Game-By-Game Projections: Courtland Sutton (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Courtland Sutton had a breakout season in 2020. Stepping into the role as Denver’s top receiver, Sutton finished the year with 72 receptions for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns, good for low-end WR2 numbers. It’s more impressive when you consider that 11 of Sutton’s 16 games were quarterbacked by the corpse of Joe Flacco and perpetual backup Brandon Allen.
At the beginning of 2020, Sutton’s future, like most things nowadays, looked much brighter than it does now. 2019 second-round pick Drew Lock was going to be under center to start the season after a full offseason to develop. However, Denver did everything it could to help Lock by drafting Jerry Jeudy 15th overall and two more receivers in the draft. They even took a fourth-round tight end and signed free agent running back Melvin Gordon (who has totaled at least 50 receptions the last four seasons). All those additions are great for Lock’s fantasy value, but they will most certainly cut into Sutton’s production.
Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of what Courtland Sutton should contribute to fantasy teams in 2020. Note that these projections use half-PPR scoring.
Week 1: Tennessee vs. Denver
Sutton begins 2020 like he did 2019 — with a big game. He torches the porous Titans secondary for 100 yards and two scores while acting as a reliable target for Lock. He also manages to stave off the young Bronco receivers that were drafted to take his job, at least for this week.
Predicted Stat Line: Six receptions, 105 yards, two touchdowns (25.5 fantasy points)
Week 2: Denver at Pittsburgh
Sutton runs into his first test of the 2020 season against a Pittsburgh team that was third in defensive DVOA last season. And with rookie receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler still not quite ready to draw the attention away from opposing defenses, the Steelers hone in on Sutton and make sure he doesn’t see much daylight.
Predicted Stat Line: Three receptions, 50 yards (6.5 fantasy points)
Week 3: Denver vs. Tampa Bay
Another tough day against a tough defense. On the surface, the Bucs didn’t appear to have a strong defense last year, but they actually finished fifth in DVOA. They didn’t allow a single offense to total more than 400 total yards or 286 passing yards in any game through the last half of the season. Sutton and the Broncos offense run experience their prowess first-hand as they fail to get anything going.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions, 45 yards (6.5 fantasy points)
Week 4: Denver at New York Jets
The streak of running into stout defenses continues, as the Jets are the third-straight team Denver has faced that finished in the top-10 of defensive DVOA. It also culminates in Sutton’s worst game of the young 2020 season with just two receptions. The silver lining — for Denver, not Sutton — is that the rookies are a month into their careers and are starting to round into form.
Predicted Stat Line: Two receptions, 24 yards (3.4 fantasy points)
Week 5: Denver at New England
Despite the difficult matchup, Sutton has a decent day and totals nearly 100 receiving yards. That said, this game is more about Drew Lock finally breaking through and playing halfway decent against touch matchups.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions, 88 yards, one touchdown (16.8 fantasy points)
Week 6: Denver vs. Miami
Finally, a decent matchup for the Broncos offense. Sutton will take full advantage. He manages to record his second 100-yard game of the season, matching his total of two 100-yard games from last year. He also manages to do it in just six weeks compared to the 11 weeks it took him to accomplish that feat last year.
Predicted Stat Line: Five receptions, 110 yards (13.5 fantasy points)
Week 7: Denver vs. Kansas City
The good times won’t last long, as Sutton comes back down to Earth against the division-rival Chiefs. He has a decent track record against them, totaling at least 50 yards in each of his four previous games but never more than 90. The lack of scoring that has plagued Sutton’s season also continues.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions, 69 yards (8.9 fantasy points)
Week 8: Bye
Week 9: Denver at Atlanta
It’s not that the Broncos offense couldn’t get anything going. Rather, it’s the other players on the offense who are starting to step up and take some of the spotlight (and targets) away from Sutton. Jerry Jeudy should have a big day on the turf in Atlanta while Sutton has his worst game of the season.
Predicted Stat Line: Two receptions, 23 yards (3.3 fantasy points)
Week 10: Denver at Las Vegas
It’s not quite 100 yards, but it’s close, and it’s Sutton’s best day in three weeks. The six receptions also tie his season-high from Week 1. But Sutton’s good day won’t preclude Jerry Jeudy from also having a good day as Denver’s offense begins to fire on all cylinders.
Predicted Stat Line: Six receptions, 90 yards (12.0 fantasy points)
Week 11: Denver vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sutton, and his fantasy owners, will gladly take the day he had against the vaunted Chargers secondary. Los Angeles shuts down the entire Broncos offense save for a lone touchdown caught by Sutton. The score saves an otherwise poor fantasy day for the receiver.
Predicted Stat Line: Three receptions, 39 yards, one touchdown (11.4 fantasy points)
Week 12: Denver vs. New Orleans
Despite a good matchup, we have another example of Jerry Jeudy taking over primary receiver duties from Courtland Sutton. It was bound to happen as we get later in the season and Lock and Jeudy develop more of a rapport.
Predicted Stat Line: Five receptions, 40 yards (6.5 fantasy points)
Week 13: Denver at Kansas City
Sutton has usually performed well against the Chiefs, but Week 13 is a mixed bag. He makes some big plays at Arrowhead but doesn’t see many targets and doesn’t score. He looks more and more like a decoy against opposing defenses to open up Jerry Jeudy on the other side of the field.
Predicted Stat Line: Three receptions, 75 yards (9.0 fantasy points)
Week 14: Denver at Carolina
Sutton’s highest yardage total in two months helps the Denver offense take down a new-look Panthers defense in Carolina. The touchdown is bittersweet, as it’s just his fifth one all season and his third in the last 13 games.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions, 92 yards, one touchdown (17.2 fantasy points)
Week 15: Denver vs. Buffalo
Yikes. After a quasi-breakout game in Week 14, Sutton runs into a buzzsaw in the Buffalo defense. It’s not quite the worst game of his season, but it’s close, and it’s just another example of his depreciating fantasy value.
Predicted Stat Line: Two receptions, 30 yards (4.0 fantasy points)
Week 16: Denver at Los Angeles Chargers
In a running theme for Sutton, he looks more like the big-play option in the Denver passing game than the primary target. Case in point is Week 16 against the Chargers, where he only totals four receptions but averages more than 20 yards per.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions, 85 yards (10.5 fantasy points)
Week 17: Denver vs. Las Vegas
The (fantasy) season mercifully comes to an end for Sutton, who finishes the season with another pedestrian stat line. The silver lining is the five receptions are his most in a game since Week 12, over a month ago.
Predicted Stat Line: Five receptions, 63 yards (8.8 fantasy points)
|Week||Opponent||Receptions||Receiving YDs||Receiving TDs||Fantasy Points|
Sutton does well to notch another 1,000-yard season, despite the presence of rookie Jeudy and others, but his numbers drop across the board. Seemingly every other player on the Denver offense benefits from the development of quarterback Drew Lock, except Sutton, who ends up as a low-end WR2.
2019 Stat Line: 72 receptions, 1,112 yards, six touchdowns
2020 Stat Line: 62 receptions, 1,028 yards, five touchdowns
Michael Moore is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @DLF_Moore.