“Mix In” Your Opinion… “Mixin'” It Up
The echo chamber ripples through the Twitter timeline. Opinions are formed without questioning the statements coming from the barrel. Are these statements being made because it is trendy? Are these statements being made from evidence? You should always question everything. Joe Mixon has been the topic of varying opinions in the fantasy football industry. It seems the opinions are split 50/50 – you are either for him or against him. What is the Joe Mixon fantasy outlook for 2021? I got you. (P.S. – Sorry for the cringey title attempts.)
Joe Mixon was drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft with the 48th overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals. Mixon attended the University of Oklahoma where played two seasons and his college production is likely what you want to see coming out of the Big 12:
Marvin Lewis was the head coach for the Bengals during Mixon’s rookie year. The Bengals ran the ball 377 times, 339 if you take away the elusive Andy Dalton’s rushing attempts. Mixon accounted for 47% (53%) of those rushing attempts. The next three years have brought Mixon into an entertaining Twitter fantasy scandal. Mixon rushed for over 1,000 yards the following two seasons and caught over 35 receptions both years. Mixon finalized a four-year extension on September 1st, 2020 ensuring he would be signed through 2023 with a club option for 2024.
Mixon’s NFL career to this point:
*2020 season is extrapolated
Mixon’s average draft position (ADP) using Dynasty League Football’s ADP for 1QB leagues:
- February 2017: 60
- February 2018: 31.67
- February 2019: 14.67
- February 2020: 12.83
- February 2021: 32.5
From 2019-2020, Mixon was viewed as a top fantasy asset being drafted at the end of round one or early round two. Mixon is currently ranked 36th in Superflex leagues and 26th overall according to FantasyPros.
Joe Mixon has played a full season just once in his four-year NFL career but has played in 14 or more games in three of those.
Mixon’s rookie season found him with only 40% snap share. During the games he had greater than 60% snaps, Mixon averaged 15.75 carries per game and 12.61 points per game (PPG). This would have been the RB16 in PPG for his rookie season. Mixon went on to finish as the RB10 and RB13 the following two years. This an average finish of RB13 with extrapolating his rookie season.
The glaring concern with Mixon, he has only played a full season once. Not good, right? Here is a Twitter thread from Edwin Porras, a Doctor of Physical Therapy:
Is Joe Mixon Injury Prone?
iykyk but lets dissect it
’15-’19, he played 69nice/74 games. A whopping 93%
The best predictor of future health is previous health, so what’s the problem?
Further, he turns 25 in July. His window is open.
Age of average top 12 RBs 16-20 below
— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) February 13, 2021
Dr. Edwin Porras crushed any concerns about Mixon being injury prone. This was a quick paragraph.
Current Coaching Staff
The Cincinnati Bengals hired Zach Taylor prior to the 2019 season. Let’s take a look at how Joe Mixon has been utilized with his current coaching staff. Here are Mixon’s opportunities with Taylor and Brian Callahan (Offensive Coordinator):
In the two seasons played under the current regime, Mixon has played 22 games. Breaking down the game logs:
I used targets to look at opportunity, as not all of the targets will turn into receptions. Also, looking at opportunity paints a clearer picture to analyze compared to using receptions. Joe Mixon receives volume in the Bengals’ offense and honestly, it is not enough. Mixon is underutilized in the passing game and his production takes a hit. If Mixon can be utilized more often in the passing game, his ceiling and floor change substantially for the better. These are variables to analyze when addressing Joe Mixon. We do NOT know how he will be utilized in the 2021 season. Here is what the Bengals did at the running back position:
- Giovani Bernard released
- Samaje Perine re-signed for two years
- Chris Evans drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft
- Pooka Williams signed after the 2021 NFL Draft
These moves indicate they are comfortable with Joe Mixon taking on a lead role for the foreseeable future.
Joe Mixon fantasy relevance
Joe Mixon is guaranteed to see heavy volume in the Bengals offense. Volume alone is enough to warrant fantasy relevance. Some may question whether Mixon is talented or not, but I do not see why it should matter. Joe Mixon signed a 4 year, $54-million-dollar extension in 2020. The Bengals have several million reasons to be utilizing and featuring Mixon in their offense. It is important to remember the Bengals have a team option on Mixon for 2024 and have a potential out after the 2022 season. This guarantees two seasons for Mixon to solidify him as the Bengals franchise running back.
I am not here to argue Mixon being a top 10 dynasty running back. I just do not understand the hate. The average finish of Mixon’s first three seasons, including the extrapolated season, is RB13. Mixon’s 2020 season was a small sample size (and I repeat, a small sample size), but a full 16 game pace would have finished as the RB5, yes with a boom 39.10-point game, the sample size is flawed. I understand the point. Taking away two touchdowns (12 points) from the boom game and his 16-game pace would have been RB9, so not a good argument against Mixon.
Offensive line upgrades
The Bengals were definitely aware they needed to upgrade the offensive line for franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.
- Signed Riley Reiff (OT)
- 71.4 PFF grade in 2020
- Signed Quinton Spain (G)
- 56.7 PFF grade in 2020
- Drafted Jackson Carman (OT) in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft
- Drafted D’Ante Smith (OT) in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft
- Drafted Trey Hill (C) in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft
- Jonah Williams (OT) will be returning from injury
- Williams was the Bengals first-round pick in 2019
Joe Mixon’s Future
Mixon may not be flashy and the most talented, but volume does not care about your thoughts and opinions. Mixon will be a steal in your 2021 leagues and is a great buy candidate in dynasty leagues as well. The Bengals offense is ready to take a step forward in 2021. Mixon has only scored in 40% of his games with a 29% conversion rate in the red zone within five yards.
What will happen when the Bengals’ offense starts clicking?