Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick Fantasy Outlook After Emmanuel Sanders' Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2018

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton should be in line for his most extensive opportunity to date after Emmanuel Sanders reportedly suffered an Achilles injury Wednesday during practice.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Broncos believe their top wideout suffered a torn Achilles, which would bring an end to his 2018 season. He will undergo testing to receive an official diagnosis.

Sanders missed time last season because of a sprained ankle. He's otherwise remained durable in recent years, appearing in 79 of a possible 80 regular-season games from 2012 through 2016, spanning time with both the Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Let's check out how another absence would alter the Broncos' pecking order in the passing game and the impact those changes will have on the players' fantasy football value.

                 

Courtland Sutton

Although the Broncos already featured Sanders and Demaryius Thomas on the roster, they invested a second-round pick in the 2018 draft on Sutton. It showcased the team's faith in the SMU product's potential, and now he'll be thrust into a spotlight role following Thomas' trade to the Houston Texans and Sanders' injury.

The 23-year-old Texas native was a touchdown machine for the Mustangs, scoring 32 times over his last three collegiate seasons.

His upside combined with the almost guaranteed uptick in usage makes him an obvious waiver-wire target in leagues where he's still on the free-agent market. That number dwindled after the Thomas deal, though. Those who grabbed him early are in line to receive a boost for the fantasy playoffs.

It's best to consider him a fringe No. 2 wide receiver worth starting against weaker secondaries until his production level becomes clear. He could reach guaranteed starter status quickly if he shines in Sanders' absence, though.

                   

Tim Patrick

Patrick has bounced around the NFL since going undrafted in 2017. He made stops with the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers before landing with the Broncos last October.

Now the 25-year-old University of Utah product should finally get a chance to make an impact on a weekly basis.

His role has been sporadic throughout the season, but he did score the first touchdown of his career against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8.

Patrick should push toward fantasy football relevance with Sanders sidelined. He shouldn't be considered more than a flex option at the outset, but his rise up the depth chart makes him worth a roster spot while waiting to see how the new Broncos receiver pecking order forms.

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