There may be no tougher decision in fantasy football than when to draft Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon. While Mixon was a supremely talented college player, his role in the Bengals offense is a tough one to gauge. The former Oklahoma Sooner rusher is going to be competing for touches with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.
While Mixon is an excellent dynasty fantasy league option, his one-year value could wind up being really hit or miss. So, let’s take a look at when you should consider drafting Mixon, and it’s still surprisingly high considering the competition he’ll have for touches.
*Before diving in, note that this is based on 12-team leagues with standard rosters and point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
When to Draft Joe Mixon
Consensus: Late third round
The type of dual-threat back that Mixon is won’t last beyond the third round. With that said, he’s expected to go around a similar spot that Green Bay Packers RB Ty Montgomery is, so it’s hard not to like the potential upside Mixon could there. The positive thing about taking Mixon in the late third round is that you’ll not only have two strong players to pair him with, but you’ll pick again early in the fourth round to help bolster your roster with talent.
If you really love the potential that Mixon has, you could argue pushing him up to the middle of the third round, but that does seem a bit high for him. In that spot, you’d be looking at someone like Dalvin Cook or Isaiah Crowell, who are both players that I’d select ahead of Mixon.
Even with as talented as Mixon is, I can’t push him into that next tier of running backs and believe that he’ll statistically wind up behind multiple other rookie rushers. These names include not only Cook but Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette as well.
Statistical Predictions for Mixon in 2017
While Mixon only spent two seasons with the Sooners, his talent was wildly apparently. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry as a freshman and 6.8 per carry as a sophomore, tallying 2,027 rushing yards and 17 scores on the ground in two seasons. He also caught 65 passes for 894 yards and nine more touchdowns as well.
It’s hard not to be completely impressed with Mixon’s raw talent, and if it winds up transitioning to the NFL, then he’s going to be a star. But, the Bengals are going to be looking at that time share, which could really hurt his fantasy value. Even still, talent trumps everything else, and if he can prove to be a better runner than Hill, and equally as effective in the passing game as Bernard, then he’s going to see a ton of work.
I’m not going to go wild predicting Mixon to light the world on fire as a rookie, but something around 800 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns sounds pretty realistic. That would place him right behind the rookie rushers listed above, while completely eclipsing any later-round running backs you would likely draft. While it’s risky to take a player who’s unlikely to dominate touches right out of the gate, Mixon could be worth it.