Don’t bet on Courtland Sutton leading the team in any category. This has nothing to do with Sutton’s talent or if he’s a WR1, he is. This has to do with money, in particular the huge contracts that elite WR’s signed this offseason. Here are three scenarios:
1) Sutton goes for 120 catches and 1400 yards. In the offseason he will immediately demand a new contract and the Bronco’s won’t be able to give him that because Wilson will also be demanding a 5 year $250M contract. This creates an obvious problem.
2) Hackett et al roll game plans to Jeudy and Patrick. Jeudy goes 100 catches and 1100 yards. he’s on his rookie deal and won’t hold out for anew contract till spring 2024. Patrick goes for 90-100 Catches and 1000 yards. Patrick is an undrafted player and will be locked to his existing contract. Sutton goes 70 for 800 yards. Sutton instantly losses his leverage and will be "forced" to play out his existing deal ( which is very team friendly for his elite skill set).
3) The coaching staff does in fact allow Sutton to lead the team with the sole intent of increasing his trade value when he requests a new contract. Although there’s an upside here, the downside is huge. A disgruntled #1 WR that you can’t afford is significantly more downside then an extra 40 catches and keeping elite talent. I wouldn’t bet on this scenario but it’s a possibility.
From a business perspective it makes exactly zero sense to game plan for Sutton and turn this into an issue. Don’t get me wrong, Sutton will have several great games. However, it will go more along the line of him grabbing 10-12 catches for 150 yards in a game, so four games or so for the season, then being used as a decoy for 3-4 games in a row. So, he’ll have a few great games, 8 games of 5 catches or so games and few dogs.
It makes perfect sense to game plan for everyone around him and "keep the band together" for several years. Hackett and Paton will scream "team approach" and everyone will be happy, but behind the scenes it’s about Sutton’s next ask.
Just don’t take Sutton on your fantasy team, take Patrick, he’s going to be the WR1 or the WR2.