It did not initially seem as though fantasy football managers would still be asking is Joe Mixon playing this week on Sunday morning. However, that is the case, as Mixon has still not been cleared from the concussion protocol heading into game day.
Therefore, with Mixon’s status for the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs game seemingly up in the air, let’s examine the latest news and the fantasy implications.
Update: Joe Mixon is inactive for Week 13.
Is Joe Mixon Playing Today?
Heading into Sunday morning, it does not seem as though Mixon will be on the field this week. As of early Sunday morning, Mixon was still in the concussion protocol, having been placed in it back in Week 11. In his report, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport called Mixon a “long shot” to play.
There is always a chance that Mixon could clear the concussion protocol prior to the game on Sunday. The intriguing part of all of this is that the final phase of the protocol is “Full Football Activity.” If the player tolerates full participation in practice and contact without signs or symptoms, then the club physician can look to conclude that the concussion has resolved.
MORE: Week 13 RB Rankings
However, the protocol also states that “simulated contact activity will suffice to satisfy this Phase.” The player must then be cleared by the independent neurological consultant assigned to the team. Therefore, even though the Bengals will not have a full practice Sunday, there is still a path to Mixon being cleared.
There is a lot that needs to happen for Mixon to be active this week. However, there is still a chance that he could be cleared. It would be a surprise if we have to wait for inactives to be announced to find out Mixon’s status. Hopefully, we will have an answer before the 1 p.m. ET games begin so that fantasy managers can make the necessary adjustments.
Fantasy Outlook for Mixon and Samaje Perine in Week 13
While there is a lot about concussions that we still do not know, one thing that we have seen is that players do not usually suffer a performance drop after returning from them. Therefore, if Mixon is cleared for Week 13, there should be no major concern that he will struggle on the field.
The matchup with the Chiefs is intriguing because the way their games go, teams often have to move away from the run. Therefore, when you look at the week-by-week fantasy points allowed to RBs by the Chiefs, there is a huge amount of variation. In the last four weeks, we have seen the Chiefs allow over 20 fantasy points twice and under 12 fantasy points twice.
Therefore, this is certainly not a must-start matchup for the Bengals RBs. However, we should expect the Bengals to at least try to use their backs to control this game as much as possible. Getting into a straight shoot-out with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense is usually not advised. Therefore, if Mixon is cleared, he is a player I would look to start.
MORE: Week 13 Start/Sit Advice
In the event that Mixon does end up getting ruled out, Samaje Perine is a less certain option. Last week he benefited from volume in a tight, run-dominated game. Perine finished with 24 opportunities and 21 touches. However, he has averaged just 3.14 rushing yards per attempt with Mixon out, demonstrating that he ideally needs that volume to have significant fantasy value.
In PPR leagues, Perine would certainly be intriguing, having had four receptions in each of the last two weeks and added 87 yards in that manner. That boost of two to four fantasy points, depending on whether it is half or full-PPR scoring, is significant when evaluating a back.
Additionally, Perine will have the goal line threat that makes him intriguing this week as a player with an upside option. In best-ball Underdog Fantasy leagues, Perine is an intriguing later-round option. He does not appear to be a safe floor option, so investing highly in him is not wise, but in later rounds, a speculative pick could return some nice rewards if Mixon is ruled out.