🏃🏿 The Greatest WR Class Of All Time?

Insane Combine performances


We are not Worthy…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by BetMGM:

  • Top performers from the combine

  • R.I.P Chris Mortenson

  • Mike Evans and Kirk Cousins updates

  • Regression Session: Nuk ready to explode in 2024?

  • It’s 3/4. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

Seven WRs were selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

The 2014 draft class yielded a laundry list of future NFL stars.

And yet, this 2024 WR crop could potentially best them all thanks to a fireworks-filled NFL combine that concluded over the weekend.

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller floated the wild idea that we could “perhaps see a record eight WRs drafted in the first round.”

Let’s dive into the top performances that turned heads at the Combine:

🔥 Xavier Worthy breaks the 40-yard dash record

Texas WR Xavier Worthy stole the show on Saturday while blazing a mind-bogglingly fast 4.21 run, giving him the fastest 40 time in combine history:

He was unsatisfied with his first attempt (4.25) but was determined to go for the record.

He also impressed in the vertical leap (41.5 inches) and the broad jump (10’11”), further cementing his status as a first-round pick.

📈 Rome Odunze is no “consolation prize”

Before this weekend, most draftniks placed Washington WR Rome Odunze in a clear tier below Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers, but Odunze showed out in a massive way on Saturday while the former two sat out the drills:

But what really impressed evaluators was Odunze refusing to leave the field while trying to best his initial three-cone drill time:

After this performance, Odunze could easily go Top 10 overall.

💪 Adonai Mitchell is a grown ass man

How is this for a player comp? There have only been two WRs at the combine since 2015 to:

  • Run 4.35 or faster in the 40

  • Measure at least 6’2”

  • Weight at least 205 lbs

DK Metcalf and Adonai Mitchell (h/t Warren Sharp). I guess Mitchell didn’t want to let Worthy hog all the Longhorns limelight.

And he’s not just a physical specimen, as Field notes here.

Jordan Reid thinks he could go as early as 15th overall to the Colts.

Check out the Watercooler below for more impressive combine nuggets.

🙏 R.I.P To Award-Winning Journalist, Chris Mortenson

Absolutely gutted. Incredible journalist but even better person. Helluva FF player too. When I 1st got to ESPN Mort was kind & welcoming to me. Not everyone was. Would have been easier to ignore me but he often pulled me aside to give advice or just listen. He was hilarious too. Him roasting Boomer in the War Room are among my fave memories of ESPN. When I got the job at NBC he called me to congratulate me and tell me how sad he was I wasn't at ESPN anymore but how happy he was for me to be a part of NFL coverage at NBC. RIP to the legend. RIP MORT

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⏱️ A full list of top combine performers. What a class.

🏆️ A Top 10 WR athlete since 1987. And he wasn’t even mentioned in the intro.

💪 2 RBs who crushed the combine. Impressive and even more impressive.

🤯 A tantalizing comp for Xavier Legette. Ya, we’d take that.

🤔 The Falcons top choice at QB? And it’s not Justin Fields?!

💸 Another FA WR is staying put. Mike Evans gets a massive extension.

🤝 San Francisco makes some interesting coaching moves. Always improving.

Regression Session

Who could see positive regression in 2024? Today, Jonathan Fuller answers that question…

The offseason is in full swing, with the NFL Combine last week and free agency right around the corner. The NFL Draft is a bit further out but we are in the thick of mock draft season which gives every fan and fantasy manager endless scenarios to think through. These may be the dark days with no meaningful football in sight, but there is still plenty of news to pay attention to and rumors to speculate on.

As fun as it is to look forward to the events to come, we also shouldn’t move on too quickly from last season. There is still a lot we can learn from diving into the data from 2023 to help us stay one step ahead of our competition in 2024.

Regression Session

🚀 DeAndre Hopkins

The 2023 season was already something of a bounce back campaign for DeAndre Hopkins who topped 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2020. Not only did he stay healthy which allowed him to accumulate season-long stats, he was also more efficient on a per-route and per-catch basis.

Hopkins broke the 2.0 YPRR threshold after two seasons below that mark and also posted his highest yards per reception number (14.1) since the 2017 season which was largely thanks to his career high aDOT of 14.8 yards.

He ranked second among all WRs in team air yard share (44%) and end zone target share (52%), which resulted in a very valuable role for fantasy purposes. The PFF Expected Points model had Hopkins tied for the 12th most expected fantasy points per game among WRs in half PPR scoring. While his actual production was decent, he only finished as the WR29 in actual points per game, which suggests there is significant room for improvement if he maintains a similar role in the Titans offense.

Projecting the Titans offense in 2024 is tricky as they have a new coaching staff and will have plenty of turnover within their playing personnel too. However, if we zoom out, there are a few key pieces of information that suggest it could be a more favorable setup for Hopkins next season.

  1. Derrick Henry is not expected to return to the team.

  2. They had the second-fewest pass attempts in the NFL in 2023. 

  3. Their new HC was previously the OC for a Bengals team that had the seventh most pass attempts during the 2023 season.

Hopkins also showed decent chemistry with rookie QB Will Levis once he took over as the starter. Three of his four best fantasy performances of the season came in games where Levis took the majority of snaps at QB. Although the jury is still out on Levis’ long-term future as an NFL QB, we saw enough to know that he is willing to be aggressive downfield. Levis led all QBs with an average depth of throw of 11.1 yards last season which helped Hopkins record 428 receiving yards on targets of 20+ yards, the most he has had in a season since 2017.

Unless the Titans make a major splash in free agency or the draft, Hopkins seems locked in as the primary target earner in this offense. If the passing volume goes up as expected and Levis makes any kind of leap in his second season the recipe is there for Hopkins to put up even better numbers than we saw in 2023.

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