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Baker Mayfield start or sit: Week 1 fantasy football advice

We go over the fantasy football outlook of Baker Mayfield ahead of the Browns Week 1 matchup against the Chiefs.

Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After leading the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff appearance in 18 years, Baker Mayfield is looking to build on a solid 2020. He completed 62.8% of his pass attempts for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns last year, and is looking to build on that with Odell Beckham Jr. returning from his torn ACL.

Fantasy Football analysis: Browns QB Baker Mayfield

Mayfield impressed in the preseason with more opportunities to throw. He had a career year last year, most notably cutting down on the mistakes and finishing with only eight interceptions. However, he ranked 18th in fantasy points as the volume wasn’t quite there. When you’ve got Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield, it’s no surprise the team would lean on the rushing attack.

However, the Browns come into a Week 1 matchup against the Chiefs in which the ground game might not be enough. Cleveland could look to control the clock in the first half, but there’s a decent chance this turns into a shootout by the second half. This game has the highest total of the week at DraftKings Sportsbook, and that could mean big things for the Browns passing attack.

On a side note, Odell Beckham, Jr. is listed as questionable and head coach Kevin Stefanski said the team will make his status known when inactives are due 90 minutes before the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Various fantasy outlets project Mayfield in the 17-20 range among quarterbacks. That would suggest most teams likely have a better projected option. He’s a must-start in two-QB leagues and has some value in deeper leagues. You can pass on him in leagues of 10-12 teams, but in leagues of 14+ teams, he’s worth a look with some solid upside in a season of high expectations for the Dawg Pound.