Baker Mayfield has been a huge disappointment so far, so what should his fantasy football owners do with him?
As part of the broader offseason hype train attached to the Cleveland Browns, and with his good finish to last year, Baker Mayfield was widely drafted among the first handful or so of quarterbacks in fantasy football drafts.
Through five games, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick has fallen way short of expectations. He has yet to throw multiple touchdowns in a game, with four touchdown passes and now eight interceptions after Monday night’s dud against the San Francisco 49ers (8-for-22 for 100 yards with two interceptions and one lost fumble). He’s currently QB27 in fantasy leagues.
Assuming a point for every 25 passing yards as the standard, with nothing added as a runner but depending on how turnovers are specifically scored in your league, Mayfield delivered one, zero, -1 or -2 fantasy points in Week 5 if you played him. So you might have been better off playing someone like Ryan Tannehill (who didn’t play) over Mayfield.
I have Mayfield in a league, along with 49ers’ tight end George Kittle from Monday night, and lost by 4.5 points. So it would have been nice to get positive points, rather than -2 in our scoring, but others lost strictly because Mayfield posted a negative score.
Some fantasy analysts, like ESPN’s Matthew Berry, don’t see Mayfield as roster-worthy in fantasy leagues right now if it’s an option to drop him. That is a big reach. He’s 88 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues and 80.8 percent owned in ESPN leagues, even with a small downward trend percentage-wise.
But what should Mayfield’s fantasy owners do with him?
In Week 6, Mayfield faces a Seattle Seahawks’ defense that is just barely in the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (17.76 per game, Yahoo! scoring). Then he has a bye in Week 7, before getting the No.1 (New England Patriots), No. 4 (Denver Broncos) and No. 3 (Buffalo Bills) fantasy defenses against quarterbacks entering Week 6 (Yahoo! scoring) from Week 8-Week 10.
The schedule gets softer for Mayfield from Week 11 on. The Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 11 and Week 13) are in the top-12 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks entering Week 6, and the Baltimore Ravens (Week 16) edged into the top half of the league against quarterbacks after facing Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges in Week 5. The Miami Dolphins (Week 12), Cincinnati Bengals (Week 14 and Week 17) and Arizona Cardinals (Week 15) enter Week 6 allowing the most, 12th-most and third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
So Mayfield is bench material in one-quarterback leagues in at least three of his next four games, spanning five weeks right in the teeth of bye weeks. But coming out on the other side of that, into the fantasy playoffs, the schedule will line him up to deliver QB1 numbers pretty much every week.
Trading Mayfield if you have him is not in the cards, since you’d be selling at the lowest of low. Dropping him is an overreaction unless it’s somehow viable to do it then pick him back up and stash him after his bye with an eye on his late schedule. So hold him if at all possible, while grinning and bearing it if you do have to start him over his next few games.
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