Is Baker Mayfield playing in Week 15 after being placed on COVID list? Fantasy injury update ahead of Raiders-Browns matchup

Written By Jackson Sparks
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Leading up to a crucial Week 15 game in the AFC playoff race with the Raiders on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, Baker Mayfield's availability is in question. He was placed on the reserve/COVID list earlier this week, and we know several players have been inactive over the past two seasons -- especially lately -- after being placed on the list. So, will Mayfield play in Week 15? We have the latest updates below, as well as how start, 'em, sit 'em decisions could be affected by his absence. (Update: Cleveland's game against the Raiders has been moved to Monday at 4 p.m. ET.)

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Is Baker Mayfield playing in Week 15?

UPDATE: Cleveland's game against Vegas has been moved to Monday at 4 p.m. ET, giving Mayfield -- and other key Browns players -- a better chance at suiting up. However, given the timing of the game and lack of viable pivots if Mayfield remains out, he's not a recommended fantasy play this week. 

UPDATE 2: On Sunday, Mayfield said on social media that he's asymptomatic and hoping for a negative test on Monday morning, implying he will be able to play if he tests negative. 

UPDATE 3: Mayfield did not clear COVID protocols and will be OUT in Week 15. Nick Mullens will start, as Case Keenum is also on the reserve/COVID list.

Mayfield reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, and to be available for Week 15, he must have two negative tests 24 hours apart leading up to kickoff. As we are just two days away from Saturday, time is running out, but we can't know for sure what his status will be (although it's not looking great). Ultimately, no one in single-QB leagues is starting Mayfield to begin with, so this will have more of an impact on two-QB/superflex leagues and single-game DFS gurus. Chances are, we'll know Mayfield's status well before kickoff, so this shouldn't come down to the wire.

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What we can do is figure out how his absence would affect other players. Unfortunately, Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper also ended up on the reserve/COVID-19 list, as well as head coach Kevin Stefanski. All that said, it's tough to really love anyone in the Browns passing game. Mayfield and his pass-catchers haven't been strong fantasy options anyway, so even if one or all three play, it's not as if they are must-starts. Obviously, Nick Chubb can't be benched regardless, especially since Kareem Hunt (ankle) is almost certainly going to be out.

WEEK 15 MONDAY/TUESDAY UPDATES:
Thielen | Landry/Hooper | Hurts/McLaurin/Lockett

If Baker does play, you can consider playing Hooper or Landry (especially Hooper since TE is thin and this is a great TE matchup), but again, they aren't sure things. Realistically, you're not playing any Browns' pass-catcher if Baker is out, but at least considering one or more of them if he plays.

Mayfield's direct backup is Case Keenum, but again, neither should be started in single-QB formats. We rank Mayfield as the QB18 if he plays, but his floor is much lower given the uncertainty surrounding his team. 

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