Whether it is Christmas cookies or Hanukkah latkes or sweet potato pies for Kwanzaa or any other seasonal favorites, chances are there was some baking going on in most kitchens this week. Why not keep that baker role rolling through the weekend, especially when it applies to your championship week fantasy roster?
We envision there are some teams that have made it to the fantasy finals by streaming or platooning or simple patchwork at quarterback — maybe even some that got lucky despite untimely struggles of QBs like Russell Wilson or Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan.
There is a way to keep your holiday feast going for one more week and keep the heat on your opponent: Pop Baker Mayfield into the QB oven. There are several reasons Mayfield is lined up to deliver a holiday fantasy treat.
First, his opponent is the Jets. Only the Falcons and Jaguars are more generous to opposing QBs. So the matchup is a gift. Plus, the Browns have a chance to clinch their first playoff spot since 2002 (and just second since the team was resurrected in 1999), and the Jets are coming off a shocking upset of the Rams last week and are in a prime spot for a letdown.
In short, we can easily see this game being largely one-sided. Though sometimes projected blowouts give us reservations about investing in the passing games of the expected winners (once comfortably ahead, teams tend to lean on the run to run out the clock), you don’t get way ahead without scoring a lot of points.
In this particular matchup, the Jets’ pass defense rates far worse than its run-of-the-mill run defense. Further, it is a matchup of the top two QBs taken in the 2018 draft (Mayfield at No. 1, Sam Darnold at No. 3). So though almost certainly both players will dismiss such talk, and by no means do we believe it will serve as a primary motivation, but we also don’t believe this spark isn’t flickering in the back of the minds of both QBs. So call it an tiny little extra nudge toward Mayfield.
It is a pretty easy call for the Madman to use Mayfield ahead of other options like Roethlisberger, Ryan, Mitchell Trubisky, Cam Newton and whoever starts for the Raiders (David Carr or Marcus Mariota). We even give Mayfield the tiniest of edges over Jalen Hurts this week.
We draw the line at Wilson. He has struggled vs. the Rams recently. In his past two games versus the Rams, going back to last season, Wilson has not topped 250 passing yards and has zero touchdowns and three interceptions. But in the previous clash (Week 5 last season), he had 268 yards and four touchdowns. That isn’t ancient history, it was just last season. As much as we like Baker, we think such an explosion is more likely for Russell.
So bake away this holiday weekend. And best of luck in the fantasy finals.