Daily Dr. Roto — June 5, 2018
Top 15 RB Profile: Joe Mixon
As I comb through my Twitter feed (@DrRoto), I have seen a lot of social media hate for Bengals RB Joe Mixon as a second-round Fantasy pick this season. But is the hate truly warranted?
There is a lot to like with Mixon. Firstly, he is fast and elusive out of the backfield and has a burst that most other running backs don’t have. If he looked sluggish at times last season, it was probably because he weighed more as a rookie than he did at college. That has been remedied this offseason as he supposedly has lost 13 pounds and will play at 225 lbs this season after working out with a personal trainer.
Many of you will also remember that the Bengals refused to give Mixon the starting job outright last year, instead allowing dumpster fire RB Jeremy Hill to start games until they brought Mixon in at some point in the second quarter. Whoever starts a road race with a used Kia when they have a Porsche on the sidelines? OC Bill Lazor has two main jobs this season: 1) feature Mixon and make the running game a priority, and 2) figure out a way to resurrect QB Andy Dalton from Fantasy mediocrity.
It all begins with an improved offensive line. The Bengals added LT Cordy Glenn in free agency and C Billy Price in the first round of the draft. The Bengals OL will be tougher this year and will open more holes than Mixon saw all last season. If you watch last year’s game film closely, you will see a number of plays where Mixon had long gainers that were brought back due to holding penalties. If even half those penalties turn into real yards, Mixon’s statistics will improve.
Additionally, the emergence of second-year wide receiver John Ross will also help the Bengals running game. Last season the Bengals lacked a deep threat in their passing attack, so opposing defenses were able to sneak up and stay closer to the line of scrimmage. A healthy John Ross (who runs a 4.28) might help provide Mixon a few more open running lanes as well.
How committed are the Bengals to Mixon? Extremely. The Bengals drafted University of Miami RB Mark Walton in the fourth round, but Walton’s 40-yd time is 4.6, and he is not a game breaker in the least. The team likes Gio Bernard as its third down pass catching back, and he is expected to get about 80-100 rushing attempts and 40 receptions out of the backfield. Bernard’s biggest problem is that although he is extremely talented, he is not big enough to withstand the pounding of an RB1 in the NFL.
Some of Mixon’s naysayers worry that he doesn’t take the game seriously and relies more on his talent than work ethic. While this might be true, it is not enough to downgrade him significantly in drafts. One of the easiest ways to see if Mixon is committed is to keep an eye on his playing weight. If he plays at 225 lbs, you know he is serious about playing football. If he hovers around 240 lbs, you know that he is not 100 percent invested.
To all of you Mixon bashers on social media, I implore you to go check out one of his YouTube videos from when he played at Oklahoma. Tell me if you’ve seen a more explosive back with silky hands in a long while. You can’t help but be impressed. We live in a “What have you done for me lately?” society and Mixon did very little last year to impress Fantasy owners. That should change in 2018.
Joe Mixon’s Predicted Stats: 250 carries – 1085 rushing yards – 8 TDs & 35 catches – 412 receiving yards – 4 TDs
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