Joe Mixon Fantasy Football Outlook 2022

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In just 66 career games, Joe Mixon has accrued the fifth-most rushing yards in Cincinnati Bengals history. Heading into his sixth season, Joe Mixon fantasy football managers are going to expect another top-five performance. Already, Mixon has an argument for being one of the best Bengals running backs in franchise history. By following up 2021 with another superb season, he will cement his place in Bengals history.

2022 Fantasy Football Outlook: Joe Mixon

2021 Recap

Mixon had a career year in 2021. He set new career-bests in rushing yards with 1,205, rushing touchdowns with 13, receiving yards with 312, and tied his receiving touchdowns mark with three. And he did all of that behind a historically bad offensive line.

His performance in 2021 resulted in him finishing as RB3 in standard fantasy leagues, just behind Jonathan Taylor and Austin Ekeler. When he was good, he was among the best. Mixon finished as a top-five running back six times; he was RB1 just once (Week 1). But when he was bad, he was bad. Mixon finished worse than RB20 eight times. His season-low was when he finished as RB35 in Week 15.

Mixon was the quintessential boom-or-bust running back in 2021. His ceiling was among the best but his floor could lose managers their matchups. Naturally, the fact that the Bengals were a pass-first team in 2021 paired with their dreadful offensive line, Mixon was not given many opportunities to succeed. Even then, four of his RB5-or-better finishes were in a stretch of five games.

2022 Outlook

Moving forward, Mixon’s projections are just as eclectic. The uncertainty with Mixon will be whether or not the Bengals continue to be a pass-first offense. Joe Burrow has emerged as a top quarterback in the NFL and he has the best corps of weapons in the league. Coach Zac Taylor will likely continue his tendency of passing on first down. Cincinnati threw on first down 63% of the time, good for ninth-most in the NFL. In 2021 the Bengals should be able to take advantage of the litany of improvements on the offensive line.

On the flip side, Mixon will reap the benefits of a better offensive line as well. From left to right, the Bengals offensive line’s run-blocking grades of the new unit vs the old:

  • Jonah Williams: 75.6
  • Jackson Carman: 64.1 (Quinton Spain: 69.4)
  • Ted Karras: 67.3 (Trey Hopkins: 47.6)
  • Alex Cappa: 69.0 (Hakeem Adeniji: 46.3, Jackson Carman: 64.1)
  • La’el Collins: 89.7 (Isaiah Prince: 67.3, Riley Reiff: 70.0)

The upgrades to the offensive line should help improve the Bengals offense. Cincinnati will actually be able to run the ball more than five plays in a game because the offensive line will no longer be allowing the opponent’s defensive line to murder Burrow. Even if Mixon is not the go-to back at the beginning of games, if the Bengals offense is as explosive as it could be, Mixon could get plenty of late, garbage-time points. With how good Mixon is already, he will be able to put away games when asked.

Even if Mixon is able to attain only what Cincinnati’s opponents allow on average, he is expected to shatter the Bengals single-season rushing mark.

Average Draft Position

Speaking of averages, Mixon will face plenty of league-average defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed. However, Mixon will have to run against each of the four teams who gave up the fewest points to running backs in 2021. And, one of those teams is the Baltimore Ravens which he will face twice. But at the same time, he will face three of the nine worst defenses, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who allowed a league-worst 146.1 yards per game on the ground in 2021.

Mixon is projected to barely go over 220 fantasy points in 2022. But if he just manages what his opposition allows on average, he will score 300 points for his managers.

Currently, even with all of the improvements to the offensive line and offense as a whole, Mixon’s ADP is RB7 or 11th overall. But with another great season, Mixon has the possibility to crack the top five yet again.

The bottom line for Joe Mixon fantasy football managers is he will be a massive piece of the Bengals success in 2022. However, there will be games where he cannot be relied upon to be the lead back for a fantasy team. Cincinnati’s offense is going to be pass-first. However, knowing that, defenses are going to try and sell out to stop Burrow, which could open up running lanes. Mixon will be a top-five back again in 2022 and will be well worth a top-ten pick.

Be mindful of playoffs, however. Cincinnati will be on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots, and at home against the Buffalo Bills in the traditional fantasy football playoff weeks.

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