Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon has been one of the keys to the team’s 2-1 start to the season. He’s helped keep Cincinnati’s offense moving despite relying on one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL to create holes for him. He’s been a borderline RB1 in fantasy football, and there are signs that Mixon’s output could continue to improve.
Should you start Joe Mixon in Week 4?
The Bengals’ young offense looks to be finding its feet after an injury disrupted Joe Burrow’s rookie season. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd form one of the top receiving corps in the NFL, but Mixon is establishing himself as a key contributor. Mixon’s talent has never been in doubt, but he’s spent much of his career on bad offenses and battling injuries.
Mixon must add touchdowns to his game
Despite two seasons in which he exceeded 1,400 scrimmage yards, Mixon has struggled to score the touchdowns to match his yardage. His 9-touchdown season in 2018 is the highest total of his career, and that lack of scoring limits his fantasy football production. This concerning trend appears to be continuing into 2021.
Mixon has 315 scrimmage yards already this season. Only Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey have accumulated more among running backs. The former Oklahoma RB has only found the end zone once, though. 17 running backs have scored 2 or more touchdowns, and many of them have far fewer touches.
The good news for fantasy managers rostering Mixon is that Cincinnati doesn’t look to be moving away from him as their primary RB in the red zone. The only other player on the team who has rushed the ball inside the 20-yard line is Burrow. The problem? The Bengals are just as likely to pass in the red zone as they are to run.
Mixon is a good receiver and has been a reliable option out of the backfield, but Cincinnati’s talented WR group means that he’s often an afterthought in the passing game. That puts pressure on him to convert when given opportunities on the ground. The Bengals will continue to put the ball in Burrow’s hands until Mixon establishes himself as more of a touchdown threat.
Mixon faces a struggling Jaguars defense in Week 4
If you’re looking for great matchups for your fantasy roster, a game with the Jacksonville Jaguars is pretty high up on the list. The Jags are heading into Thursday Night Football with an 0-3 record, having been beaten convincingly by the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, and Arizona Cardinals. Despite facing some underwhelming rushing attacks, the Jaguars are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs in standard-scoring leagues.
Mixon is a better player than Mark Ingram and James Conner, who had big fantasy weeks against the Jaguars. Denver’s Javonte Williams ran well — averaging 4.9 yards per carry — but Melvin Gordon’s presence prevented him from having a huge game. Mixon won’t have to worry about a committee like the one that the Broncos operate.
Mixon will continue to be a focal point of the offense
The Bengals are currently 7.5-point favorites, which should mean a positive game script. If Cincinnati looks to run out the clock at the end of a victory, Mixon will be the beneficiary. He has been the epitome of a workhorse back for the team this season.
Mixon has touched the ball 73 times in just three games. That number is second only to Henry, who has posted an astronomical 92 touches. The only other Bengals running backs who have even registered a statistic are Samaje Perine (8 touches) and Chris Evans (3). If the Bengals have the ball, Mixon will be involved.
Mixon is currently RB5 in our Week 4 fantasy RB rankings. His workload — combined with a favorable matchup — gives him one of the highest floors among all running backs. If he can add touchdowns to his game, the sky is the limit.
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