11 Potential Fantasy Football Players Who Turned Heads at the NFL Combine

Mar 06, 2023
11 Potential Fantasy Football Players Who Turned Heads at the NFL Combine

The NFL Combine is the first big event of the 2023 offseason and despite the optics of the spandex Olympics, it does provide some clarity on which rookie prospects to focus on for fantasy football purposes. Let’s take a look at who dazzled last weekend in Indianapolis, possibly improving draft stock and earning themselves a potential spot at the fantasy table for 2023.

More NFL Combine & Rookie Content: 2023 NFL Combine Results | Scott Smith's NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0 | 10 Fantasy Relevant Rookies: A First Look |


Anthony Richardson (Florida)

Expectations for Anthony Richardson were high coming in, but his performance crushed at every level and beyond. The QB set combine records in the vertical and broad jumps with 40.50” and 10’9” respectively, and at 6’4”, 244 pounds, ran a 4.43 40-yard dash which was also the fastest at his position.

His passing portion of this event was a mixed bag, but with his clear athleticism and frame, Richardson cemented himself as a top prospect. With a few QB-needy teams at the top of the draft board, Houston or Indianapolis seem like the best landing spots for real-life and fantasy football. Right now Richardson boasts an Underdog ADP in the late 14th round which could climb if he lands in a spot with early-starting potential.

C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)

Stroud did not participate in any of the athletic tests, but the 6’3”, 214-pound QB threw laser darts at the WR group on Saturday. He was fast, accurate, and showed legitimate arm strength.

We could see early picks like Indy, Houston, or the Raiders take the former Buckeye which is a good thing for the fantasy world, but he could also land with the Lions, Seahawks, or Falcons with a small chance to play in his first season.

Wide Receivers

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

The Ohio State product elected to not run the 40-yard dash, but his 20-yard shuttle run was the fastest among the WR class at 3.93, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba also led the 3-cone drill with a 6.57. His receiver work was impressive as well, particularly in change-of-direction drills.

Smith-Njigba is currently a fifth-rounder in Underdog best ball drafts with an ADP of 57.1, and his NFL Draft stock could climb if he clocks a fast 40 time at his Pro Day. Some fantasy-positive landing spots for the WR include the Chargers, Ravens, or Patriots.

Quentin Johnson, WR (TCU)

Another WR who didn’t participate in the 40-yard dash, Quentin Johnson impressed in every other way. He showcased incredible leaping ability with his 40.50” vertical jump and also shined in the on-field drills. Johnson’s downfield-catch prowess was a strength that should turn some heads in scouting offices around the league.

The former Horned Frog secured his spot as one of the top wideouts in this year’s class and should continue to be selected in the single-digit rounds of fantasy drafts regardless of landing spot in the NFL.

Trey Palmer, WR (Nebraska)

There hasn’t been much hype surrounding Trey Palmer, but in a weaker draft class at the position, his combine performance could parlay into a bump in draft stock. Palmer ran a blazing 4.33 40-yard dash, which led the WR group and was the fourth-quickest among all 300+ participants. He showed agility and burst in the on-field drills and caught an impressive bomb from Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.

Palmer won’t crack the top few tiers of the rookie WR class, but given the right landing spot, showed he has the potential to outperform his current 20th-round Underdog ADP as WR116.

Bryce Ford-Wheaton, WR (West Virginia)

This is another wideout with fantasy sleeper potential heading into the 2023 season. Bryce Ford-Wheaton checked in at a massive 6’4”, 221 pounds, yet ran the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash among WRs (4.38), and tied for the highest vertical jump at his position (41.00”).

If he can translate his clear athleticism to the NFL and gets drafted by a weaker WR room, we could see a Christian Watson-like start to Ford-Wheaton’s career, smashing his current final-round ADP.

Running Backs

Bijan Robinson (Texas)

There were no real surprises from the clear RB1 in this year’s draft class, but I had to include him since his performance solidified Bijan Robinson’s elite draft stock. The Texas RB ran a decent 40-yard dash at 4.46 and was fourth in the broad jump with the sixth-highest vertical among rushers. Where he excelled was in the on-field drills, showcasing his well-rounded ability with solid feet and pass-catching chops.

Robinson is being mocked as an NFL first-rounder and boasts an ADP of 14.4 in early Underdog drafts.

Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)

We’re not dealing with a big, bruising back, but Jahmyr Gibbs ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash at his position and showed an effortless rushing ability in the on-field drills. Gibbs also caught his share of passes and could be a nice asset in fantasy leagues that use points-per-reception formats. The Alabama product could fit into any offensive scheme in the league and is being drafted in the RB-Dead Zone at pick 59.3.

Tyjae Spears (Tulane)

While he chose not the run the 40-yard dash, Tyjae Spears crushed both the broad and vertical jumps. He looked very smooth in his running portion of the drills and most likely improved his NFL Draft situation with a solid performance. Like many rookie RBs, Spears has that late-season-surge potential and is currently valued as RB46 with a late-13th-round price tag in Underdog drafts. Landing spot and training camp could spike his value in the coming months.

Tight Ends

Darnell Washington (Georgia)

Brock Bowers stole most of the TE limelight at UGA last season, but Darnell Washington stepped out of the shadows last weekend. At 6’6”, 265 pounds, the former Bulldog ran a 4.64 40-yard dash and made this extraordinary catch on Saturday night.

While rookie TEs rarely make great fantasy choices, the landscape at the position is extremely dry so grabbing Washington as a late-round dart in best ball drafts could prove beneficial. Right now, the monstrous TE carries a 20th-round ADP, but I suspect it will climb after his impressive combine showing.

Luke Musgrave (Oregan State)

The former Beaver’s measurables were all on par, but the most important aspect of the NFL Combine for Luke Musgrave was his knee. He was limited to just two games last season for Oregon State and everything checked out for him knee-wise throughout the weekend. Musgrave’s elite receiving ability plants him as one of the top TE prospects in this class and with the TE position so incredibly feast or famine for fantasy purposes, we could see him outproducing his dart-throw ADP (231.6) given the right situation.

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