From identifying draft-day values and busts all off-season, to the start/sit and waiver-wire advice to lead you to the playoffs, the Redraft Roundtable has you covered. All year Anthony Zaragoza, Matt Jones, Michael Stephenson, Aaron Larson, and myself answer all the questions that have the fantasy football community abuzz. Have a specific fantasy football issue you want addressed? Tweet your questions to @DFF_Redraft or any of our Roundtable experts using #RedraftRoundtable. Today, we share or impressions of the recent NFL Combine and pinpoint those players who COULD make an instant impact given the right landing spot.
Identify an offensive player from the 2018 NFL Combine whose performance/measurables impressed you. Why?
Josh Brickner: DJ Chark LSU, WR
Plagued by poor QB play during his tenure in Baton Rouge, Chark had his best chance to date to showcase his skill set and did not disappoint. The LSU product had the fastest 40-yd dash time (4.34) among WRs while adding a 40” vertical leap and 16 reps on the bench. According to ESPN, he is the first player to hit those thresholds at the Combine in 12 years. Chark proved to everyone watching he has the athleticism to be a true deep-threat in the NFL and certainly worked himself into the Round 1 conversation.
Anthony Zaragoza: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
The obvious pick is Saquon Barkley, who stole the show on day 1 of the Combine. But it was Chubb who may have vaulted himself into first round consideration with his performance last week. The Georgia Bulldog matched Barkley’s 29 reps on the bench press, and ran a faster forty-time (4.52 sec) then teammate Sony Michel (4.54). Not to mention, Chubb also had the second-best broad jump and tied for third in the vertical jump with Justin Johnson from Northwestern. In a class full of Running Back studs, Chubb definitely stood out.
Matt Jones: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
I guess I’ll take the easy road here and talk about Mr. Barkley. Imagine being one of the most highly anticipated participants at the combine with nowhere to go but down and blowing everyone’s expectations out of the water? It may sound like hyperbole, but he did just that this week. Barkley posted a 4.4 flat forty-yard dash (96th Percentile) and 29 reps on the bench press (96th Percentile), according to Player Profiler. I’m not a math major or anything, but 96th percentile is pretty solid. He also had a 149.8 SPARQ-x score based on his metrics at the combine, which is 99th percentile.
Michael Stephenson: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
Freeman is the all-time Pac-12 touchdown leader, amassing 60 rushing touchdowns and 4 receiving scores in 51 games. Freeman’s biggest weakness has been cited as his lack of speed and elusiveness in recent years when compared to his first couple of seasons, but at the combine he measured in the top 3 among all RBs in the 3-cone, the 20 yard shuttle, and the 60 yard shuttle. With the huge amount of talent around at the position this year i think Freeman is going to end up being an outstanding value, and given the right landing spot, could be fantasy relevant this season.
Aaron Larson: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
This may seem like an odd answer, as Jackson chose not to perform in any of the measurable workouts at the combine. His throwing performance didn’t set the scouting world on fire, but it also didn’t generate any cause for concern. He impressed me with his self-confidence and poise with the media. By all accounts, the former Heisman winner was extremely impressive in his team interviews, giving some executives enough faith to put the future of their franchise in his hands. Jackson has boldly planted his flag and made it clear, he will be an NFL quarterback. I expect the Jackson hype train to gain even more momentum when he actually does run a 40 at his Louisville pro day on March 29.
Identify an offensive player from the 2018 Combine whose performance/measurables gave you cause for concern. Why?
Josh Brickner: Darrel Williams, RB, LSU
Overlooked almost his entire football life, I was hoping to write about how Darrel Williams shined when he finally had everyone’s attention. Sadly, that’s not how things went for the other RB draft prospect from LSU. Both Williams 40 yard dash time (4.72) and vertical jump (32”) would be concerning enough, however, it’s cataclysmic combined with his RB-worst broad jump of 9’1”. A great showing at LSU’s April 4th Pro Day will be needed to rescue his cratering draft stock.
Anthony Zaragoza: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Alabama star had a great 40 time on Saturday (4.43 seconds), but the rest of the day was pretty rough for Calvin Ridley. Ridley finished 34th out of 38 wide receivers in the vertical, dead last in the broad jump (37th), and struggled a bit in the field drills. On a weekend where Barkley separated himself from the pack, Ridley did the opposite. Because of his performance, there could be teams that move Ridley down a spot from their wide receiver rankings.
Matt Jones: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Look, I’m not sure Brown’s performance is going to be a huge deal for his NFL potential, but it’s definitely going to affect his draft stock. It wasn’t just so-so. It was atrocious. Brown came into the combine as a mid-first round pick for some people and left with the 2nd fewest reps on the bench, the slowest forty yard dash, and the worst vertical in the NFL Combine since 2000. If those numbers aren’t cause for concern, I’m not sure what is.
Aaron Larson: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
We already knew that Mayfield was undersized, but Mayfield apologists would point to other undersized quarterbacks Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, who have been hugely successful in the NFL. So how did Mayfield stack up with their combine results? Mayfield’s 40 time (4.84) was on par with Brees (4.85) but quite a bit slower than Wilson’s (4.53). His vertical (29”) was far below both Brees (32”) and Wilson (34”). His broad jump (111”) bested Brees (105”) but fell short of Wilson (118”). Finally, his three-cone drill (7.0) bested Brees (7.09) but was slower than Wilson (6.97). His numbers are close to Brees, who was drafted in the second round by the Chargers and didn’t start during his rookie year. That would be an ideal situation for Mayfield, but if he’s drafted high in the first round and made an immediate starter, it could end poorly.
Which potential rookie can make the biggest immediate fantasy impact in 2018 given they land with the correct team? Name the player and potential landing spot.
Josh Brickner: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU- Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions just need to be honest with themselves; Ameer Abdullah will NEVER be the work-horse RB they thought they were drafting in 2015, and it’s time to move on. Enter Derrius Guice. Guice would give the Lions, and QB Matthew Stafford, a true three-down back for the first time in a long time. Detroit has not had a 100 yard rusher in a game since Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving of 2014, and that dubious honor will enter its 1,246th day on April 26th (draft night) for those keeping score. The Lions can take a proactive step to end that streak by taking the former LSU star with the 20th overall pick. Derrius Guice as a feature back in Jim Bob Cooter’s offense would delight both fantasy footballers and Lions fans alike in 2018.
Anthony Zaragoza: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Timing is everything in the NFL. The release of Doug Martin by the Buccaneers last week opens the door for a new running back to dominate the backfield in Tampa Bay next season. Enter Sony Michel. Michel did it all in his four year career at Georgia: he rushed for 3,613 yards and 33 touchdowns, caught 64 passes, and made a ton of dynamic plays during his time in Athens. The combination of Michael and Tampa Bay will be a match made in heaven for fantasy owners. Plus, the Buccaneers can grab Michael in the second round, allowing them to us their first pick on an offensive lineman.
Matt Jones: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland – Dallas Cowboys
I wanted to talk about Moore because he’s been shooting up many team’s draft boards lately. If you look through older draft grades some people had him as a third rounder, but he’s been rumored as potentially sneaking into the top 20 or so as recently as this week. The Combine did Moore some favors with a 4.42 forty time, and a 95th percentile Speed Score, according to Player Profiler. The things that excited me the most, though, are his breakout age (98th percentile) and his college dominator score (97th percentile). As a Giants fan I hope it isn’t true, but the fit is there for the Dallas Cowboys. If they go in that direction, he could be a valuable addition to a passing game that showed some deficiencies last season.
Michael Stephenson: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia – Indianapolis Colts
As Anthony outlined earlier, Nick Chubb seriously impressed at the combine. With Frank Gore out of the door, the Colts should look no further than the powerhouse Chubb to fill the void he leaves behind. Chubb’s combination of great vision and immense power make him a force between the tackles, and would be the perfect compliment to the dynamic Marlon Mack, who is always capable of breaking a big play, but is not up to the task of playing all 3 downs. The Colts were 2nd in the league in 2017 in run blocking in short yardage situations, which would give Chubb every opportunity to excel in moving the chains and around the goal-line.
Aaron Larson: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn St – Carolina Panthers
I almost chose Gesicki to answer the first question, but he fits too well here as the heir apparent to Greg Olsen in Carolina. Gesicki crushed it when it came to all the measurable tests as the top tight end in the 40-yard dash (4.54 seconds), bench press (22 reps), and vertical jump (41.5”). He would be a perfect fit in Carolina, as the aging Olsen is coming off an injury-plagued 2017, and Ed Dickson is a free agent this offseason. The Panthers need talented pass-catching options for Cam Newton, and Gesicki should be able to step right in improve the Panthers offense from day one.