Please form an orderly single-file line for your Anthony Richardson shares...
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter:
- The top combine performers at each position
- What will the Ravens do with Lamar Jackson?
- OverReaction Monday: Combine and Daniel Jones
- Fantasy Fixers: Buccaneers
- It's 3/6. Take it away, Peter Overzet.
The 2023 NFL combine is in the books, which means it's time to reshuffle the rookies with this new, valuable data point.
Here are my top performers at each position in Indy...
🚀 QB: Anthony Richardson
Sure, other players were at the NFL Combine—hundreds of them, even—but no one dominated the weekend to the extent that Richardson did. Check this out:
- 4.43 40-yard dash (fourth among QBs since 2003)
- 40 1/2-inch vertical jump (best since 2003)
- 10-foot-9 inch broad jump (best since 2003)
To put things in perspective, here's how Richardson's measurables stack up to other NFL stars:
- At 6'4 1/4", he's taller than George Kittle
- With 10 1/2" hands, he has bigger mitts than DeAndre Hopkins
- He has a higher vertical jump than Davante Adams
- And a longer broad jump than Odell Beckham Jr.
Whatever "out of this world" descriptors you want to use (however cliché they may be) are fully justifiable in the case of Richardson.
On Tuesday, we mentioned that he was already screaming up draft boards and it's only going to intensify after this weekend. His odds to be the first pick in the NFL Draft are now all the way up to +300 at some books (+500 on MGM if you want the best price).
People are out here taking him in the 4th round of Underdog Drafts. Read on for more about his draft odds.
Have we collectively lost our minds? Certainly. But is it fun as hell to do so? Absolutely.
Honorable Mention: CJ Stroud, who impressed everyone during the throwing sessions.
🚀 WR: Jaxon Smith-Njigba
There was some initial concern about JSN after he elected to not run the 40, but he erased those with the rest of his combine performance.
His marks in the agility drills are some of the best we've ever seen:
- 6.57 3-cone time (12th best for WRs since 2007)
- 3.93 20-yard shuttle (4th best)
ESPN's draft Analyst Jordan Reid said Smith-Njigba "looked different than his counterparts" and "looked the part of a WR1."
Considering the middling performances of the other marquee WRs at the combine, JSN looks like the favorite to be the first WR off the board.
Honorable Mention: Marvin Mims, who ran a 4.38 forty and posted explosive numbers in both the vertical and broad jump.
🚀 RB: Jahmyr Gibbs
Everyone knows Bijan Robinson is the crown jewel of this RB class, but Gibbs solidified himself as the clear No. 2 with a blazing 4.36-forty time:
Roll Tide. Jahmyr Gibbs runs a 4.36u on his 2nd attempt!
@AlabamaFTBL | @Jahmyr_Gibbs1
📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
📱: Stream on NFL+
— NFL (@NFL)
Mar 5, 2023
Hardly any of the RBs did the agility drills, including Gibbs, but his speed alone should solidify him as a second round draft pick.
Honorable Mention: Devon Achane, who ran an even slightly faster time at 4.32.
🚀 TEs: A bunch of 'em
Daniel Jeremiah is on record saying this is one of the best TE classes of the past decade and no lies were detected at this weekend's combine. Here are some of the highlights:
- Old Dominion's Zack Kuntz topped all the TE leaderboards at the combine with a 4.55 forty (1st), 10'8" broad jump (1st), and 40" vertical (1st).
- Georgia's Darnell Washington recorded a 4.08-second short shuttle, which is the fastest by a player weighing at least 260 lbs since Frank Clark in 2015. He's also massive.
- Iowa's Sam LaPorta did his part to help the Hawkeyes maintain their "Tight End U" status with impressive all-around numbers.
Honorable Mention: Michael Mayer, the presumed top TE off the board didn't test as well as the others (4.7 forty), but crushed the gauntlet drills and still looks poised to be a volume monster.
The NFL offseason is now in full swing with coaching changes, free agency and the NFL draft reshaping the 2023 fantasy football landscape. With that in mind, the Fantasy Life squad is breaking down every NFL team to determine what went wrong in 2022 and identify paths to improvement. Geoff is here to take on our next project, the Bucaneers...
👷 Team Summary
The Buccaneers of 2022-23 were an aging team trying to hold on for one more shot at glory. They failed miserably and now will enter 2023-24 in the midst of an identity crisis with aging veterans hogging up valuable cap space the team could use to rebuild.
For 2022-23 the Bucaneers ranked:
- 25th in yards per pass attempt
- 20th in EPA per play on offense
- 14th in pass plays of 20+ yards / 16th in pass plays of 40+ yards
The Buccaneers were an abject disaster running the ball. They ranked 30th in offensive rush DVOA in 2022, and last in yards per carry, rush yards per game and rushing TDs per game.
There are some interesting fantasy prospects for next season with both Rachaad White and Cade Otton, but the team enters with a ton of question marks – most notably at quarterback, where Kyle Trask is currently listed atop the depth chart.
New offensive coordinator Dave Canales will have his work cut out for him and needs to work the same magic with Trask that he did with Geno Smith last season. The team’s cap space will likely mean the Buccaneers don’t make a huge splash in free agency and will have to shore up their depth chart with savvy drafting.
🚧 Fantasy Fixer Recommendations
1. Get some Trask Insurance
As of writing, the only quarterback under contract for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is Kyle Trask. His only professional experience came in a meaningless Week 18 game last season against the Falcons:
Trask is a hulking pocket quarterback at 6’5, 235 lbs and feels like the type of player who will get absolutely cooked behind a Tampa Bay offensive line that lost numerous players last off-season.
Making a run at one of the top four quarterbacks in the draft will be difficult, but Tampa Bay at least has the capital to try.
Trask could work out, but his player-profile is definitely not what you’d call ideal for the modern NFL game. Tampa Bay needs some kind of fall back option and would be wise to invest at the draft.
2. Cut Leonard Fournette & Let Rachaad White Cook
The Buccaneers are mired in cap-hell. They now sit $55 million over the projected 2023 salary cap of $225 million and are without any room to resign any of their core players.
Cutting Leonard Fournette will save the Buccaneers 3.5 million dollars in cap space and free up some money to spend elsewhere. Fournette averaged 3.5 rush yards per carry last season and posted a career-low 1.5 yards after contact. Recent reports suggest that Fournette's time in TB is all but finished.
The #Bucs plan to release RB Leonard Fournette when the new league year begins March 15, per sources.
GM Jason Licht mentioned recently that he felt Fournette was still a three-down back in this league. “Lombardi Lenny” is still only 28 and has plenty in the tank.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero)
Feb 28, 2023
Rookie Rachaad White wasn’t exceptional on the ground either, but he still managed to out-produce Fournette in efficiency:
Tampa Bay was last in pretty much every rushing metric last season and had just three rushes of 20+ yards.
They’d do well to release Fournette, give the starting job to White, and then look to reinvest in some speed later in the draft where players like Keaton Mitchell , who had nine rushes of 15+ yards last season in college – could be available into day three.
3. Reinvest in the WR position
The Buccaneers may have to make some tough choices at WR soon, as both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin showed some severe signs of regression last season.
Evans saw his catch rate in 2022-23 fall by over 4% over the previous year, and he also has a $23,698,500 cap hit for next season. His dead cap space hit would fall to $9,198,500 if they cut him after June 1, 2023.
On first inspection, Godwin’s case looks even direr.
He struggled to a 5.7 aDOT and produced just a 97.2 passer rating when targeted in 2022-23, the first time in his career this number slipped under 100.0 for a season.
Despite Evans’ cap hit, Tampa Bay seems likely to keep both their top WRs for the new season, but they’d still do well to go after some new talent in the draft – which would at least give themselves some options as they approach June 1.
🤔 What will the Ravens do with Lamar Jackson? Some around the league have an idea.
💍 Congrats to Darren Waller! Dare I say, nice catch?
💸 The Saints are up to something. Making room for Derek Carr perhaps?
😲 Were the Falcons really that bad? Sorry Arthur
🤝 Is this a fair comp for Bryce Young? Tough maybe, but fair.
🤣 Travis Kelce on SNL. Not a bad Mahomes impression.
🕵️♂️ A wild story from the XFL. I'd watch a 30-for-30 on it.
🦶 Kicker news! He's good as gone.
We're humans who play fantasy football, which means we are prone to overreact. Today, Kendall leads us in overreacting to combine weekend...
😲 Let’s Overreact to the Combine!
Alright, we know we’re in a bit of a slow period within the NFL, so why not overreact to the Combine?!
It’s time to start with the Combine “darling” in Anthony Richardson. Let’s just say he had himself A DAY. He set the QB record for vertical jump with a 40.5", ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and recorded a 10’9” broad jump.
Anthony Richardson shattered quarterback records at the #NFLCombine, earning a maximum athleticism score of 99 (pending official numbers).
QB Combine Ranks (since 2003):
🔸 40-Yard Dash: 4.44 (2nd)
🔸 Broad Jump: 10'9" (1st)
🔸 Vertical Jump: 40.5" (1st)
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— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats)
Mar 4, 2023
Let's be realistic, though. The chances of Richardson jumping ahead of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young are slim, but the show he put on skyrocketed his draft stock.
It’s early in the year, so the Combine is the best thing we get to react to until the NFL Draft — soak it all in, ladies and gentlemen.
🤏 Daniel Jones leaves empty handed
Another piece of news coming from the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine was from Daniel Jones’ camp. Tom Pelissero reported that Jones’ agents are expected to leave with no contract resolution in sight. The deadline to franchise tag players is March 7th and we can now expect the Giants to tag Jones before Tuesday.
The non-exclusive franchise tag would give the Giants the right to keep Jones at a one-year deal of $32.416 million.
This makes the most sense for both sides since a deal can’t be reached. He is coming off his best season — throwing for 3,205 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. Oh yeah, and running for 708 yards and seven touchdowns. The clock is ticking.