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Draft or Pass: Courtland Sutton Hype Rising Into Fourth Round ADP

Even a player bound for success can see his ADP rise too fast, too soon. Courtland Sutton has so much going for him, but SI Fantasy expert Ben Heisler feels his price tag is maxed out.

It's never too early to start your fantasy football research, and we here at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best information possible heading into your drafts. Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?

Today's video focuses on Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton.

Draft or Pass at current ADP (average draft position): 43 (WR17)

The Broncos quarterback situation was a disaster from the moment the season started.

Joe Flacco was brought in via trade to help provide a veteran presence and right the ship after the Case Keenum experiment failed in Denver. One could argue it failed the moment John Elway introduced him at the podium by the wrong name!

After Flacco started 2-6 and ended the regular season on injured reserve, it took another three games of Brandon Allen for them to go to their second-round rookie QB Drew Lock finally. Under Lock, Denver played their best football of the season, going 4-1 down the stretch (albeit against an easy schedule) with their only loss coming against the Super Bowl champion Chiefs in Arrowhead in a snowstorm.

Despite all the chaos from the most important position, receiver Cortland Sutton was one of the breakout stars of 2019 for the Broncos. He increased his receptions from 42 to 72, went from 704 receiving yards to 1,112, and upped his touchdowns from four to six. He also led all receivers in TAY% (% share of team air yards) via NFL Next Gen Stats.

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The Broncos didn't pass much to wide receivers last year, finishing with the seventh-fewest WR targets in all of football. So when they did throw, they threw it up to Sutton and hoped for the best.

This season, John Elway and the Denver front office have prioritized help for quality pass catchers to their offense. They drafted stud route-runner Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama in Round 1 and then added in the speedy K.J. Hamler in the second round to play in the slot. Sutton had no competition for targets last year and saw 124 targets go his way, even in double coverage. That will change in 2020.

Over at Mile High Huddle, Chad Jensen discovering a mind-boggling stat that helped explain why teams double-teamed and bracketed Sutton throughout the second half.

According to Pro Football Reference, Sutton led all NFL WRs in broken tackles on receptions. With 12 such plays, Sutton stood alone among WRs... That sort of attention Sutton demands opens up opportunities for other gifted receivers to make an impact. 

You can see why GM John Elway made it such a priority to build the nest around second-year QB Drew Lock this past offseason, drafting WRs Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, as well as sub-4.5-fast tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. The Broncos need other receivers who can be a force to be reckoned with in their own right and make opposing DCs pay when they sell out to stop Sutton.

In a 12-team PPR league, Sutton's ADP currently stands at 43 (WR17), which puts him as a mid-tier fourth-round pick. His talent is no joke, but sometimes it's not just about the skills and more about the opportunity ahead. The Broncos' additions of Jeudy, Hamler through the draft, Melvin Gordon in free agency plus the development of second-year YAC monster Noah Fant may open up more open looks for Sutton. Still, the volume is almost guaranteed to drop.

I love the player, but I don't love his path to targets. I'm passing on Sutton based on his current ADP.