, only running a 4.53. Now, you might not think the 40 time is an issue, as he was against tight coverage on 34.5% of his targets during his time at Arizona State. Cornerbacks are bigger, faster, and more physical in the NFL so he may have some trouble right out of the gate.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers
Valdes-Scantling enters this season in a different position then he was last season. The fifth round, South Florida product finished last year with 38 receptions for 581 yards(14.5 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. With the departure of Randall Cobb, there are over 100 targets up for grabs in the Packers aerial attack.
Between him and Geronimo Allison, I believe Valdes-Scantling will be the better draft bargain of the two receivers. He has drawn rave reviews this offseason from Aaron Rodgers and has spent the offseason training with the likes of Randy Moss. His speed is one of the best attributes of his game as his 4.37 speed will lead to some big chunk plays.
Valdes-Scantling is learning a different offense under new head coach Matt LaFleur. Along with a new offense, he is going to have to beat out other strong competition in camp. Davante Adams has a firm grasp as the number one receiver but there is a lot of competition for the second and third spots on the team between Valdes-Scantling, Allison, Equanimeous St. Brown, J’Mon Moore, as well as tight end Jimmy Graham. Rodgers loves to spread the ball around to his receivers and will not force-feed one in particular.
Overall, Valdes-Scantling has the higher floor and ceiling on the pass-happy offense in Green Bay. He is rumored to be the starting outside receiver opposite of Adams for the Packers. He has the size, speed, and strength to make opposing defenses crumble against him. In a 12-team draft, the earliest I would take Valdes-Scantling would be the back end of the seventh round, which is about a round and a half earlier than his ADP has him currently. Harry’s ADP feels just right in the middle of the ninth round on a run-first offense.
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