Baker Mayfield came into the 2020 NFL season riding a wave from his successful rookie campaign. He was looking like a star quarterback for fantasy football owners. Playmakers like Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham would dominate the air, and the Browns added Kareem Hunt to a backfield that already included Nick Chubb. Now former head coach Freddie Kitchens was the guy Mayfield trusted, and we saw how that played out.
Fantasy owners trusted Mayfield, as evidenced by his draft stock pushing him into a top 10 QB option. I will admit I bought into and owned Mayfield in several leagues. Boy oh boy, was I wrong.
Mayfield was flat out terrible. His quarterback rating of 78.8 was 31st in the league. His struggles were a cumulative team effort, as several factors played a role in his lousy season.
Beckham and Landry each played hurt for the majority of the season. The offensive line was one of the worst in the league. Lastly, head coach Freddie Kitchens looked like the job was too much for him to handle.
Coming into this season, fantasy owners are not as high on Mayfield. Early ADP results have Mayfield coming off the board as the 15th quarterback. Early drafters have more trust in guys like Daniel Jones and Matthew Stafford. With Mayfield's ADP dropping, his value could fall so far that he might rebound into becoming a value pick this season. First and foremost, it must start with Mayfield playing more comfortably in the pocket and trusting his reads. He will need both Beckham and Landry to be healthy to start the season. The addition of tight end Austin Hooper gives Mayfield another talented weapon, but this will all come down to coaching. Browns beat writer Pete Smith writes:
"The hiring of Kevin Stefanski as head coach is critical. He has to be the right coach for Mayfield as he's installing the third different offense he's had to learn in the NFL and his fourth in as many years dating back to Oklahoma."
New Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has the job of turning Mayfield into the quarterback the Browns thought they were getting two years ago in the draft. As far as fantasy goes, I will take a wait-and-see approach and only consider him when the value feels right when he slides a bit in my league drafts.