Joe Mixon’s dynasty value is at an all-time high entering the 2022 season. After years of his supporters claiming he was talented and his lack of production was a product of the Bengals being bad, Mixon finally proved us right in 2021. With Cincinnati on the rise, how should dynasty fantasy football managers value Mixon going forward?
Joe Mixon’s dynasty profile for 2022
I’ve always been a Mixon fan. He was my guy in 2019 and again in 2020, disappointing both seasons. Mixon averaged 14.1 PPR fantasy points per game in 2019 and played just six games in 2020 after a foot injury derailed his season.
Entering the 2021 campaign, I was almost ready to throw in the towel. I’m glad I didn’t, as Mixon finally put together a complete season. Mixon posted a career-best 18.1 ppg and finished as the overall RB5 (minimum eight games played).
Mixon’s career year was precipitated by the Bengals finally putting a competent team around him. Joe Burrow broke out all over the place, leading the Bengals to a Super Bowl. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins might be the best wide receiver duo in the NFL, and Tyler Boyd is one of the best WR3s in the league. The offense’s overall improvement enabled Mixon to bolster his fantasy value with 16 total touchdowns.
The Bengals also finally used Mixon a little bit more in the passing game. Although still not the primary third-down back, Mixon ran more routes in 2021 than any year of his career. He enters 2022 as the unquestioned feature back on an offense full of young, ascending players that spent the free agency period improving its offensive line. What does this mean for Mixon’s dynasty value going forward?
Fantasy projection for Mixon
Mixon spent multiple years being drafted based upon a breakout that never happened. In 2021, his value dipped a bit, and we got the breakout.
In 2022, Mixon is valued as an RB1. He’s the lead rusher and goal-line back on an offense that just went to the Super Bowl. I don’t think it’s out of the question for Mixon to repeat his 2021 touchdown-scoring prowess.
The concern for Mixon remains the receiving work. While his increase in routes run resulted in a career-best 314 receiving yards, he still came off the field on way too many third downs in favor of Samaje Perine. We now have five years of evidence suggesting the Bengals are not going to use Mixon in a three-down role.
The Bengals being a good team will help offset Mixon not being the running back in clear passing situations as they’ll be in neutral to positive game script more, keeping Mixon on the field. At the same time, we’d like Mixon to see those third-down snaps.
As a result, Mixon’s 2021 likely represents his ceiling. Can he do it again? Absolutely. But the more likely scenario is we get 85-95% of his 2021 season as opposed to a further ascension into the ranks of the elite.
What is Mixon’s future beyond 2022?
Concern over a running back’s second contract is very real. Fortunately for Mixon, he’s already on his second contract. The Bengals extended him prior to the 2021 season, locking him up through 2024.
Although Mixon is already 26 years old, dynasty managers should have confidence in his ability to remain an RB1 for the duration of his current contract. When it comes to running backs, you really can’t think more than three years down the line. Too much changes too quickly in the NFL, especially at the running back position.
Mixon being tethered to a core group of offensive players that are all young bodes well for his ability to continue producing at a high level for at least another 3-4 years.
What can fantasy managers expect from Mixon?
Mixon will likely be valued as a mid-to-low RB1 for the 2022 campaign. Depending on your league and group of managers, he may be properly valued or undervalued. I don’t see him being overvalued by many because of the stigma of his first four seasons.
Dynasty managers in possession of Mixon should be looking to hold. Of course, any player is a sell candidate if the price is right. If someone offers you a king’s ransom for Mixon, go right ahead and take the deal.
Assuming relatively normal valuations, Mixon has a spot on both contending and rebuilding teams. Win-now teams can confidently deploy Mixon as a mid-to-low RB1. Rebuilding squads that aren’t looking to compete until 2023 can hang onto Mixon (or acquire him), feeling good about his ability to contribute at a high level for another 2-3 years.