We are all well aware of the stories surrounding Cincinnati Bengals running back, Joe Mixon. He was highly touted coming out of college and if it wasn’t for his negative history, he very well could have been one of the top running backs selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. Either way you feel about his history, there’s little to suggest that this isn’t one of the best offensive players coming out of the draft. Because of that, I’ll be looking at his fantasy outlook as what could eventually wind up being him as the lead back in Cincinnati.
Mixon has been labeled as a true “bell cow” back who can make magic happen with the ball. If his sheer elusiveness wasn’t enough for prospective fantasy owners to get excited about, he can catch his way to the end zone just as good as any back currently in the NFL. While Mixon himself would have liked to end up as a higher selection, landing in Cincinnati could have been the answer to his prayers.
In a RBBC (running back by committee) driven league, the Bengals look to be one team who could throw their entire offense on the shoulders of one true runner. They already employ a solid air attack which should keep their defenders off the line and give their running backs ample space with which to work. With a lack of faith in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard still working his way back from an ACL tear, Mixon looks to be the guy.
Hill has never instilled a genuine confidence in his coaching staff and Bernard has been classified as a change of pace running back throughout his career. After suffering an injury in a season that was supposed to be another step from his 164 carry per game average, it looks like that label will stick this coming season. This is one of the main reasons why I think Mixon will be the back to own in Cincy. Let’s look below at the tale of the tape.
Giovani Bernard: 5’0″, 207 lbs.
Jeremy Hill: 6’2″, 236 lbs.
Joe Mixon: 6’1″, 228 lbs.
If you haven’t kept up with the ongoing reports out of Bengals camp, you may have missed the early reports of Mixon’s weight. When rookie minicamp began, Mixon didn’t gain any new fans by checking in at 238 lbs. Sure, players straight from the draft seem to come in with a little added weight, but with his career laying ahead for him, this was an unnecessary step in the wrong direction. However, after having a heart-to-heart with the Bengals’ head coach, Marvin Lewis, Mixon got right back to work and dropped that weight quicker than Eddie Lacy could say “Cheeseburger.”
“I’ll never be that heavy again. Never,” Mixon told Jim Owczarski of Bengals.com. “It was mainly flying around and eating super good. That’s what it was.”
In 2016, we saw the rise of the running back at the top of many draft boards, but with the lack of No. 1 options available and the uncertainty within the position, confidence seems to be leaning back towards the wide receiver this year. At any rate, there are still a handful of elite options at the top of the charts and Mixon could flirt with that list by season’s end.
Running backs need to be big enough to push through the front line and elusive enough to hit the right gap. This is something Mixon does with ease. Last season, Ezekiel Elliot gave us a year to remember and Jordan Howard showed why his interest has peaked many eyes around the fantasy circles in 2017. I could easily see Mixon matching Howard’s production as a rookie. A line of 1,300 yards, 45 receptions, and eight touchdowns is not out of the question.
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