Making A Case For: Baker Mayfield

April 9, 2021

Yes, Baker Mayfield is the mountain I am dying on today.

Mayfield is my QB8, ten spots ahead of where he is being drafted as the QB18 in DLF’s April Superflex Mock Drafts.

The highest the fourth-year pro was drafted in any of the four drafts was as QB16.

In three of the drafts, Mayfield was picked behind probable future New York Jet Zach Wilson and Miami Dolphin Tua Tagovailoa.

Mayfield is just four months removed from a season where he threw for 3,563 yards and was responsible for 27 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.

Here are a few reasons I think waiting until QB18 to get Mayfield is too long.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Jarvis Landry led the Browns in receptions (72) and yards (840) in 2020. The second-best in each of the categories? Austin Hooper with 46 catches and Rashard Higgins with 599 yards.

In six healthy games, OBJ caught 23 passes for 319 yards and three scores.

In their first season together in 2019, both Landry and Beckham eclipsed 1,000 yards and combined for 10 touchdowns.

As a matter of fact, OBJ’s 1,035 yards in 2019 were his fewest in a full season in his seven-year career.

The Browns have one of the better offenses in the league. Getting his alpha back at the X will be huge for Mayfield possibly moving into the QB1 range.

Week 16 vs. Jets

COVID-19 wiped out all of the Browns WR corps in Week 16. Their top pass catcher was Hooper, who led the team in both receptions and yards. Practice squad WR Ja’Marcus Bradley was the second-best pass catcher that day.

It’s hard to judge Mayfield as he likely wasn’t in starting lineups for this game.

The Weather

The Browns played in some of the worst weather games of the year.

In Week 8, the Browns lost 16 to 6 when the wind was constantly 26 MPH and gusted up to 40 MPH.

Mayfield was 12-of-22 for 122 yards in that game, mostly on peoples’ fantasy benches.

The next time out for the Browns in Week 10, the weather wasn’t much better. There were winds of 16 MPH throughout the game, with massive gusts. At one point, this game was delayed for 35 minutes due to severe weather.

The Browns won this game against the Texans 10-7. Mayfield was 12-of-20 for 132 yards in this one.

They played a third-consecutive nasty game in Week 11 against the Eagles. It was a cold, rainy day in Cleveland, and the game was affected. Mayfield was 12-for-22 for 204 yards in the 22-17 win against the Eagles.

I know it’s impossible to predict the weather, but it’s hard to imagine the Browns playing in those conditions so frequently again.

Week 12-15

Sandwiched between the terrible weather games and the COVID corps against the Jets, Mayfield was amazing.

In four-point touchdown leagues, Mayfield was the third-most prolific fantasy quarterback in the league. His 98.88 points trailed just Josh Allen and Ryan Tannehill.

Mayfield dueled with Tannehill in Week 13, and he threw for 334 yards and four scores in a 41-35 win.

The Browns put up 42 points in a loss the following week against the Ravens. Mayfield threw for 343 yards and accounted for three touchdowns.

Bounce-Back Ability

Mayfield was BAD in the Browns’ first matchup against the Steelers in Week 6. He completed just 55 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions in a 38-7 loss.

Mayfield threw for 459 yards and four touchdowns in back-to-back wins over the Steelers in Week 16 and during the playoffs’ Wild Card round.

If we allow recency bias to elevate players, why not Mayfield? Removing the Jets game, he was a QB1 in the second half of the season last year.

Run game

While the run game doesn’t directly translate to fantasy points for Mayfield, it is a tremendous real-life help for him.

Mayfield had 121 pass attempts after a play fake in 2020. He completed 81-of-121 for 1,141 yards and 11 touchdowns. Only one of his 121 attempts turned into an interception.

Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt’s abilities only make things easier for Mayfield to see the whole field and find an open target.