Gatland forced to juggle for Scotland clash
Adams, this season's English Premiership top try-scorer, will feature on the right wing in Cardiff in a starting line-up that includes 10 Scarlets players.
Rhys Patchell is handed the flyhalf role instead of the injured Dan Biggar, but there is no place in the matchday 23 for Northampton wing George North.
Wales are without several injured senior players for the Scotland clash including Biggar, Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies and Rhys Webb but there is a recall for fit-again Gloucester forward Ross Moriarty.
Moriarty packs down at No.8 alongside Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi in the back row, while Scarlets' Kiwi-born centre Hadleigh Parkes retains his place following an impressive try-scoring Test debut against South Africa in the November internationals.
"The first-up game against Scotland this weekend is really important for us, and this is a great chance for this group of players to get us off to a good start," said Gatland.
"We have been watching Josh [Adams] closely. He is top try-scorer in the English Premiership and has been going well, and we are excited for him."
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Owen Watkin.
Date: Saturday, February 3
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 14.15 (14.15 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)