The Cincinnati Bengals face the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL’s Wild Card round. How should Joe Mixon and Josh Jacobs be viewed as NFL DFS picks/fantasy football values in an elimination game? Which running back can you trust?
The Raiders snuck into the playoffs with a divisional overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, securing the fifth seed in the process. The Bengals had an up-and-down season but wrapped up a playoff spot with a week to spare, resting starters in Week 18.
NFL DFS Picks | Should you trust Josh Jacobs or Joe Mixon?
This season, the Bengals’ backfield has been Joe Mixon, Joe Mixon, and Joe Mixon — a blessing for fantasy managers. He finished the year with 292 rushing attempts in 16 games, behind only Jonathan Taylor and Najee Harris league-wide. Mixon averaged 18.3 rushing attempts and 2.6 receptions per game during the regular season. He also had 13 of the Bengals’ 16 rushing touchdowns (Joe Burrow had 2, and Samaje Perine had 1).
Mixon gets an enticing matchup with the Bengals hosting the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders allowed the third-most points to running backs in DraftKings scoring during the regular season. No team in the playoffs gave up more points in standard or PPR (points per reception) formats across 17 games.
Josh Jacobs has dominated touches in Las Vegas’ backfield this season. He has rushed 217 times for 872 yards and 9 touchdowns. Jacobs’ yardage has been disappointing. The 58.1 rushing yards per game is easily the lowest of the third-year RB’s career. He’s become much more heavily involved in the passing game, though, something fans and fantasy football players have hoped for since he was drafted out of the University of Alabama.
The Bengals’ defense has allowed the 11th-most points to running backs this season. If there’s an area where they’re weak, it’s against pass catchers out of the backfield. Only four teams in the NFL have given up more receptions to running backs than the Bengals, although three of them — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Kansas City Chiefs — are also in the playoffs.
NFL Showdown Picks | How to approach Jacobs and Mixon
When these teams played each other in Week 11, Mixon was the star of the show. He rushed 30 times for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Bengals comfortably won 32-13. Mixon is an incredibly strong play if you agree with the betting odds for the Raiders-Bengals clash and believe the Cincinnati will win again.
Mixon is priced at $7,100 on DraftKings (highest on the slate). Still, few players have the upside that Mixon does this weekend. It’s difficult to advise against him. He’ll be one of the more popular NFL DFS picks as captain, and it would be justified. After a spell on the COVID-19 list, he’s healthy and should be heavily involved.
Jacobs is priced at $6,600 on DraftKings. He’s a risky choice, especially if you believe that the Raiders will be playing from behind. Las Vegas could abandon the run to save their season if the game goes as expected. Jacobs rushed just 9 times for 37 yards in Week 11. While he added 5 catches for 24 yards as a receiver, his performance fell far below expectations.
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