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Who is the Bengals starting running back for fantasy football in 2023?

We take a look at the running back situation for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023 as you prepare for fantasy football drafts.

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Joe Mixon has been the Cincinnati Bengals’ starting running back for six seasons now, with a few ups and downs along the way. He’ll be in that role for a seventh season in 2023, one of the few clearcut bell cow running back situations left in the NFL. But his numbers from last season leave open the question that Mixon’s best days could be behind him.

Bengals starting running back: Joe Mixon

Mixon missed some time with a concussion last season but still managed to play in 14 games. He finished the season with 814 yards and seven touchdowns on 210 carries. Mixon also caught 60 passes for 441 yards and two touchdowns.

Mixon’s 3.9 yards per carry was his lowest mark in that category since an injury-shortened season in 2020. His yards-per-game average, 58.1, was the lowest since his rookie season.

The Bengals and Mixon agreed on a reworked contract during the offseason that includes a pay cut for 2024, the last year of his current deal. It’s possible this could be his final season in Cincinnati, and he’ll be 27 when the season starts. But as long as he’s with the Bengals this season, he’s in line for a starting running back role which will be key for fantasy football lineups.

Who is Joe Mixon’s backup on the Bengals RB depth chart?

With Samaje Perine gone, the backup job is up for grabs. So far, it looks like Trayveon Williams has a slight edge, but we’re expecting a battle for that role in training camp this year between him and rookie Chase Brown.

This will be Williams’ fifth season with the Bengals, who brought him back on a one-year deal for 2023. Still, after that much time without having broken through, it’s hard to have much confidence that he can lock down the No. 2 role.

The Bengals also have Chris Evans, a sixth-round pick in 2021, who found himself a healthy scratch at the time last season. He did get some work on kick returns.

Brown is probably the most interesting one to watch among this group. An athletic player with impressive straight-line speed, he’s coming off a monster season at Illinois that saw him rush for 1,643 yards and 10 touchdowns, along with 240 receiving yards and three scores through the air. He could easily play his way into a role as the Bengals’ third down specialist right out of the gate.