Despite major off-the-field concerns, we knew a team would take a chance on the talented Joe Mixon.
Well, it didn’t take very long. Mixon was taken by a team known for taking players with character issues, the Cincinnati Bengals. He’ll fit right in.
From a pure football perspective, getting Mixon in the second round was a huge value pick for the Bungles. Plenty of analysts had Mixon as an early-to-mid first round talent and some compare him to LeVeon Bell. That’s some seriously high praise.
Below are the outlooks for each Fantasy-relevant (as of right now) running back in the Cincinnati stable.
Note that these are the current outlooks as of May. We’ll have a much better idea of how this backfield will shape up once training camp rolls around.
Breaking Down The Cincinnati Bengals Backfield
Fantasy Outlook – Joe Mixon
Mixon can do it all as a three-down back at the next level. He has excellent hands, vision, and Cincinnati may even test him out as a return man early on. Giovani Bernard is still recovering from a knee injury and may not be ready for Week 1 of the season.
Pair that with back-to-back poor seasons from Jeremy Hill, and you can see why Cincinnati spent a premium pick on the star running back out of Oklahoma. Expect the Bengals to get Mixon involved early and often.
Mixon has RB1 upside and is a guy you can snag in the middle rounds. Drafting Mixon between rounds 5-9 could end up being the steal of the draft this Fantasy Football season.
Fantasy Outlook – Giovani Bernard
Bernard has established himself as one of the better third-down backs in the league, and his duties are in nearly as much danger as Jeremy Hill. The biggest issue with Bernard is his health. He’s still recovering from an ACL injury suffered last year and may not be ready for Week 1.
We’ve already touched on Mixon’s excellent skills as a pass-catcher. So there’s some concern for Mixon to steal a share of Bernard’s touches when he returns and even impress enough to stay on the field on third downs. Bernard still carries Fantasy value, especially in PPR formats, as a mid-to-late round selection due to his versatility.
He’s carried the load for them before and is a reliable pass-catching option out of the backfield. Bernard is the guy to pair with Mixon incase he was to go down with an injury.
Fantasy Outlook – Jeremy Hill
The Fantasy upside of Jeremy Hill takes a massive blow with the addition of Mixon. It wasn’t hard to see this one coming after the performance of Hill over the past two seasons, averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry. It was almost a foregone conclusion that Cincinnati was going to take a running back at some point during the draft.
Mix in the fact that Mixon is a first-round talent and is of similar size to Hill, and you can see the problem with drafting the back out of LSU. Avoid taking Hill until the later rounds of your Fantasy draft. If you’re in a PPR league, it may not even be worth touching him. Just save yourself a headache and grab someone with receiving ability.
I like Hill a little better in standard leagues, seeing a potential Fantasy vulture (please, Fantasy gods, no). But if handcuffs are your thing, ‘cuff away. However, there are plenty of other handcuffs that should be taken before this guy. Draft Jeremy Hill any earlier than round 10.
After watching the Bengals 2017 Draft unfold, it’s clear that they’re gearing up to start a new era on offense. Andy Dalton needs more playmakers around him other than star receiver A.J. Green to break-through and finally win a playoff game.
With the selections of John Ross, a speedy, deep-threat receiver out of the University of Washington, and Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, this offense has been revamped with explosive playmakers that could potentially take this unit to that next level.
These new offensive pieces don’t bode well for Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, who may end up looking like a set of old toys that you end up throwing away for shinier, new ones.