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Dynasty Player Profile: Courtland Sutton (2022 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Player Profile: Courtland Sutton (2022 Fantasy Football)

Career Contextualization

Courtland Sutton was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of SMU and was immediately productive. He finished second on the Broncos in nearly every receiving category behind Emmanuel Sanders.

It was a sign of big things to come for the 6-foot-3 wide receiver, who would go on to have a monster second-year campaign. 

Sutton finished as the fantasy WR19 (WR26 in points per game, 23% target share) in half-point PPR scoring on the back of 72 catches for 1,112 receiving yards and six touchdowns. His quarterbacks were Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Brandon Allen.

The big-bodied wideout finished the season top 10 in red-zone targets and sixth in receiving yards on throws of 20-plus air yards (427). He had one fewer red-zone target than Cooper Kupp. Sutton’s 2.08 yards per route run tied with Kupp for eighth best among receivers with at least 100 targets.

Entering Year 3, it looked like Sutton was on the cusp of true elite fantasy WR1 production, but his 2020 season was lost due to a torn ACL in Week 2. It was unclear how productive Sutton would be returning from the devastating knee injury.

But to start the 2021 season, the Broncos wide receiver looked like his old self. He averaged 13.8 fantasy points per game (17th) and had a 27% target share in Weeks 2-7 during the regular season. 

It wasn’t until Jerry Jeudy‘s return from injury that Sutton – and the rest of the Broncos pass catchers – became obsolete in a crowded, run-heavy offense led by a combination of Lock/Teddy Bridgewater. Nevertheless, Sutton finished the season as the fantasy WR46. 

However, even in the anemic offense, Sutton still finished seventh in air yards (1,756), cemented in between Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, in 2021.

Sutton also signed a four-year, $61 million contract extension with the Broncos in November that will run through the 2025 season. 

Current Situation

Sutton has a real chance to recapture his elite form another year removed from his ACL injury. It also helps substantially that he has received an ultra upgrade at the quarterback position with Denver’s trade for Russell Wilson

Wilson has always been an elite downfield passer – he had the sixth-highest passer rating on throws of 20-plus air yards last season – which plays heavily into Sutton’s strengths as a vertical threat.

Based on the receiver’s track record of commanding targets near the pylon, I’d also expect Sutton to emerge as Wilson’s go-to red-zone target. He led the Broncos in red-zone targets in 2021 and led all WRs in target rate inside the 10-yard line in 2019.

Wilson has an affinity for attacking receivers in the red zone; a Seattle WR has finished top-five in red-zone targets for three straight seasons.

General Prediction for 2022 and Rest of Career

The fit between Wilson and Sutton could not be better for 2022 and beyond. And I’m not afraid to say that Sutton will be this year’s Cooper Kupp – a wide receiver drafted in the middle rounds of redraft leagues who takes a massive leap. The similarities between the two situations are uncanny. 

Major quarterback upgrade, wide receiver entering Year 5, another season removed from an ACL injury, history of commanding red-zone targets and high-end past production were all reasons why you should have bought Kupp before the start of the 2021 season. And they are all reasons to be aggressive acquiring Sutton in dynasty before this season kicks off.

He’s still reasonably affordable because of how strong the Jerry Jeudy hype is, despite the fact that the latter has still yet to do anything worthwhile in terms of fantasy two years into his NFL career. 

At age 26, Sutton has the chance to eclipse peak production over the next several years with Wilson as his quarterback.

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