Cincinnati has been bad. I know that, you know that, we all know that. And Joe Mixon has been frustrating. I wouldn’t like to be one of Mixon’s fantasy owners, because while he has improved his performances lately, the truth is Mixon is underperforming to incredible levels given where he was picked in redraft leagues’ drafts. The Bengals were never going to field a playoff team this season, let’s be honest, but Mixon was expected to build on his great sophomore year — he finished 2018 ranked the RB10 overall. So far, though, he’s been a headache more than anything else: Mixon is the RB30 in PPR-format leagues through five weeks, has yet to reach 50 combined fantasy points, and has only put on a single RB1-level performance in 2019. Almost uglier than Cincinnati’s 0-5 record.
After two duds to start the year it looked like Mixon was back to his own self in Week 3 finishing with 94 yards from scrimmage on 17 touches against Buffalo. Turned out, it was a mirage. In his last two weeks Mixon hasn’t been bad but his outcomes have been average at best. Against a below-average defense in Pittsburgh he could only get 62 yards in 15 carries, and facing Arizona last week he was limited to 93 on 19 carries. He has yet to score a touchdown rushing and has only one receiving.
For the vast amount of opportunities he’s having—all thanks to a receiving corps ravaged by injuries—Mixon is just having neglected performances. It looks to me like he’s rushing his decisions and game to make amends and fix his bad start to the season. He’s broken just three percent of the tackles he’s seen and his 71.2 percent positive runs (although might sound high) just rank in the 4th percentile among running backs. Again, it looks like he’s playing like a headless chicken.
Fantasy football analysis, Bengals RB Joe Mixon
If you are holding onto Mixon because you still have hopes he bounces back, then I guess you’ll start him believing he will produce sooner rather than later. And playing the Ravens this week might look as a good matchup to put up some numbers. At the end of the day, Baltimore is conceding 25.5 fantasy points per game to RBs and has allowed them to score a league-high seven touchdowns on the ground. The problem with those “raw” numbers, though, is that most of them were accrued by Cleveland’s Nick Chubb (192 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries, with an extra 45 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown) and Kansas City’s backfield (124 yards with a TD on 20 attempts). Other than than, no team has rushed for more than 57 yards against Baltimore.
Cincinnati enters the Week 6 game as a heavy 11-point underdog and as always they’ll have to throw the ball as many times as they can if they want to keep the scoreboard tight. Andy Dalton won’t hesitate putting on a 40-plus attempts performance if needed, and although Mixon will have his chances I can see no more than borderline Flex upside in him. I’d advise to start Mixon only at that position and if you don’t have any other decent option on your roster.
Start (borderline Flex)