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Game-By-Game Projections: Joe Mixon (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Jun 25, 2020

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Joe Mixon has long been one of the most talented running backs in the league, and he may finally get the chance to prove it in 2020. The Cincinnati Bengals’ offense should be vastly improved on a variety of fronts. Joe Burrow should help to open up running lanes thanks to both his passing and rushing ability. A.J. Green and Tee Higgins will give opposing defenses two top-level receivers to deal with, which may keep them from keying in on the run. The offensive line will also be vastly improved with 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams ready to maul in the run game. The holdout concerns should make him a tremendous value in early drafts, as they’ll allow fantasy managers to get a potential top-five back at the end of the first round.

You can find our entire 2020 Player Game-By-Game Projection series here.

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Week 1: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The first late afternoon game to start in an impressive three-game slate, the Bengals’ opener against the Chargers should provide some early season fireworks. The passing offense may sputter due to the shortened offseason, but the battle in the trenches should be in midseason form. The Chargers’ pass rush should give the Bengals’ offensive line fits, but the O-Line should be much more effective in run blocking situations. We should see over 130 rushing yards from the Bengals in this contest, with Mixon accounting for 83 and a score. 

Predicted stat line: 16 rushing attempts, 83 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, five receptions, 35 receiving yards (20.3 fantasy points)

Week 2: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
This battle of Ohio will feature two teams that appear to be on the rise. The Bengals may have a tough time slowing down the Browns’ pass rush, which should lead to some high-leverage receiving opportunities for the backfield. At 4.73 yards per carry, 71 rushing yards represents a rock-solid day on the ground for Mixon, especially against the Browns’ front four. 

Predicted stat line: 15 rushing attempts, 71 rushing yards, three receptions, 45 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown (19.1 fantasy points)

Week 3: Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles
Joe Mixon should have a field day against a Philadelphia Eagles front seven that appears to be in serious decline. Darius Slay should be able to bottle A.J. Green up enough to prevent Cincinnati from going too pass-heavy in this contest, something that should lead to 30-plus combined rushing attempts (including penalties) for the Cincinnati backfield. Mixon is projected for over 150 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns in what should be one of his highest fantasy outputs of the season.

Predicted stat line: 18 rushing attempts, 126 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, four receptions, 39 receiving yards (30.5 fantasy points)

Week 4: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Joe Mixon should be in for his best fantasy game of the season against a weak Jacksonville Jaguars defense. Cincinnati should jump out to a lead early in this contest, giving Mixon plenty of opportunities to be involved as both a runner and a receiver. He is projected to see multiple snaps out wide in this contest as the Bengals experiment with different packages while nursing a sizable second-half lead.

Predicted stat line: 23 rushing attempts, 156 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, six receptions, 90 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown (45.6 fantasy points)

Week 5: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are going to be an extraordinarily tough battle for the Bengals. Joe Mixon should have one of his worst rushing games of the season, but he should be able to salvage his fantasy day through the air. Playing close to 80 percent of the snaps on the season, Mixon should remain heavily involved in the passing game from contest to contest. One of the top receiving backs in the league, based on our projections Mixon would have now racked up 11 receptions for 150 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns over his last two contests. 

Predicted stat line: 13 rushing attempts, 43 rushing yards, five receptions, 60 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown (18.8  fantasy points)

Week 6: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
This looks like a tough spot for Cincinnati’s running game. The Colts have some impressive talent up front, and they will likely key in on stomping out what has been an effective Bengals rushing attack for the majority of the season. Mixon should have a strong day from a yards-from-scrimmage standpoint, but the lack of projected score will keep him ranked as a low-end RB2 for the week. 

Predicted stat line: 15 rushing attempts, 77 rushing yards, four receptions, 58 receiving yards (15.5 fantasy points)

Week 7: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Mixon should have an easier time against the Browns in his second contest against them. Projected for over 170 yards from scrimmage and a score, Joe Mixon should be one of the top fantasy running backs of the week. Cincinnati should be more competitive in this contest than they were in Week 2, something that should lead to increased rushing attempts for Mixon. 

Predicted stat line: 19 rushing attempts, 111 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, six receptions, 62 receiving yards (26.3 fantasy points)

Week 8: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans
Cincinnati is going to struggle against the Titans’ defense. Underrated on that side of the ball despite making it to the AFC Championship, the Titans main focus will be shutting down both Mixon and A.J. Green. Mixon is projected to break off two long runs, but he will be held under three yards per carry on his other 10 rushing attempts. His passing-game work should bail him out of what could have been a massively disappointing fantasy day. Drafted as an RB1 in most redraft leagues, Mixon will remain a must-start despite the tough projected matchup. 

Predicted stat line: 12 rushing attempts, 63 rushing yards, three receptions, 40 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown (17.8 fantasy points)

Week 10: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be one of the tougher defensive units that the Bengals face all season. Mixon should be good for a long run or two, but he may struggle for consistency outside of them. Cincinnati will likely look to implement a ball-control offense in order to keep Ben Roethlisberger off the field. The Bengals should be more successful on the ground than they are through the air in this contest. 

Predicted stat line: 22 rush attempts, 88 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, four receptions, 38 receiving yards (20.6 fantasy points)

Week 11: Cincinnati Bengals at Washington
The entire Bengals offense is likely to be given fits by Washington’s ferocious front four. Washington now boasts one of the top defensive lines in the entire NFL, and they should be able to harass Joe Burrow all day with a four-man rush while stomping out the run thanks to one of the most complete defensive lines in the NFC. Mixon’s projected receiving production should help to salvage his fantasy day, and put him in RB2 range for Week 11.

Predicted stat line: 16 rushing attempts, 52 rushing yards, five receptions, 61 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown (19.8 fantasy points)

Week 12: Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Giants
While the New York Giants project to be a much better defensive unit in 2020 than they were in 2019, they will still likely have trouble stopping elite running backs like Joe Mixon. They have the pass rush talent in their front seven to make life difficult for Joe Burrow, but that will have no answer for the other Joe. Cincinnati should have game script in their favor in this contest, something that should help Mixon to see a season-high in carries. Projected for over 200 yards from scrimmage, Mixon looks like a surefire RB1 for Week 12.

Predicted stat line: 24 rushing attempts, 163 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, three receptions, 45 receiving yards (28.3 fantasy points)

Week 13: Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins
A battle between two of 2019’s worst teams has massive appeal in 2020. Miami should be competitive by this point of the season, something that may limit Joe Mixon’s rushing attempts. He should still have a rock-solid game, especially as a receiver out of the backfield. Despite numerous additions on both sides of the ball, the Miami Dolphins’ front seven is still beatable. Mixon is projected for 20 touches for over 150 yards from scrimmage en route to an RB2 finish for Week 13.

Predicted stat line: 16 rushing attempts, 91 rushing yards, four receptions, 62 receiving yards (17.3 fantasy points)

Week 14: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys
Despite facing an explosive offense that can spell bad things for the game script, Joe Mixon should be heavily involved in this contest. The Bengals will look to lean on the run and short passing games to help keep the Cowboys off the field. That game flow should lead to good things for Mixon’s production. Mixon could be in for a much bigger contest if the Bengals can keep this contest competitive.

Predicted stat line: 17 rushing attempts, 82 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, four receptions, 25 receiving yards (18.7 fantasy points)

Week 15: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Joe Mixon is projected to miss this contest with an upper-body injury. Projecting the timing and exact nature of an injury is tough sledding at best, so we will refrain from that here. This is meant to serve as a placeholder for a missed game for a player that’s projected to play 15 games this season as opposed to 16. 2020 was the first time Mixon played a full 16 games, and even then he was playing through injuries that may have sidelined other running backs.

Predicted stat line: DNP (0 fantasy points)

Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
While the Houston Texans’ defense is entirely beatable on the ground, Joe Mixon may have a slower day at the office if he is indeed coming off a Week 15 injury. The projected receiving production should help his overall stat line, but the lack of a score hurts. Mixon has easy 100 rushing yard upside every time he steps on the field, but may not receive the rushing attempts to cross that barrier if the Bengals fall behind the Texans as expected. 

Predicted stat line: 13 rushing attempts, 67 rushing yards, four receptions, 42 receiving yards (12.6 fantasy points)

Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Joe Mixon should explode for a monster first half as the Baltimore Ravens starters who do end up playing this game will be making business decisions in terms of how hard they go in on their tackle attempts. He is projected to score once before the break, before sitting most of the second half. He will be in for a 150+ yard rushing day if Rodney Anderson or Trayveon Williams aren’t available to soak up second-half snaps in an audition for potential 2021 roles on the team. 

Predicted stat line: 14 rushing attempts, 73 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, five receptions, 37 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown (25.5 fantasy points)

2020 Season Totals

Full Season Projection: 253 rushing attempts, 1,346 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, 65 receptions, 739 receiving yards, six receiving touchdowns (337 fantasy points)

Joe Mixon is expected to take a massive leap in 2020. The Cincinnati Bengals are eagerly anticipating the debut of their potential franchise left tackle, Jonah Williams. He should instantly transform the Bengals’ offensive line into a mauling unit in the run game, and he is good enough in pass protection to consistently buy Joe Burrow precious extra seconds. The return of A.J. Green, coupled with the arrivals of Burrow and Tee Higgins, should make the Bengals offense more explosive than it has been since the days of Chad Johnson (Ochocinco), Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. 

Mixon’s usage in the passing game should explode with Burrow under center. One of the best feature backs at receiving in the entire NFL, Mixon is projected to more than double his career highs in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. There is enough competition for passing-down snaps that he may max out at around 65 receptions, but his explosiveness in the passing game should reach new heights thanks to all of the upgrades around him. He should also more than double his career highs in snaps lined up in the slot and out wide. 

As a runner, Mixon should go back to being one of the more efficient backs in the league. He averaged just four yards per attempt in 2019, but that was thanks to a down first half of the season in which he averaged just 3.2 yards per carry. He averaged 100.2 rushing yards per game on 4.6 yards per carry over the final eight games of the season. Thanks to Jonah Williams and an explosive passing game, he is projected to average 89.73 rushing yards per game on 5.32 yards per carry in 2020. 

The RB13 in 2019, Mixon put up 207 fantasy points last season. His projected 337 fantasy points would have seen him finish as the RB2 in 2019, and should be good for at least a top-five finish in 2020. It’s a massive projected increase in production, but he could be in for an even bigger campaign, as these projections were tempered to maintain objectivity. Perhaps the most talented running back in the NFL not named Saquon, Joe Mixon should have a monster season in store for fantasy football general managers. 

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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