Joe Mixon Injury Report: Is he playing in Week 11?

Four weeks. That is how long you have to secure your spot in the fantasy football playoffs as they quickly approach. One player that fantasy managers need back soon for their playoff push is Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon, but is he playing in Week 11, or will his injury keep him out another week. Having been out since Week 7, Mixon’s return could be a massive boost in the odds of fantasy managers in hopes of bringing home some hardware. 

November 21 Update: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Bengals have placed Joe Mixon on injured reserve. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Joe Mixon is out for Sunday’s Week 11 game against the Washington Football Team.

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Joe Mixon has been trying to come back from an ankle injury that made him “week to week”

Joe Mixon suffered a right foot injury in the first half of Cincinnati’s Week 6 game against the Indianapolis Colts. The issue sidelined him for the first two practices of Week 7, and in the lead-up to the Bengals’ showdown with the Cleveland Browns, Mixon was at best a limited participant and closed out the week as a non-participant.

Related | Fantasy RB Injury Report Week 11: Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Chris Carson, more

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor offered an update on Joe Mixon shortly before the Browns game, saying: “He’s just got a foot injury. We’ll see how this weekend goes. The only thing I’d rule him out for is this game.”

No official updates have been provided to this point, but the Bengals did have a bye week to freshen up after the Titans game, and seeing that Taylor implied in Week 7 that Joe Mixon would be week-to-week, it seems as though he should soon be gearing up to hit the field again. Until then, Gio Bernard will be the running back to play for fantasy.

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If Joe Mixon plays, he could be in a timeshare against Washington

After sitting out several weeks, it would not be a surprise to see Joe Mixon in a shared backfield along with Gio Bernard, who has been playing well as of late.

Don’t get me wrong, he did struggle in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but so does every team, and they also were behind the whole game, making them abandon the run. But from Week 7 through 9, Bernard was actually the RB9 in fantasy. Bernard rushed 28 times for 99 yards and a touchdown during that span while catching eight of nine targets for 75 yards and an additional two touchdowns.

Additionally, Mixon hasn’t been very efficient despite his solid fantasy production. He’s received a ton of volume from Cincinnati’s offense, earning 18 carries in the first half of the Colts game before his injury and averaging over 20 touches per week. He’s also been targeted 4.3 times per week, good for 14th in the NFL, although 14 of his 26 targets came in two of his six games this season.

But despite his many opportunities, Mixon has only averaged 3.6 yards per carry and 6.6 yards per reception. Additionally, Mixon has fallen below four yards per carry in all but one game this year, and in three games, he has even fallen below three yards per carry.

While he is the RB10 in points per game (16.6), if Mixon is active, he will likely be in a timeshare, at least for Week 11 if not longer.

With Mixon’s Week 11 injury status up in the air, it will require updates closer to game day

For now, it is hard to tell if Joe Mixon’s injury will allow him to play this week against the Washington Football Team. Knowing that he was week-to-week and then sat through the team’s bye week along with another game makes you believe that he has sat out long enough to get fully healthy. Until we hear an official word from the team, it is nothing but speculation.

Maybe the team would have been better served to place Mixon on IR. That would have at least allowed fantasy managers to have stashed him on there, opening up a roster spot rather than play the waiting game during these crucial times in the fantasy season. 

Related | Fantasy RB Rankings Week 11: Sleepers, must starts, busts

If he does play, the matchup against Washington is not a bad one to come and make your first start in several weeks against. Washington ranks 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs with 21.32 allowed per game. They have given up the 13th-most yards on the ground to running back at 885 this year but have been stingy when the ball is in the air.

They rank third-best in the NFL at denying passing yards to running backs with just 224 yards on the season, or 24.89 yards per game. With Bengals RBs seeing only 17.8% of the team passing targets, this should not change the team’s strategy too much in Week 11.

Joe Mixon will be in the mid to low-RB2 range this week if he does play due to uncertainty of his status or what the game plan for this week will be. It’s unlikely you will want to sit Mixon, but I would avoid getting my hopes too high on his return to the field in Week 11.

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Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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