by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Despite talk of it being a committee approach, fantasy owners were clearly leaning towards Joe Mixon as being the biggest impact player from the Cincinnati Bengals’ backfield. However after Week 1 does everyone need to be readjusting their approach?
The Outlook From Here:
No one was particularly impressive, but it would be easy to point towards Mixon as the most disappointing. As opposed to breaking away from the field and earning regular early down repetitions he averaged an abysmal 1.1 yards per carry in his NFL debut. It was against a difficult defense in the Baltimore Ravens, so we don’t want to completely write him off, but it wasn’t the debut that anyone had hoped for.
What it shows is that he’s not guaranteed the lead back duties, and ultimately he’s going to have to earn the carries on the field. No one is going to argue that Mixon isn’t the most talented running back in this backfield, but it’s going to take time. For now keep him stashed on your bench until the Bengals fully trust him and are prepared to unleash him. Given the overall embarrassment of their Week 1 loss, it could come quickly (though they also have a quick turnaround, complicating things for Week 2 and makes him more of a RB4 for the coming week).
He had the biggest numbers, but it was two big plays (a 23 yard run and a 39 yard catch) that buoyed the production. That said he’s going to continue to operate as the third-down/receiving back and his role is the one that’s pretty clear. A better fit for those in PPR formats, he’s more of a WR4/5 as opposed to a player to trust.
Game flow limited his chances in Week 1, but he was the starter and could get a bigger run in Week 2 as the Bengals try to reestablish themselves after an extremely disappointing defeat. Of course over the past two seasons he’s posted YPC of 3.6 and 3.8, showing more of a nose for the end zone then the burst to make big plays. Eventually he should fall into a short yardage/goal line option and little else, but the question is when that happens.
Despite the poor performance long-term the back to own should be Joe Mixon. The team is going to have to reevaluate their rotation after what was a bitter disappointment and things could change sooner rather than later. Considering they play on a short week there’s a better chance the big changes come in Week 3, so for now keep Mixon stashed on your bench and don’t consider him a truly viable option.
Source – ESPN