January 17, 2021

How Courtland Sutton’s injury affects his fantasy value

5 min read
Courtland’s Sutton’s 2020 season is officially over thanks to a variety of injuries, but most...

Courtland’s Sutton’s 2020 season is officially over thanks to a variety of injuries, but most specifically an injury to his left knee. Sutton was largely considered a WR2 for fantasy football and someone a lot of fantasy managers were relying on heading into this season. Even though his redraft value is effectively zero now that he’s on IR, let’s see if Sutton’s injury is something to be worried about in dynasty formats going forward.

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Courtland Sutton at the 2018 NFL Draft

Sutton was a top prospect when he was selected by the Denver Broncos with the eighth pick of the second round (40th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. He had a 9.81 RAS, fourth best among WRs that year behind DJ Chark, Dylan Cantrell, and Equanimeous St. Brown. His score also meant that in terms of the metrics available, he was better than 98% of all prospects to enter the draft going back to 1987. Quite a feat, to say the least.

For comparison, the only two receivers drafted ahead of Sutton in 2018 were D.J. Moore at pick 24 and Calvin Ridley at pick 26. Moore had a 9.7 RAS and Ridley had a 5.27 RAS, both behind Sutton. Sutton was in great company in terms of physical measurables entering the league and was primed to be his team’s WR1 in no time.

Sutton’s metrics on the field in 2019

On the field, Sutton has stood out as well. Last season, in his second year, Sutton had an overall Offensive Value Metric (OVM) score of 36.25 which puts him in the elite category. Again, comparing him to Moore and Ridley shows just how well he performed, with Moore scoring a 38.24 and Ridley scoring a 26.4 for 2019. Both Moore and Ridley are considered rising talents on the cusp of being WR1s in fantasy football, which is right where Sutton should be too.

Sutton played in all 16 games in 2019, catching 72 passes on 124 targets for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. In fantasy, he finished at WR19 in PPR scoring with 222.42 points and as WR27 in PPR points per game with 13.9. He finished the year as a WR2 but his points per game left fantasy managers wanting more some weeks, meaning he was still a little boom/bust to be a truly dominant force.

For fantasy managers, consistent scoring is key, and PFN’s Consistency Score shows how well a player can score meaningful fantasy points. It doesn’t only measure a player’s ability to consistently score fantasy points, it also factors in the number of points scored. The higher your CS, the “better” your consistency is and the higher your fantasy scores tend to be.

Sutton scored a CS of 4.56 for 2019, WR19, putting him just ahead of Ridley at 4.47 and behind Moore at 5.69. Based on all of the numbers, Sutton was looking ahead to a stellar 2020 as long as he would continue to grow and advance as expected, and fantasy managers who rostered him were ready for it.

Courtland Sutton’s injury to start 2020

Sutton’s injury history is pretty much a blank page. He suffered a back injury in 2014 which forced him to redshirt that year, but since entering the NFL he’s been the picture of perfect health. There weren’t any red flags or previous injuries that could resurface or cause fantasy managers to worry about his availability week to week.

This is why it came as such a shock when it was announced that Sutton injured his shoulder in practice leading up to the Monday night season opener against the Tennessee Titans. He went to the locker room at practice, and it was released soon thereafter that he would miss Week 1. Fantasy managers immediately went into panic mode. Would this be a long term problem or would he be able to come back soon?

Related | How will the Broncos move forward after injuries hit several key players?

Luckily enough, Sutton was indeed able to manage the shoulder pain and play in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, midway through the third quarter, Sutton left the game with what was said to be cramps, finishing the game (and eventually his season) with three receptions on six targets for 66 yards.

After the game, it came out that he had torn his ACL at the end of the first half and tried to play on it anyway. What a ballsy move. I can only imagine the pain he must have been going through. In any case, ACL injuries generally take a while to recover from, so Sutton’s season was over almost as soon as it began, with him only suiting up for one game before the team placed him on season-ending injured reserve.

Looking ahead to Courtland Sutton’s dynasty value

ACL injuries are not pleasant, but they are becoming somewhat commonplace in NFL, especially this season without preseason games or offseason activities to get players up to speed. That being said, an ACL injury could be a disaster for a speedy receiver if not handled properly. Odds are good that Sutton will recover and return ready to play at the start of the 2021 season, so what should you do with him in dynasty formats?

Related | Courtland Sutton’s 2020 Bets and Dynasty Outlook

The easy answer is if you have him, hold on to him. The only real reason I would advocate for selling is if someone is willing to offer you the moon and your team is otherwise set up to win now. Sutton wasn’t likely going to make or break your year since he probably wasn’t your top WR heading into the 2020 season. If he was, then you have bigger problems and should definitely look at rebuilding for the future.

If your team has been hit hard by the injury bug through two weeks, and you don’t think you have a chance to recover at all, then Sutton is a fine trade target if the situation is right. I wouldn’t recommend overpaying for him exactly, but he could easily be a stud WR for years down the road, and grabbing assets when they’re distressed is a good long-term dynasty play. On teams where you’re vying for the title, don’t bother looking his way, but on teams where you’re struggling, he could be a terrific addition at a great price.

Continue to visit the Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis like the #PFNOSM data, and be sure to keep coming back to our fantasy football section for more fantasy football coverage.

Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering the NFL and Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF.

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