Every year I try not to get too excited by the NFL combine, but once again I find myself back on the hype train. Choo Choo.
We now enter the 50+ day waiting game until April 27th and the NFL Draft. There will be various pro days, and there are the ever-important free agency signings that will provide a great deal of clarity on the direction of NFL teams. Still, there is hardly anything better than the three-day window of excitement that was the NFL Combine.
While there were a few lackluster results (Jordan Addison weighing in at 173 was not ideal), this was an overwhelmingly positive set of results for dynasty managers. Superflex rookie picks gained a massive amount of value. Try trading for superflex picks right now toward the top of the draft.
Non-Superflex PPR rookie picks gained a massive amount of value at the top. Tight-end premium league rookie picks, in formats like the FFPC, gained a considerable amount of value from the back end of the first round down to the third round.
The icing on top was the 40 Yard Dash result for Bijan Robinson. His 4.47 was a significant win and put to bed the rumors his 40 time could be slower than promised. Good luck to any doubters out there attempting to find issues with Robinson’s game. Watching Robinson was a great way to end the weekend.
Here are a few of my takeaways
1) This is a Transformative Year for the TE Position
Travis Kelce will turn 34 this season, and George Kittle turns 30. There will eventually be a changing of the guard and a youth movement at the TE spot. While we wait on Kyle Pitts (please, Arthur Smith get him more targets this season), this class could usher in multiple new names in our weekly fantasy lineups.
Michael Mayer was at the top of most analysts’ lists entering the combine, but we now have an honest conversation over which TE goes off the board first. Mayer ran a 4.7- 40 Yard Dash. This is not a terrible time by any means, and he still will hear his name called off the board in the first round. He is still my favorite tight end in this class and a safe bet to post multiple TE1 seasons in fantasy.
Darnell Washington has the agility of a WR and the blocking ability of an OT.
The sky is the limit on Draft Day. pic.twitter.com/a0954Cfpjx
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 7, 2023
Darnell Washington lit up the combine and displayed a rare size/athleticism/speed combination. He will join Mayer in the NFL first round. Luke Musgrave was already garnering a lot of buzz heading into the combine, and he added to it with a RAS score of 9.95. Sam Laporta will be the next in a long line of Iowa TEs to start in the NFL. FCS standout Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State) posted a RAS score of 9.58. Dalton Kincaid, some analysts TE1 overall, is a classic move TE who projects to be a standout fantasy producer. Zack Kuntz of Old Dominion posted jaw-dropping athletic numbers and should hear his name called in Round 3 or 4.
We will see eight TEs drafted by the end of Round 3.
I want to accumulate second, and third-round rookie picks in my FFPC TE premium dynasty leagues. I want to have exposure to multiple players in this draft class. We will have more clarity after the landing spots, but this is the best TE class in a long time.
2) In Non-SF Formats, Be Ecstatic About the 1.01 |But, Also Be thrilled About the 1.02 and 1.03.
We have a clear top three right now in our dynasty rookie drafts. Jaxon Smith-Njigba solidified his place as the WR1 in the class. He did not run the 40-yard dash but dominated the other drills at the NFL Combine. He posted a 6.57 on the 3-cone and a 3.93 20-yard shuttle- historically elite numbers historically at the NFL Combine. There are zero concerns about him. I value him as a top 20 WR in dynasty already, and he should join former Buckeyes Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave as top 12 dynasty WRs. He is a fantastic consolation prize behind Bijan Robinson at the 1.02.
If your team needs an RB, you can take Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs at 1.02 or 1.03. Consider your choice team-specific, but Gibbs will be a very good RB in fantasy. He has elite production and receiving ability and produced in two different offenses and situations (Georgia Tech and Alabama). He posted a 4.36 40-yard dash. Despite weighing in at 199, Gibbs should be an RB2 immediately. He is a tremendous addition to our dynasty rosters.
In my dynasty leagues, I am trying to move up to the 1.02 and 1.03 even if it means I have to overpay. Those two spots are underrated right now.
3) In Non-SF, Go and Get Anthony Richardson
What? In non-SF? Absolutely. In a single QB format, Richardson is the one you want. I have high hopes for C.J. Stroud, but will he help you beat teams led by Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes? At the NFL Combine, Richardson posted a 4.44 40-yard dash with a 40.5-inch vertical at 244 pounds. He is not even 21 years old.
It may take him a year on an NFL bench sitting behind a bridge QB, but once he sees the field, he could put up the sort of elite rushing numbers that we have seen out of fantasy mega stars like Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Cam Newton.
4) Superflex Managers are in a Great Spot Right Now.
Richardson’s transcendent combine performance was not the only win at the QB spot. Stroud wowed scouts with one of the best throwing performances imaginable. He showed effortless release and accuracy and looked great with the deep ball.
Bryce Young is short but weighed in at 200 pounds at the NFL Combine. Sitting out drills was disappointing, but Young could turn into a superflex value at a certain point if he falls enough. Will Levis is a polarizing prospect for many but is another lock first-round pick for superflex. He will be an NFL starter and has a big arm.
Add in Bijan Robinson, the 1.01 in all formats, to go along with Gibbs and Smith-Njigba, and superflex picks are very valuable right now. There are opportunities to trade down or cash out for proven veterans.
5) This Year’s WR Class is Not as Bad as Some are Making It Out to be.
I was disappointed with the NFL Combine performance of Jordan Addison. I had him close to Smith-Njigba in my pre-NFL Combine WR ranks, but he weighed only 173 pounds. It is hard to justify him as a top-five rookie pick, but he will still be a first-round rookie pick.
Kayshon Boutte‘s weekend was a disaster. He knocked himself out of Day 2 consideration for many NFL teams, and dynasty managers need to adjust their priors and move on.
TCU’s Quentin Johnston weighed in at 205 pounds, a win for him. He was top three among all WRs in the Broad Jump and Vertical. His pro day 40 yard dash will be a big test for him. He is an exciting prospect to watch and could be the 1.04 behind the big three if he lands nicely in the NFL Draft.
Zay Flowers was a big winner; he weighed in over 180 pounds and ran a 4.42 40. I love his game and he is rising up NFL Draft Boards. Josh Downs was a big-time producer at UNC and should be drafted by the mid-second in the NFL Draft. I like him and will consider him a mid-first-round selection in my rookie drafts.
Jalin Hyatt is interesting, but I view him more as a downfield threat than a player who will put up mid-WR2 numbers at any point in his career. Landing spot and draft capital will matter for him greatly, but I cannot see myself taking him on too many dynasty teams.
Marvin Mims was a big winner and will be a value pick in the second round of our rookie drafts.
The bottom line is there is a gap from WR1 overall to WR2. All in all, this is a worse group of WRs than the previous two seasons, but there are some intriguing players near the top and an elite prospect in Smith-Njigba. The narrative that “this WR group is bad” will create buying opportunities in dynasty- just be selective with who you target.
6) I love this RB class
Robinson is my dynasty RB1 overall without ever playing a down, and I am very excited about Gibbs. But there is more to this class than those two. There is depth galore. Much like the TE group, this could be a transformative class. Two years from now, this class will have multiple RBs across the RB1 and RB2 rankings in redraft and dynasty.
Zach Charbonnet was a big winner for me. He posted a strong 40-yard dash and vertical jump. While many teams will utilize RBBC, Charbonnet projects as a potential three-down bell cow RB. He has elite college production and has the measurables to back it up. If rookie drafts were held today, he would be in contention for the 1.04 /1.05.
The 2023 RB class is ready to explode onto the scene 💥 pic.twitter.com/vEYgmQsZ4r
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 7, 2023
Devon Achane is another back I will be higher on than consensus. He is only 182 pounds, but is explosive and was productive in the SEC. His 4.32 40-yard dash was what we wanted to see out of a smaller back. I will take an optimistic approach with him. The team who drafts him will have a plan for using him. RB1 seasons are not likely, but he can put up RB2-type production. There are always risks in drafting smaller players, but Achane can do a lot with lesser volume. He is quicker than a hiccup.
The strength of this class lies in its depth. Two RBs I want a lot of in dynasty are Tyjae Spears and Roschon Johnson. Johnson ran his 40-yard dash at 4.59, which was disappointing, but he now becomes an early second round type instead of a mid-first-rounder. If he lands well, he will be the type of player I want in the early second round of rookie drafts. Spears did not run the 40 yard dash, but he weighed in over 200 pounds and has the explosiveness and shiftiness to be a productive NFL RB. I want a lot of Spears. Israel Abanikanda is another back who I am keeping my eyes on over the next few weeks. He did not run at the combine but could be a riser with a robust pro day.
Tank Bigsby and Zach Evans both lost some value at the combine. Bigsby lacked explosiveness, and Evans was smaller than anticipated. Landing spots will matter for both.