Whether Joe Mixon plays in Week 12 has hung over fantasy football managers this week. The Cincinnati Bengals ruled Mixon out last week with a concussion. He needs to clear the protocol to play against the Tennessee Titans this week.
Let’s take a look at whether Mixon is on track to play in Week 12 and the fantasy implications of his status.
Is Joe Mixon Playing in Week 12?
At his media availability on Friday, Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor ruled Mixon out for Week 12. He was listed as a non-participant at practice through the first two days of Bengals practice. That indicated Mixon had not progressed very far through the protocol.
Concussion injuries are extremely difficult to assess a time frame for, and it has been even tougher in 2022. Entering this year, the average time frame for return from a concussion was six to 10 days. However, the average has snuck slightly over a week this year, with it tending to be more common that a concussion leads to a player missing the next game.
What we see in terms of practice participation is usually telling. If a player can get back into practice in a limited fashion by Wednesday, they have a chance to suit up that week. However, we have rarely seen a player unable to participate on Wednesday end up being cleared for the following Sunday.
The final stage of clearing the protocol includes “full football activity,” which works against Mixon. With most teams holding just a walkthrough on Saturday, that would mean Mixon would either need to be at practice Friday or need to have a special session, likely with the practice squad on Saturday, in order to be cleared.
Fantasy Implications for Mixon and Samaje Perine
In some ways, this could be a good thing for fantasy managers that Mixon does not play this week. If he were active, it would be close to impossible to sit a player who ranks in the top 10 in rushing attempts and sixth overall in total touches this season.
However, Mixon hasn’t been the most consistent fantasy producer this season. Out of his 160.4 fantasy points in half-PPR scoring this season, 33% (53.1) came in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers. However, he did score double-digit fantasy points in six of the first nine games this year.
The matchup this week against the Titans pits Mixon against the third-toughest defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs on average. Tennessee has allowed an average of just 14.86 fantasy points per game in half-PPR.
If active, Mixon could still have been a fantasy starter because he would likely dominate touches enough to take the majority of that 14.86 fantasy points. The matchup would limit his ceiling, but Mixon would still likely see enough usage to be a starter for fantasy managers.
In Mixon’s absence, Samaje Perine is expected to be the lead back. We don’t know how much of the role Perine will take or whether Chris Evans and Trayveon Williams will mix in to share the load. Therefore, Perine is much less of a sure-fire starting option in 12-team leagues than Mixon would be.
Tommy Garrett has Perine as his RB25 in the Week 12 RB fantasy rankings, putting the Bengals’ backup RB in 12-team Flex consideration. After we saw Perine take the majority of touches last week, it seems like he could take on a role with a similar volume to Mixon.
However, Evans had been pushing Perine for the backup spot at times this year. After missing last week with a knee injury, Evans was a full participant Thursday, so he should return. We could see this being much more of a split backfield than we saw last week after Mixon’s injury.