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Courtland Sutton Will Be A Lot More Valuable A Year From Now

Courtland Sutton was drafted No. 40 overall by the Denver Broncos. Though Denver has two established wide receivers under contract for 2018, Sutton should step into a prominent role as early as 2019.

Tape watchers liked Sutton, as he consistently ranked near the top of the RotoViz Scouting Index. Plus, he has “phototypical” size for an NFL WR1. He earned a 39.3 percent share of SMU’s receiving yards at age 21 in 2016. But his age-22 season was not as dominant, probably knocking him out of Round 1.

We at RotoViz liked, but didn’t “like like” Sutton. D.J. Moore demolished him in the Final Four of our WR prospect bracket.

Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist, 6-3, 218

Final Age: 22.2
Forty: 4.54
Vert: 35.5
Broad: 124
Cone: 6.57
Shuttle: 4.11

Raw and Market Share College Production

 RecYardsAVGTDMS YardsMS TDsDOM
20154986217.6933.047.440.2
201676124616.41039.345.542.4
201762108516.01228.434.331.4

Sutton was SMU’s top receiver as a redshirt freshman in 2015 and again in 2016, posting dominant yardage and touchdown shares. But LSU transfer Trey Quinn usurped him in 2017, leading the team in receiving yards and touchdowns.

Advanced Statistics

Breakout AgePhenom IndexFS Market ShareFreak ScoreAmico ProjectionScout Rank
200.6228.463156.93

Sutton posted solid measurable athleticism, with a Freak Score just one point below Moore’s. His age-20 breakout provides only a hint of how productive Sutton was in 2015 and 2016. And while the sharp decline in 2017 is a concern,  the most likely explanation is that Quinn provided an easy outlet with opposing defenses focused on Sutton.

NFL Opportunity

Denver places near the middle of the pack in air yards available for 2018.

chart

But WR duo Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders earned a whopping 57 percent of Denver’s air yards in 2017. Sanders turned 31 in March, while Thomas turns 31 this December. And both could be released next offseason with more than $10 million in cap savings. If Sutton proves himself worthy of a starting spot, he’ll likely push one of them out next season.

Fantasy Outlook

The Broncos have one of the most concentrated passing attacks in the league, with Sanders and Thomas leaving only crumbs for anyone else. As such, Sutton should remain undrafted in typical redraft leagues, and he’s at best a late-round dart throw in best ball.

In dynasty, though, he’s a reasonable target anywhere in the second round. It’ll be tough to draft him ahead of Moore or Calvin Ridley, but I’m happy taking him as the third WR off the board. No one will expect much production from him, so he’s quite likely to gain value heading into next offseason. In shallow-roster leagues like the FFPC, don’t bother, though. Unless he’s an unstoppable force in the preseason, Sutton needs an injury to Thomas or Sanders for a chance at fantasy relevance in 2018. Better to let him spend a year clogging someone else’s roster.

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