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Fantasy Impact: Carolina Panthers Trade for Baker Mayfield

The Cleveland Browns have sent their former No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers. How will it affect your fantasy team?

According to reports, the undefined have a new QB coming to townBaker Mayfield has been traded in exchange for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick.

So, Seahawks fans, it's time to get used to Drew Lock. Adjust your D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett shares accordingly. 

The Browns will be rolling with Deshaun Watson or Jacoby Brissett.

Sam Darnold's days are likely over, and Matt Corral will have to wait. 

Mayfield brings with him four seasons of experience, only one of which was a winning season (2020). He has passed for 14,125 yards and 92 touchdowns in those four years, with a 61.6% completion rate.

It has always been asked if Cleveland was the right fit for Mayfield, and despite the late-season success Mayfield had in 2020, the Browns' locker room has never seemed harmonious. Odell Beckham, Jr. winning a Super Bowl ring with the Rams did not do much for the narrative that Mayfield wasn't the problem. When the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson for a King's ransom, it was clear that Cleveland no longer believed in their QB as the franchise's future. Perhaps he shouldn't have left the lights on at Progressive stadium in his last commercial.

For fantasy purposes, Mayfield is back on the radar with new weapons: DJ Moore, Robbie Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Christian McCaffrey. 

Mayfield himself has never been a fantasy superstar. In his best season, Mayfield finished as the fantasy QB16. Last season he finished as QB24. But perhaps this system will be a boost for the signal-caller. We saw Sam Darnold get off to a strong start in Carolina last season with three 300-yard games in his first four with the Panthers before the roof caved in. However, Mayfield remains a weekly streamer or a QB2 until he proves otherwise. 

Moore should see a bump with slightly better QB play. He had a 36% air yards share and ran 90% of the routes on Carolina's dropbacks last season. Despite this, he only finished as the WR18. He's one of the most talented receivers in the league, and hopefully, he and Mayfield can connect. 

Robbie Anderson remains a high-ceiling, low-floor play. Anderson finished as the WR49 in PPR leagues last year and recently tweeted about retiring. Could he pop off for a game or two? Sure. But there are probably better darts to throw for your late-round picks.

Terrace Marshall, Jr. could see the biggest bump. Jarvis Landry was among the best slot receivers in the league when he played with Baker Mayfield. Landry finished with two 1000+ yard seasons (2018, 2019) with Mayfield under center. Despite having a tough rookie season, Marshall is a free pick in late rounds that could find himself as the third target after Moore and McCaffrey.

McCaffrey remains a fantasy stud, as QB play has never affected his production. On a per-game basis, McCaffrey finished as the RB5 in PPR leagues last season. Mayfield will certainly be dumping off a lot of passes, and the new QB knows how to let his running backs be the center of an offense to win games. McCaffrey remains a 1st round pick. 

Overall, nothing much changes in Carolina. Don't draft Darnold (you weren't anyway); Mayfield is only an option in superflex leagues, and Moore and McCaffrey remain solid fantasy picks.

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