Joe Mixon’s 2022 fantasy outlook and forecast

Joe Mixon’s 2022 fantasy outlook and forecast
Joe Mixon’s 2022 fantasy outlook and forecast

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon spent the early years of his career held back by his poor situation. In 2021, the Bengals finally assembled a strong roster around him, and he proved the faithful right, posting the best season of his career. What are Mixon’s fantasy football prospects and where does his current ADP sit heading into the 2022 fantasy football draft?

Joe Mixon’s 2022 fantasy outlook

After a strong close to his rookie season in 2017, Mixon was seen as an immediate breakout candidate and potential RB1 in 2018. It’s fascinating that he was considered a disappointment in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

During those seasons, he averaged 17.4 PPR fantasy points per game, 14.1 ppg and 16.6 ppg, respectively. These numbers are certainly not as high as they could be, but by no means were any of them objectively bad years.

Mixon apologists, myself included, blamed the Bengals’ poor offense and offensive line. In 2021, Cincinnati reached the Super Bowl behind a full roster that saw improved (but still not great) Olympic play.

Mixon averaged 18 ppg and finished as the overall RB5 (minimum eight games played). He rushed for 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns on 292 carries while adding a career-high 42 receptions for 314 yards and three more touchdowns through the air.

How the Bengals’ depth chart affects Joe Mixon’s fantasy projection for the season

From a skill standpoint, not much has changed. The Bengals offense will still run through Joe Burrow, Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and to a lesser extent Tyler Boyd. Of Cincinnati’s 976 combined rush and pass attempts last season, 68.8% went to these four players.

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The one knock on Mixon is that he came off the field for Samaje Perine on most third downs. As a result, we need to be able to project that the Bengals don’t fall behind with more scoring in games to keep Mixon going. Fortunately, we can. The Bengals are the odds-on favorites to win the AFC North and should be one of the better teams in the league again.

Despite their overall improvements last season, their offensive line was still lacking, resulting in Burrow being sacked a league-high 51 times. Their struggles also manifested themselves in the running game, as Mixon averaged just 1.6 yards before contact.

The good news is that the Bengals spent the offseason addressing this issue. They signed former Cowboys tackle La’el Collins, former Bucs guard Alex Cappa and former Patriots center Ted Karras. Cincinnati also selected the North Dakota State offensive lineman Cordell Volson in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. All these additions will only help Mixon improve its efficiency.

Absent a true three-down role, Mixon will have a hard time reaching the coveted 20 ppg threshold. Still, he comes with one of the highest floors at the running back position and is a safe first-round pick in the 2022 fantasy football draft.

Mixon’s 2022 ADP

Mixon’s ADP is in the late first round. He usually comes as the sixth or seventh back from the board. His price is almost exactly where it should be. In PFN’s consensus 2022 PPR fantasy rankings, Mixon is eighth overall as the fourth-ranked RB.

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Mixon is a very safe pick given his status as the leading rusher and tight end in a young, high-powered offense. While he may appear to lack that elite RB1 ceiling due to limited third-down work, the Bengals are the type of team that could propel Mixon to an outsized touchdown campaign, allowing him to finish top five at the position .

I don’t think I’d take Mixon over the big three wide receivers (Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase), but he’s someone I’m certainly willing to draft if I’m picking late in the first round and those three receivers are gone.

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