Welcome back to the weekly column of “What the hell to do with Joe Mixon?” The Cincinnati Bengals running back had been a complete and utter disappointment for fantasy football owners over the first two weeks of the NFL season.
After averaging a putrid 4.7 fantasy points from Week 1 to Week 2, Mixon forced many owners’ hands in Week 3 to bench their likely second-round draft pick. Mixon would once again burn his owners, this time by performing up to his abilities, while likely not in your starting lineup.
Can you trust Mixon to build off of his Week 3 performance and be a viable and trustworthy fantasy option for your team in Week 4?
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Joe Mixon Fantasy Outlook vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
No one would argue Mixon put it all together vs. the Buffalo Bills a week ago, but he certainly turned a corner. After averaging 1.6 yards per carry over the first two weeks of play, Mixon shot that number up to 4.0 last Sunday. An impressive feat against a stellar Bills front-seven.
Mixon still has yet to demonstrate his receiving prowess this season. It’s something that made him such a sought after prospect coming out of college, and something he flashed a season ago to the tune of 43 receptions over 14 games in 2018. However, this year Mixon has averaged just slightly over two receptions per game.
Week 4 would be the perfect time for Mixon to get involved in the Cincinnati passing attack. The Pittsburgh Steelers allow an average of 7.3 receptions per game to opposing running backs this season, the third-most in all the NFL.
The positive effects this matchup could have on Mixon’s fantasy value don’t end there. The Steelers have allowed 28+ fantasy points to running backs through three weeks of play, the fourth-most points over that time span. Pittsburgh is also coming off of a game where they allowed former practice squad player Jeff Wilson Jr. to plunge in for not one, but two rushing scores against them. Mixon will look to hit pay dirt on the ground for the first time this season during Sunday’s contest.
Over Pittsburgh’s past eight games, their struggling defense has allowed an average of five-plus yards from scrimmage per touch to running backs, the fifth-most in the NFL during that time. This bodes well for Mixon, who despite his struggles this season, completely dominates touches in the Cinci backfield. Mixon has out-touched fellow running back Gio Bernard by 18 touches, despite missing an extended period of time in the Bengals Week 2 matchup against the Seahawks with an injury.
Should You Start or Sit Joe Mixon in Week 4?
Mixon may be the biggest headache in fantasy football thus far this season, aside from Todd Gurley’s usage in Los Angeles. However, Mixon has finally begun to show life as a playmaker in Zac Taylor’s offense.
Week 3 was the time to get cute with Mixon and take him out of your lineup if you were going to, as his matchup was one of the tougher ones for a running back that week. However, he is a slam dunk fantasy option Week 4. Lock Mixon in as an RB2 on Monday, although he may reward you with RB1 numbers.