Things have not been going as planned with Baker Mayfield and the Browns. Drafted as a fringe top five quarterback to begin the season, Mayfield has tossed five interceptions, has yet to throw for multiple touchdowns in the same game and is averaging just 0.32 fantasy points per drop back. For a little context on that final stat, consider that Joe Flacco and Mitch Trubisky are the only two QBs to have started all three of their team’s contests and produced at a lower efficiency than Mayfield has in 2019. These are the types of things that can happen when you’ve only connected on three of your 14 attempts inside the red zone. Simply put, its been a rough start for the former first-overall pick.
Things don’t appear to be getting any easier, either. Cleveland will head out on the road this weekend and make a trip to Baltimore to face its AFC North division rival. The Ravens’ passing defense remains a bit of a mystery, as the unit has allowed Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes to put up a combined 723 yards through the air the past two weeks; yet Baltimore’s stout front seven should play more of a factor in this matchup than its slightly banged-up secondary. The Browns’ offensive line has been an absolute mess so far this season, as Mayfield has been sacked 11 times and hurried on an NFL-leading 24 of his drop backs. For as much as we might be inclined to blame Mayfield’s early struggles on the play-calling of Freddie Kitchens — which definitely isn’t helping — it’s been his protection that’s let him down in September.
Fantasy Impact: The fact that Cleveland begins the week as such an overwhelming underdog does imply that Mayfield could benefit from elite volume in Week 4, but he’s yet to capitalize on that exact advantage at any point in 2019. Mayfield’s finished as QB23, QB17, and QB29 through three weeks despite throwing 35-plus passes in each and every start. Go pick up Daniel Jones, Matthew Stafford or Jacoby Brissett and leave Baker on the bench.