Courtland Sutton’s 2020 Bets and Dynasty Outlook

Courtland Sutton finished 2019 as WR 19 in full-point PPR formats, and he enters next season as one of the hottest dynasty buys. A compelling futures line has Sutton as someone worthy to place a bet on in 2020.

His QB

Question marks around Drew Lock and his ability to sustain a high level of play over a 16-game season likely factors into Sutton’s early 2020 bets profile. The Broncos passing game hinges on his development. I’ve said on The Fantasy Force Podcast that the investments the Broncos put into their offense clearly suggest that this is a make or break year for the second-year signal-caller.

Flacco had moments last year, but the decision to move on from him was one that will benefit the organization in the long run. Should Lock not be able to put the roster over the top, there may almost certainly be an investment made in a first-round QB in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he surely knows that.

The relevant data on Lock is covered in Sutton’s segment of this article, but the biggest takeaway is if Lock continues to target Sutton when he feels the pass rush or any time he has to get rid of the ball quickly, things will go just fine. If Lock takes a step back and starts to panic, we’ll see what Shurmur and the Broncos do to reduce that, possibly including increased shotgun formations, pre-snap motion to diagnose the defense, and half-field reads to limit his responsibility.

His Competition

Another large factor in the under being favored is the Broncos selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. Namely, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler with picks 15 and 46, respectively. Combine that with Noah Fant, Denver’s first-round selection a year ago, alongside free-agent addition Melvin Gordon, and you have some serious competition shaping up for targets. This has created serious doubt that Sutton can repeat his performance from last year.

Now, this assumes the argument that Sutton got all his targets because the surrounding talent either wasn’t quite ready for primetime (Fant), cast in a role they’re not fit for (DaeSean Hamilton) or traded (Emmanuel Sanders). Yet, with all that, it was clear to opposing defensive coordinators that Sutton was the receiving threat they had to stop. Jeudy and Hamler haven’t taken an NFL snap yet, but teams will surely approach the Broncos differently than they did last year.

There were only three occurrences last year of teammates recording over 1,100 receiving yards: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Evans and Godwin), Los Angeles Rams (Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp), and the Dallas Cowboys (Cooper and Gallup). With 630, 632, and 597 passing attempts, respectively, it is unlikely that the Broncos see enough volume to support two players at that level. Shurmur has only passed the low water attempt total twice as an OC at 28.5% of seasons, both occurrences with the Eagles and has never thrown for 630 attempts as an OC.

Training camp will help sort out the pecking order, and certainly, the use of a first and second-round pick speaks to how John Elway and company viewed their WR room after last season. Make no doubt about it though, Courtland Sutton’s play at the NFL level to this point in his career means he is stepping into meetings as the alpha of the group. In his third season, he has the opportunity to set the pace for what could be a high octane offense for the 2020 Denver Broncos.

Andrew Thomas Jordan is an editor and analyst for the Pro Football Network covering Dynasty Football. You can follow him @The_ATJ on Twitter and hear him weekly as co-host of The Fantasy Force Podcast.