Courtland Sutton has been a huge fantasy football riser for the past two seasons. After a promising rookie year with the Denver Broncos, he came into his own as the team’s number one receiver in 2019. After finishing the season with what looked like a great connection with his young quarterback Drew Lock, he looked poised to continue growing in 2020. Nevertheless, the team took a wide receiver in the first round of this year’s draft, putting some question marks on Sutton’s ceiling. This should be causing fantasy team owners to question his current price tag in re-draft.
Fantasy Football Preview: Courtland Sutton
Career in Review
Sutton had a very promising rookie year, catching 42 passes for 704 yards and four touchdowns. His role was small for the first part of the year, playing mostly behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. He didn’t see more than six targets per game in the first 11 weeks. However, Sutton showed signs of things to come in the final five games. During that span, he only had less than six targets once and hogged up ten targets in Week 16. He wasn’t necessarily fantasy-relevant yet, but he was on people’s radar in 2019.
Sutton’s emergence caused the Broncos to trade Thomas away in 2018, and as he continued to progress, there were rumors that their other veteran Sanders was next on the trade block. That rumor came to fruition when he was shipped off to the San Francisco 49ers, leaving Sutton as the unquestioned top dog at Mile High.
On the season, Sutton absorbed 72 of his 125 targets and translated them into 1,112 yards. He did this behind a statuesque Joe Flacco who eventually gave way to rookie quarterback Drew Lock. Lock started the final five games of the year and developed a quick chemistry with Sutton. After giving Sutton his lowest target amount of the year his first start, he locked in on him the rest of the season, targeting him an average of 8.75 times the next four games.
While there are a lot of variables coming into this season, Lock is still a player trending upward. The team added more weapons for their young quarterback after drafting Jerry Jeudy in the first round of the 2020 draft. They also added their divisional rival’s former top running back Melvin Gordon to complement undrafted star, Phillip Lindsay. And don’t forget about Noah Fant, who showed a ton of potential in his rookie year.
Some might worry that Jeudy will cut into Sutton’s targets. While it is a possibility, it shouldn’t affect his output too much. Sutton does just fine with another wide receiver also garnering attention in coverage. In fact, some of his best games came when Sanders was still with the team. Week 1 he totaled 120 receiving yards. Week 4 was his best fantasy output, where he snagged two touchdowns and saw the third-most targets of the year.
He also still plays in a division with burnable secondaries. The Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs were both ranked in the bottom half of the league in 2019. However, he also sees the Los Angeles Chargers twice a year, who was not only the sixth-best passing defense, but they also stole away four-time pro bowl corner Chris Harris. And fantasy players should take note that they visit Los Angeles in Week 16 – the fantasy championship.
A final thing to consider about Sutton is efficiency. In his career to this point, he has a dismal 54 percent catch rate. Some of this could be attributed to his quarterbacks not throwing him catchable targets, as he was not credited with any drops according to NBC Sports. Plus, he improved from 50 to 58 percent in his rookie year. Still, if he doesn’t start to reel in more catches, his target share could go down.
Courtland Sutton ADP and Outlook
Sutton is a wide receiver who is a bit of a tough sell for his ADP. ESPN puts him as the WR14, but FantasyPros balances that back out with a WR19 rating. This is because Sutton seems to have hit his ceiling year two. He is talented, but with the addition of Jeudy, may not even be the most talented on his team. A few names that had better seasons that Sutton include A.J. Brown, Tyler Lockett, and Keenan Allen. Many of them are rated even lower than Sutton, some even a round or two later.
Aside from receivers, there are still some high tier running backs that are likely still on the board at that slot. Chris Carson, Todd Gurley, and Leonard Fournette hold much higher values. Then players can return next round and take either Lockett or Allen, or even wait a few rounds later and grab names like Jarvis Landry or D.K. Metcalf. With so many mouths to feed in Denver, Sutton’s price in drafts just might be too high this season.
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