The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the hottest teams in all of football, which is a stark difference from how they were viewed this time last year. Part of that humming offense has been their running back, Joe Mixon. Cincinnati’s turnaround has been incredible. Heading into the playoffs, what should be expected from Mixon and Samaje Perine in DFS and fantasy football playoff leagues?
Joe Mixon’s breakout season
Mixon truthers have been clamoring for a season like this one for several years, and they finally got it. Mixon finished the regular season as the overall RB3 behind Jonathan Taylor and Austin Ekeler. He generated 1,205 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns, 42 receptions for 314 yards, and 3 more scores. He’s been an elite fantasy asset in a suddenly explosive offense.
Mixon only topped 100 rushing yards four times this year, but his ability to score touchdowns and contribute in the passing game kept his floor high. Not only that, but he’s one of the few bell-cow running backs in the league. He had 292 rushing attempts this year, with his backup Samaje Perine having only 55. Mixon is the featured three-down running back in an offense that can hang 40+ points in any given week.
Can Samaje Perine command a role?
Honestly, if Mixon is healthy, there’s no upside for Perine. Two weeks ago, in the last game that mattered for the Bengals, Perine saw just 1 carry. He only comes on the field to spell Mixon occasionally but does not have a role in Cincinnati’s offense worthy of any fantasy production.
If you’re drafting teams in playoff settings, then Perine is worth a potential late-round flier on the chance that Mixon suffers an injury. When Perine has received opportunities this year, he’s been serviceable for fantasy. In Weeks 5 and 7, he topped 14 fantasy points in each game. Don’t expect the same production out of Perine if Mixon misses time, but he’d still fill in as an RB2.
Expectations for Mixon and Perine
Firstly, it’s important to look at the matchup for the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. The Bengals, who are 5-4 at home this season while averaging 27.7 points and allowing 28.8, will host the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders have been playing hard lately and have held three of their last four opponents for 20 points or less.
A Vegas team that once was giving up a ton of fantasy points to running backs has been better as of late, allowing the 14th-most fantasy points per game to RBs over the last month. Mixon is priced highly at $8,500 for the Saturday-only slate, but he’s a lock for a high workload in a Cincinnati offense that has scored 75 points in their last two games that mattered.
The Bengals should be the favorites in this home matchup, especially with quarterback Joe Burrow playing like an MVP candidate. Mixon should be considered an RB1 option on a surprisingly well-rounded team that could make it to a second or third playoff game.