Joe Mixon is coming into his fourth NFL season and looking to establish himself as one of the top backs in the league. After a terrible start to 2019 with the Cincinnati Bengals, Mixon had a strong finish to the year. Now, he is looking to cash in on his first big NFL contract and hopes that the Bengals will rely on him to carry the load as the number one-overall pick Joe Burrow gets acclimated to the NFL. Mixon is a very safe fantasy football pick who is sure to put up consistent points week in and week out.
Fantasy Football Outlook: Joe Mixon
2019 in Review
Mixon had a down year and did not live up to his ADP as a fringe-first-round, early-second back. He finished as the RB13 but his 13 points-per-game in half-PPR was 18th-best in the fantasy. But a full season look doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.
The first eight games of the season, Mixon’s usage and efficiency were frustrating. He averaged a mere 8.8 points-per-game and was the RB32 prior to the team’s bye. Mixon only reached 20+ touches and 75 scrimmage yards in a game twice. However, his usage saw a drastic change starting Week 10 against the Baltimore Ravens.
His 30 carries were the most he got the entire season and marked his first game over 100 yards. For the rest of the year, he only saw less than 20 touches twice. In addition, he only had two games where he totaled fewer than 100 scrimmage yards. It was as if new head coach Zac Taylor finally figured out that the offense should flow through Mixon.
Recalculating his fantasy stats to include just Weeks 10 through 17 put Mixon as the RB4 while he averaged the sixth-most fantasy point-per-game. Mixon will look to continue his momentum he had to finish the season, especially considering the fact that he is in a contract year. Not only that, but the entire team will look to him to carry the load to help rookie quarterback Burrow adjust to the game.
2019 was basically a lost season for the Bengals. After longtime head coach Marvin Lewis was let go at the end of the 2018 season, Taylor was brought in to hopefully right the ship. In addition to being a first-time head coach, Taylor had to deal with their star wide receiver A.J. Green’s uncertainty in coming back from an injury. He ended up sitting out the entire year. He had to adjust to the team playing behind a shoddy offensive line with guys going down left and right. It seemed the team basically packed it in and were contending for the first-overall draft pick when they benched veteran quarterback Andy Dalton.
While the team still has questions on their offensive line, it will definitely be better than last year’s iteration. Their 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams missed his entire rookie season after he was injured in minicamp. He will look to slide into the tackle spot to protect Burrow and open holes for Mixon. Cincinnati also signed Xavier Su’a Filo to help solidify the interior of the line at guard.
But despite a rookie quarterback, this isn’t a team that will struggle too much on offense. All reports are that Green, who the team used their franchise tag on, looks great so far in training camp. Tyler Boyd also returns, and the team added the speedster Tee Higgins in the draft. It should mean that the offense will be able to hang with other teams, allowing the Bengals to not abandon the run game and continue to feed Mixon. Look for him to have a 2020 season closer to his second half of 2019.
Joe Mixon ADP and Outlook
Overall it looks like experts are meeting somewhere in the middle for Mixon’s ADP. He’s ranked by FantasyPros as the RB7. This projects a better overall finish than his 2019 season, but not quite as good as his second-half surge. ESPN interestingly seems to be lowest on him, ranking him as RB13. That would putt him exactly where he was at last season, which doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Mixon had a slow start to his rookie season and wasn’t given full reins until the end of the year. However, he has now notched in consecutive 1,100-yard season on the ground while staying relatively involved in the passing game. He was the RB9 in 2018 and has all the looks of an elite back.
To be honest, RB7 is a little risky considering the other backs rated near him. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is already set up for a huge year and Nick Chubb has about as high a ceiling as everyone. Even Josh Jacobs and Aaron Jones are tempting to grab prior to Mixon. But other runner rated similarly like Miles Sanders and Kenyan Drake are much less proven in the long run.
What it comes down to is safety versus ceiling. Mixon’s ceiling is probably an RB9 or 10 finish, but his floor shouldn’t be much lower than 12. On the other hand, a guy like Drake and Edwards-Helaire are threats for RB1 overall finishes, but their floor is anyone’s guess. It really comes down to how the fantasy team owner wants to treat such a high draft pick.
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