The Duel

Baker Mayfield Fantasy Football Upside Still Elite After Poor Preseason Performance

Jason Schandl
Cleveland Browns v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cleveland Browns v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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The Cleveland Browns preseason dress rehearsal came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday. That gave Baker Mayfield an entire half to work with, and he fell flat with 72 yards, no touchdowns and one interception on 10-of-26 passing.

One bad outing in the preseason is not something you should try to read into too deeply though, and Mayfield is still one of the best fantasy football quarterbacks for the 2019 season.

Mayfield is coming off one of the best rookie QB seasons we've ever seen, despite the fact that he was playing in what was expected to be an atrocious Browns offense. He ended up starting 13 games in 2018, and the 17.7 fantasy points per game he averaged in those contests would have been good for a top-16 finish over the entire season.

Quarterbacks often take a big step up from year one to year two in the NFL, so there's already reason to be especially optimistic about Mayfield in 2019. The improved situation around him could be even more exciting though.

As a rookie, he had to deal with a mid-season coaching change when the Browns fired Hue Jackson after eight games. That meant Mayfield had to adapt to a shift in offensive philosophy on the fly when Freddie Kitchens took over play-calling duties. Now, Mayfield will have had an entire offseason to get acclimated to Kitchens' system.

The Browns also added one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Odell Beckham Jr., giving them an incredibly potent one-two punch with Beckham stretching the field and Jarvis Landry getting to work in the shorter areas where he thrives.

Baker Mayfield has an average draft position (ADP) of QB4 following the removal of Andrew Luck from the rankings.

This is a hefty price-tag for someone that is still relatively unproven, but if you're targeting a QB early in drafts then you're not looking for a high floor. You can find a safe floor at the position much later in drafts (and often on the waiver wire), so a QB should have the potential to finish at the top of the position in fantasy scoring if you're taking them early.

Nobody's a great bet to finish ahead of Pat Mahomes, but Mayfield is right up there with his game-changing upside, making him one of the few passers worth rolling the dice on in the early to middle rounds of drafts.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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