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Joe Mixon Fantasy Outlook 2018: The Goal of Earning RB1 Respect

Joe Mixon Fantasy 2018

I consistently hear that fashion trends are in style, then out of style, and eventually are back in style. In recent memory, high waist shorts, choker necklaces, even fanny packs, have, for better or worse, made a return to the fashion community. Believe it or not, fantasy football trends are not much different than fashion trends. The re-emergence of the elite running back has brought a running back heavy first round, back in style. In 2013 standard and PPR league drafts saw 11 running backs selected to just 1 receiver. 2014-2017 had, at most, 7 backs picked in the first 12 picks of standard drafts and 6 backs in PPR drafts. Current 2018 standard league ADP shows 10 running backs were picked in the first round and 9 backs in PPR.

Joe Mixon fantasy stock has been trending upwards in 2018. This love for Mixon has helped his standard league ADP climb from 3.03 in April to 2.07 in August, placing his draft slot position as the RB13 off the board.

Joe Mixon Fantasy

Joe Mixon hype is nothing new, as he received a lot of rookie love last year too. Unfortunately for those that drafted him, he did not return 4th round value as he finished with 178 carries for 626 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. He also caught 30 passes for 287 yards. His average per carry left a lot to be desired as he reached just 3.5 yards per carry.

Joe Mixon’s Fantasy Stock Currently

The Gridiron Experts staff seem content on having Mixon remain in the RB11 to RB17 range in our staff running back rankings for 2018. After all the offseason climbing up the average draft position board, it’s safe to say Mixon seems to have found his home in the second round of fantasy football drafts this year. The second round has historically been filled with players that are either undervalued or overhyped. As an example, Todd Gurley was a second-round pick in 2017 believe it or not. Mixon could be in store for a huge season, but after his rookie season, fantasy owners are hesitant.

Joe Mixon Fantasy 2018

Mixon’s Floor and Ceiling

From a talent/athleticism standpoint, Mixon’s draft profile compared him to Le’Veon Bell. Both come in at 6’1″ and weighing over 220 pounds. Mixon has quick feet, is a patient runner, and is a top end pass catcher coming out of the backfield. All of these are qualities that Bell has and excels with.  Also, both were described as not being able to see cut back lanes. Bell’s rookie season saw him average just 3.5 yards per carry as well.

This leads to trying to determine the value that Mixon brings in 2018. Are we going to see a back that produces numbers similar to Gordon and Bell? If he does, Mixon will be an RB1 without question. Gordon scored 12 total touchdowns and rushed for just under 1,000 yards in an injury-shortened season. While Bell exploded for 2,215 total yards and 11 touchdowns. Bell also caught 83 passes in his second season. This is a solid ceiling for Mixon, however, I do know there are some people that have reasons to believe Mixon won’t be a top end talent in 2018.

2017 Problems Fixed in 2018

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The concerns for Mixon’s 2018 season starts with the offensive line. The Bengals have improved the O-line with the trade for Cordy Glenn and first-round draft pick, Billy Price from Ohio State University. Price comes in being a dominant run blocker at center. He finished 6th among draft eligible Centers in run blocking success percentage (92.0). With the improved offensive line, another reason to like Joe Mixon’s Fantasy appeal is the Bengals strength of schedule in 2018. The Bengals have the 3rd easiest overall schedule. According to Jeff Ratcliff with Pro Football Focus, Mixon has the easiest running back schedule this season.

Another issue some may have with Mixon is the presence of  Giovanni Bernard. Don’t fret about Bernard, he has had fewer touches in every season since his rookie year. Mixon’s ability to catch passes, be a 3 down back, and explosiveness makes it a real possibility that Bernard is limited to change of pace duties.

Joe Mixon’s 2017 Gamelog

Week Opp Rush Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
1 BAL 8 9 1.1 0 3 15 5 0
2 HOU 9 36 4 0 1 5 5 0
3 @GB 18 62 3.4 0 3 39 13 0
4 @CLE 17 29 1.7 0 4 19 4.8 0
5 BUF 15 51 3.4 1 0 0 0 0
7 @PIT 7 48 6.9 0 3 20 6.7 0
8 IND 11 18 1.6 0 3 91 30.3 0
9 @JAC 13 31 2.4 1 3 15 5 0
10 @TEN 9 37 4.1 1 1 3 3 0
11 @DEN 20 49 2.5 0 2 0 0 0
12 CLE 23 114 5 1 3 51 17 0
13 PIT 7 34 4.9 0 1 8 8 0
16 DET 3 12 4 0 2 20 10 0
17 @BAL 18 96 5.3 0 1 1 1 0
Total 178 626 3.6 4 30 287 7.77 0

If Bernard remains a main piece of the offense, Mixon would take over the Jeremy Hill role where he will see around 225 carries. If he can up his average per carry to 4 then he would finish 2018 with 900 yards rushing. I view this as Mixon’s floor for 2018 because I expect him to carry closer to 250 times with somewhere between 50-60 catches as well as all the goal line work.

Mixon is primed for a true break out year in his sophomore campaign. If I am in dynasty leagues, I am asking the Mixon owner what he wants. In redraft leagues, I am willing to pay the 2nd/3rd round price to have Mixon on my roster.

Let me know what you think of Mixon’s 2018 outlook in the comments and don’t forget to check out our other player profile articles as well.


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