The Dolphins bounced back from losing four of five games to take a divisional victory against the rival New York Jets last week. While a season-sweep against Gang Green will certainly help Miami both in morale and in the standings, tacking on another W will be important for staying relevant this season. For the Dolphins earn another win this week, the team will need to handle Green Bay’s young and talented wide receiver corps, and more specifically, one dynamic young rookie.
Each week of the 2018 season, I’m highlighting one player on the opposing team that Dolphins fans should be watching out for. This week, that player is Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Experience: 1st season
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 206 lbs
Valdes-Scantling has played in all eight games for the Packers this season, but with Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison dealing with injuries early on in the year, the rookie pass catcher was thrust into a prominent roll, as he’s started the past five contests. Thus far, he’s thrived as Aaron Rodgers’ downfield threat, catching 17 balls for 358 yards at ridiculous 21.1 yards per clip. That yards per reception average puts him at second in the league behind only DeSean Jackson of the Buccaneers. Valdes-Scantling has also added two touchdowns and is sure to see a large portion of action in this week’s game with Allison due to be sidelined once more.
With superstar Davante Adams lining up out wide, Valdes-Scantling has been taking advantage of opposing teams’ second tier corners to make big plays. In this contest, Dolphins top cover man Xavien Howard is almost sure to shadow Adams in the hopes of containing Rodgers’ go to target, meaning it’ll likely be up to a combination of Bobby McCain and rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (who the Dolphins have started lining up on the boundary) to contain Valdes-Scantling.
At 6’4”, Valdes-Scantling possesses a seven inch height advantage over McCain, giving the former a distinct edge on jump balls. While Fitzpatrick measures in at 6’1”, Valdes-Scantling’s dangerous combination of size and speed will make him difficult to suppress regardless of who is lining up across from him. With Rodgers’ penchant for making big plays and his deadly accuracy on deep balls, expect the Dolphins to send some safety help to Valdes-Scantling’s side of the field early and often.