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Fast Connections, Week 14: Tannehill, Brown balling

This week's edition of Fast Connections highlights several quarterbacks who have overcome adversity as well as the receivers that helped make those comebacks possible.

Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

Drew Lock didn't have the rookie year he probably envisioned when the Broncos selected him with the 42nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Missouri product suffered a thumb injury in August, forcing him to the sidelines and eventually onto injured reserve. Lock would not return to practice until November and had to wait until Dec. 1 to make his NFL regular-season debut.

Though the Broncos had to wait to see their first-year signal-caller in action, they saw their patience rewarded when Lock repeatedly connected with second-year wideout Courtland Sutton during Sunday's AFC West showdown with Chargers. The two combined for four catches, 74 yards and two scores en route to a victory.

Of course, the duo's most prominent moment to date technically resulted in zero yards for either individual, but it set up the Broncos for a game-winning field goal.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Lock's affinity for Sutton shouldn't come as a surprise given the receiver's dominance over the Broncos' passing game this season. According to Next Gen Stats, Sutton accounts for 44.7% of the team's air yards, roughly 2.5 times the amount of the next highest mark in Denver (Noah Fant, 17.9%). That figure looks even more impressive when you consider Sutton has a target share of 25.1%, a large but not overwhelming amount.

Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

For most of his career, DeVante Parker has generated preseason hype only to see it evaporate as the calendar moved into September. The former first-round pick certainly had his moments, such as 2016's 106-yard, one-score performance in a win over the division-rival Patriots, but he couldn't seem to string together more than a few good games before falling off the map again.

That has changed this year. Parker has already set career highs in receiving yards (854) and touchdowns (six) and appears on his way to his first 1,000-yard season.

While Parker deserves the lion's share of credit for the breakout campaign, veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has played a role in the success as well. As he has done in previous stops, Fitzpatrick has re-energized the offense, giving Parker more opportunities to showcase his talent. Though the Dolphins have looked uncompetitive most of the year, the duo has kept things interesting for fans and fantasy players.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Though Parker does work down the field (13.7 air yards per target), much of his production comes after the catch. According to Next Gen Stats, the receiver's yards-after-catch success rate comes in at 52.0%, the highest mark on the Dolphins among those with at least 25 targets.

Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

Before the Dolphins rallied around Fitzpatrick, they had to dispense with a different Ryan first. Ryan Tannehill spent the first seven years of his NFL career in Miami, experiencing mild success punctuated by injuries and missed opportunities. The team finally hit the reset button this past offseason, sending Tannehill to the Titans as part of a swap of Day 3 draft picks.

Tannehill started the season as the backup in Tennessee. However, after watching starter Marcus Mariota struggle through the first month and a half, head coach Mike Vrabel made the decision to insert Tannehill in an attempt to reinvigorate the offense. The move worked, with Tannehill leading the league in yards per attempt (9.1) and passer rating (113.9) among qualifiers.

Though Tannehill has developed a good rapport with several receivers, he and rookie wideout A.J. Brown have become a special connection. Brown's productivity has skyrocketed since Tannehill became the starter, catching 20 passes on 21 targets for 353 yards and two touchdowns. The receiver's best performance came two weeks ago when he posted 135 yards and a touchdown in a 42-20 rout of the Jaguars.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Brown's strength and size make him an imposing figure, allowing him to power through defenders and create extra yards. According to Next Gen Stats, the receiver leads the Titans in yards after the catch (278). That number is nearly double the next-highest total on the team (Dion Lewis' 158).

*-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is a fantasy analyst for Follow him on Twitter: **@byJBH*

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