Baker Mayfield has an opportunity to turn his doubters into believers this season.
Heading into the 2019 season, there wasn’t a more hyped team than the Cleveland Browns. Following an incredible offseason that included the additions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt to the offense, it was seemingly a layup they would be one of, if not the best offense in all of football. And then they flopped under the coaching of Freddie Kitchens, not making the playoffs and many of their offensive hopefuls turning out to be busts. The biggest of the sorts was quarterback Baker Mayfield. So much so that he went from hopeful top five fantasy football quarterback last year to one of the true fantasy football sleepers this season.
After his great rookie season in 2019, Mayfield was expected to explode onto the scene last year with his high-powered offense around him. Instead, he actually contributed fewer points than his rookie campaign, finishing as the QB20 on the year with 229.18 points. And while it didn’t help that Beckham Jr. was injured for the majority of the season, a terrible offensive line and his relationship with Kitchens deteriorated throughout the year, the blame still goes to Mayfield. He ate into the hype and didn’t live up to it. But heading into 2020 without all that hype, it seems as though Mayfield can be that sleeper breakout many had hoped for last year.
First up is the fact that somehow his offense improved even more during the offseason. The Browns went out of their way to get protection for Mayfield this offseason, signing tackle Jack Conklin over from the Tennessee Titans and then drafting first-round tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. Both of those additions will be an instant fix to Mayfield, hopefully leading to far more protection than last season.
Then, of course, is what Mayfield has at his disposal for weapons. Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and Nick Chubb will all be main focuses, but the Browns also added Austin Hooper to the team through free agency. Before getting injured last season, Hooper was the No. 1 tight end in scoring. The Browns also retained Kareem Hunt, who helped Mayfield a lot as an excellent check down option.
And finally, the last reason why Mayfield should be at the top of your fantasy football sleepers list for 2020 is that he has a real head coach now. Kevin Stefanski comes over from the Minnesota Vikings to be the head coach of the Browns and with all the talent on his team, he should help make Mayfield a Pro Bowl quarterback and a fantasy stud this season.
With the current rank of the QB19 on FantasyPros, he will be an easy option if you wait on a quarterback. Not having to spend that draft capital on your quarterback and being able to believe in someone like Mayfield can be what leads many teams to a championship this season. Don’t give on Mayfield just yet. This season is his to show who he truly is.