USA Today Sports

Fantasy Football: Time to pick up Baker Mayfield

Pete Davidson
September 25, 2018 - 10:31 am

Week 4 is upon us, folks, and if you need some players to target, I have some suggestions. A bunch of our players from last week's wire broke out, including a few of my stash options. I think it’s safe to say that this will be your last chance to get Calvin Ridley. The same goes for Tyler Boyd and Mike Williams. 

As always, if you play in deeper formats, head over to this afternoon for the expanded waiver wire and the Rotobahn waiver wire podcast. It’s all free. I’ll add a "skinny" for each player listed here and I’ll be adding more players to target as I continue to work through the Week 3 game film. If you have specific questions about your moves this week, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @Rotobahn. I’ll be online late tonight and will do my best to get to as many of your questions as I can.

Important Week 4 Injury situations:

Joe Mixon (knee)

LeSean McCoy (ribs)

Jimmy Garoppolo (knee/IR)

Dalvin Cook (hamstring)

Doug Baldwin (knee)

Leonard Fournette (hamstring)

Marcus Mariota (elbow)

Tyrod Taylor (concussion) 

Devonta Freeman (knee)

A.J. Green (groin)

Evan Engram (knee)

Let’s all pour one out for our good friend Jimmy Garoppolo. It has to be tough on the young man after waiting four years to get a starting job.

Hopefully, the former Patriot will be healthy and ready to go in 2019. His replacement, for now, will be C.J. Beathard, who is not a free agent to target in anything but the largest of formats. So I guess we should pour one out for the 49ers too.

Mixon has a shot to return from minor knee surgery this week, but will more likely be out until Week 5 and perhaps longer. McCoy should return this week, but his rib injury is a pain tolerance issue, so keep tabs on him. Cook has a short week (he’s playing Thursday) so his hamstring is still a concern, but he’s almost a lock for Week 5 if he fails to go this time around. Baldwin has been a big loss for Seattle, and they have a chance to get him back this week, but Week 5 is probably more likely.

Fournette was trending towards playing last week but was held out. He’s a strong bet to return for Week 4. Mariota played in an emergency role on Sunday and should start this week, though he’s clearly not 100 percent. Taylor is in the league’s concussion protocol and should be cleared this week or next, but he’s lost his job to Baker Mayfield and will return as a backup. Freeman did not practice last week, so he’s no lock to come back this week though if you listen to him, he will. Green is a player to monitor this week. He was knocked out early in the second half and was in some legitimate pain. If he can’t go, then John Ross is worth a look. Evan Engram took a big shot to his lower leg and ended up with a significant knee contusion and a seemingly mild sprain to his MCL. He is week to week but would seem likely to sit Week 4 out."

Last Chance Options:

John Brown, WR, Ravens

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks

Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals

Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars

Brown is now, pretty clearly, the Ravens number one receiver. Jones could be the spark the Packers need on the ground, and he didn’t have a big bust-out last week, so you have a shot at him in a league here or there. He is a must-add in any format. Ekeler’s role is safe and could even expand a little. He has value in any format and is a great insurance policy for Melvin Gordon owners. Lockett has now scored in every game this season. Eifert is healthy and trending towards more involvement. Add him and ride the hot streak for as long as it lasts. Cole is now the Jaguars number one receiver. He should be owned in all leagues. All of these players are rostered in over 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and those rates are on the rise, hence their last chance designations.

Top Ten Options:

Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons

Mike Williams, WR, Chargers

Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals 

Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs

Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers

Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns

Marlon Mack, RB, Colts

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens

Antonio Callaway, WR, Browns

Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals

D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers

The Stash Options:

D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers

Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals 

Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos 

Nick Chubb, RB, Browns

Ronald Jones, RB, Bucs

Hayden Hurst, TE, Ravens 

James Washington, WR, Steelers   

D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texans

Dez Bryant, WR, free agent

John Ross, WR, Bengals

Ian Thomas, WR, Panthers

Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans

I’m a big believer in stashing the really talented players before they go off. I don’t like having to bid and pray when it comes to landing difference-makers. I’d rather try to act in advance and save my money for emergency situations. The 12 options above are almost all young players who have a chance at major playing time in the coming weeks. The other trait they share is top shelf talent. I’ll get into each one of these players in my free waiver wire podcast over at Rotobahn. I recommend listening if you play in a format with 12 or more teams.


Baker Mayfield, Browns

Andy Dalton, Bengals 

Blake Bortles, Jaguars

Joe Flacco, Ravens

Case Keenum, Broncos

Josh Allen, Bills

Mayfield, my favorite rookie quarterback this year along with Sam Darnold, is the guy to go after in my view. From last week’s waiver wire:  "I think he’ll be the starter within a month. From that point forward, he will kick ass and take names."  

Alright, so it happened even faster than I imagined. Mayfield replaced a concussed Tyrod Taylor just before halftime and went on to take over the game. He’s got the Raiders this week and I expect good things. Mayfield can be your starter in 12-team leagues. He’s that good, and just as importantly, he has more than enough good weapons to work with. Players like Jarvis Landry and David Njoku should be invigorated now that Mayfield is under center.

Dalton is a solid starter the rest of the way, with enough good matchups to roster him in 12-team leagues.  He’s a bad streamer this week though—as he is traveling to Atlanta. Flacco is a solid replacement level quarterback, but he is on the road for the next three weeks so he’s a medium level short-term streamer. Keenum gets the Chiefs this week, so he’s a viable add despite his mediocre play of late. Allen is a guy to take a flier on in deeper formats. His strong play versus the Vikings last week was unexpected and if he keeps running this much, he may end up having some weekly value, especially in plus matchups. 


Marlon Mack, Colts

Javorius Allen, Ravens

Nyheim Hines, Colts 

Ronald Jones, Bucs

Nick Chubb, Browns 

Latavius Murray, Vikings

Theo Riddick, Lions

Chris Ivory, Bills

Mack leads the list because, in my estimation, he has the best shot at a lead role. Of course, he’s also nursing a hamstring injury, so he’s no lock to pay off this week. Factor that in if your needs are of the short-term variety. Allen gives you strong flex appeal, but his ceiling is not very high. Hines has some value as a big play option, but he needs the Colts offense to pick it up a bit to make that threat more consistent. Jones and Chubb both have lead role talent, so stashing them makes sense if you have the bench space. Ivory and Murray both carry some value this week if the lead backs in front of them—LeSean McCoy and Dalvin Cook respectively, sit out again. Riddick is an option in PPR leagues.


Calvin Ridley, Falcons 

Tyler Boyd, Bengals

Mike Williams, Chargers

Chris Godwin, Bucs 

Geronimo Allison, Packers 

Tyler Lockett, Seahawks

D.J. Moore, Panthers 

Antonio Callaway, Browns

Courtland Sutton, Broncos

Anthony Miller, Bears

James Washington, Steelers

Ryan Grant, Colts

Ted Ginn, Saints

The top six options on this list all scored in Week 3, with Williams finding the zone twice and Ridley a whopping three times! There’s just so much to like at receiver right now, and some of these guys are available in larger formats, which is nice.

Ridley is obviously this week’s big ticket item and for good reason. Hopefully, you stashed him last week as I suggested in this space. The same goes for Williams, who is now looking like the second option for the Chargers, after Keenan Allen. Boyd has clearly passed John Ross in the pecking order and looks like he has a role we can count on going forward. He’s a great add in PPR formats. Lockett will have season-long value but is even more appealing while Doug Baldwin is out. Godwin is clearly a staple in the Bucs’ offense now and can be started every week in 12-team PPR leagues. He’s one injury to Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson away from being a weekly starter in 10-team PPR leagues. Godwin is going to be around a long, long time. His routes are crisp and he has great hands. Allison caught another touchdown pass in Week 3 and is looking more and more like Aaron Rodgers’ number two option. Moore is the elite rookie who is still waiting for take off. I suggest you go get him now while he is on his bye week. I will be very surprised if he doesn’t have a bigger role once Week 5 rolls around. 


Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars

Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals

Dallas Goedert, Eagles

Austin Hooper, Falcons

Hayden Hurst, Ravens

Vance McDonald, Steelers

Seferian-Jenkins has a starting role and will be a red zone option every week. Seals-Jones is playing in an offense searching for weapons and caught a touchdown in Week 3. He’s worth a look in 12-team leagues and is on the watch list in smaller ones. Goedert took a huge step forward in Week 3 by playing 67 percent of the snaps and scoring a touchdown. He is a great option in Week 4 if Alshon Jeffery misses another game.

Hurst is a fifty/fifty proposition for Week 4, but he should return in the next week or so and could slip right into a prominent role. With tight end quickly becoming a problem position in fantasy, he could be a wise preemptive pickup. McDonald made a huge play on Monday night and could be on the verge of taking over the lead role for the Steelers. He’s worth a look in all formats for his upside but makes the most sense in 12-team leagues.