Cleveland Browns fans sure are a hopeful bunch. Baker Mayfield didn’t crap the bed in his rookie season. So why not be hopeful?! The Browns were lively this off-season, with multiple trades and an active free-agency period. And aside from the loss of Kevin Zeitler, Pro Football Focus (PFF) #6 ranked Offensive Guard, the Browns came away unscathed, replacing the departures of Jabrill Peppers, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Jaime Collins, effectively. They even bolstered their offense with the addition of Pro Bowl-caliber talents Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt. The latter of which will start the 2019 season suspended. With all of these shiny new toys in ‘The Land’, the Dawg Pound is howlin’ with optimism. Unfortunately for BelieveLand, Baker’s bark may be worse than his bite.
Browns Off-season Acquisitions
Wide Receiver – Odell Beckham Jr. acquired via Trade
Defensive End – Olivier Vernon acquired via Trade
Running Back – Kareem Hunt acquired via Free Agency
Defensive Tackle – Sheldon Richardson acquired via Free Agency
Safety – Morgan Burnett acquired via Free Agency
But ask any Browns fan, or Browns-apologist, it’s all about one thing…
When Baker Mayfield took his first start in Week 3 last season, he became the 30th different Browns quarterback to start a game for the Browns since their return in 1999. In those 20 seasons since being reinstated, Cleveland would select 11 different quarterbacks in the NFL Draft. With nine of those coming in the first three rounds.
Before Baker Mayfield there was…
Baker Mayfield: The Good
During the 2018 season, the 24-year-old Mayfield won five of his final seven games, and also engineered a game-winning drive in four Browns victories. He broke Russell Wilson’s record for most touchdown passes in his rookie season. Claiming the record for himself with 27 passing scores.
On the season, Mayfield finished as the 16th highest scoring quarterback in fantasy. Outscoring the likes of Eli Manning, Derek Carr, Case Keenum, and Matthew Stafford. Mayfield played in 14 games; all other names listed played 16 games.
So I ask you, BROTHER. Whatcha gonna do?
When BAKERMANIA runs wild on you?!
Baker Mayfield: The Bad
But wrestling references aside, FantasyPros.com Consensus Rankings are fully on-board for this hype train. Their rankings are compiled of 52 experts and they compositely rank Baker Mayfield the fifth best fantasy quarterback for 2019. Yet, FantasyPros Strength of Schedule tool also cites Mayfield with the ninth toughest schedule v.s. the quarterback position.
In 2018 Baker Mayfield:
- Completed an unimpressive 63.8% of his passes, which ranked 24th among qualifying quarterbacks.
- Held a 1-5 record against opponents who finished with winning records.
- Conceded 14 interceptions over his 13 starts, which tied for 3rd most in NFL.
- Finished with the 9th most points from after the Browns Week 12 bye. Undeterred by only two top-10 finishes at the position over that same time.
It’s fair to point out that Baker Mayfield threw for two or more scores in nine different games during the 2018 season.
Baker Mayfield Multi-Touchdown Games 2018
Baker Mayfield 2019 Outlook
Take a safer route. Bank on proven fantasy football commodities. Guys who happen to be coming at far better average draft positions (ADP). Starting quarterbacks like Russell Wilson (ADP QB7), Drew Brees (ADP QB8), Carson Wentz (QB10), Ben Roethlisberger (QB14) and Philip Rivers (QB17), are ALL more valuable fantasy football options in 2019.
So while many see Baker Mayfield as an elite fantasy option for the coming season, the evidence appears to point to the contrary. Let someone else be “That Guy” who invests in his quarterback too early. Only to see your early round investment return QB15 numbers, while he was assumed a top-5 player at his position. Mayfield’s lack of accuracy displayed from his poor completion percentage, as well as his high number of interceptions, should absolutely be worrisome to Browns fans and fantasy football enthusiasts alike.
Written by: Robert Lange, @FantasyFB_Rob
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