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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Joe Mixon No. 17

Joe Mixon comes in at No. 17 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp
Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals participates in a drill during training camp on July 30, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Joe Mixon enters the 2021-22 season after missing most of the 2020-21 campaign due to a foot injury. Mixon was looking for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season but ultimately ended up on injured reserve and missed 10 games. He, along with the rest of the Bengals roster, will hope a big season is on the horizon.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 17, Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals, RB

Mixon is the workhorse running back and should be getting a lot of carries if healthy. He’s going to be involved as a receiver as well, but his primary role is running the ball. The Bengals have revamped the offensive line and added Ja’Marr Chase as a perimeter threat. QB Joe Burrow is expected to be healthy as well, meaning Mixon should face less stacked boxes.

Competition for touches

Mixon topped 230 carries in consecutive seasons. He’s unlikely to face significant challenges when it comes to touches out of the backfield. The Bengals could mix in Samaje Perine as a change-of-pace option, but Mixon is the lead back here with no real competition.

Team offensive expectations

The Bengals, as long as Burrow is healthy, should have a balanced offense with rising talent across the board. Cincinnati has yet to see this group fully healthy, so this could be a big season for everyone involved. The rebuilding phase for this team appears to be over. This offense can be deadly if everything comes together.

What’s his upside?

If Mixon stays healthy, he’s a productive running back likely to achieve the 1,000-yard milestone and score double-digit touchdowns. He’ll even get some work as a receiver, but his primary production will be on the ground.

What’s his downside?

Health, and the health of those around him, is a big question. If Burrow is ineffective coming back from his injury, defenses could stack the box against Mixon. The Bengals are going to rely heavily on Burrow’s arm, meaning Mixon’s touches could go down as a result.

Projection

280 carries, 1,280 yards, 10 touchdowns, 45 receptions, 325 yards, 3 touchdowns