Joe Mixon Fantasy Projections: Should You Draft Mixon in Fantasy This Year?

    Facing on-field regression, what are Joe Mixon's fantasy projections in 2023, and should you draft him at his ADP?

    As the NFL season approaches, millions of people are turning their attention to fantasy football. We at PFN have been researching more than 350 players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here are Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon’s fantasy projections for 2023, as well as insights into whether he should be drafted at or before his ADP.

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    Joe Mixon’s 2023 Fantasy Projection

    When people talked about Mixon this offseason, his legal issues took center stage. One of the few unquestioned bell cows in recent years, he and the Bengals were in a situation where they had wait to see whether he’s found innocent or guilty of an alleged aggravated menacing in January.

    But more people should be talking about his on-field challenges. That might seem strange for a player who’s seemingly entrenched as a weekly must-start fantasy RB. However, Mixon has been one of the least efficient long-term starting RBs in years.

    He’s averaged more than 4.1 yards per carry in only one campaign (2018). His yards after contact have somewhat steadily dwindled these past four years, reaching a career low last season.

    And in his last 400 carries dating back to Week 13, 2021, he’s netted only 3.8 yards per carry. On some teams, that would be a benchable level of inefficiency, especially with backup Samaje Perine outpacing him during that same stretch (4.1 ypc). And frankly, Perine ran better than Mixon for much of their time together in Cincy.

    That’s not to say Mixon’s career is on the decline. He just turned 27 and has become more useful in the passing game. Injuries continue to mar his ceiling. But he can be a scoring machine in a high-powered offense. There’s certainly plenty of value there.

    At the same time, understand the risks of someone like Mixon. He was an up-and-down runner in the first two-thirds of his career and has not looked like a reliable bell cow in the last third.

    If you want a volume-dependent, TD-dependent “weekly starter,” Mixon still fits the mold. As long as he continues to get passing-game work, his floor should remain just inside the top 20, and his ceiling could reach the top 6-8 — now that he’s been found not guilty of the charges against him.

    But if he gets off to a slow start this season, we might see a little more of Trayveon Williams or Chris Evans. Or, we could see a lot of rookie Chase Brown. Or, Cincinnati might go shopping for a veteran back who can share the load with Mixon and keep the long-term bell cow fresher for a potentially deep playoff run.

    Any of those latter scenarios seem more likely than a 300-touch season for Mixon, whose six-year track record has shown us both how good he is and also why we’ve probably already seen him at his best.

    Should You Draft Joe Mixon This Year?

    Underdog Fantasy currently lists Mixon with an ADP of RB15. Our PFN Consensus Rankings have him at RB10!

    This might seem surprising. But based on how much was hanging over his head until just this past week, the discrepancy makes sense. His ADP is also reasonable for someone who probably cannot afford to average 3.8 ypc for the first two months of the season.

    That’s because the Bengals are in win-now mode. They came so close to claiming their first Super Bowl title two seasons ago and then came so close to reaching this past season’s Super Bowl in a game where Perine outplayed Mixon and nearly doubled his snap count.

    There are a lot of what-ifs impacting Mixon’s 2023 fantasy production. Arguably no bell cow has a lower floor due to all the reasons stated above. Managers who draft him at his ADP are battling steep odds of netting a surprisingly good return. Breaking even might be the best hope.

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