The Cincinnati Bengals may be facing a tough uphill battle over the coming weeks following the latest news about running back Joe Mixon. After the talented second-year back left Thursday’s game with an apparent knee injury, he was able to return and leave fantasy owners breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the news on Mixon’s injury, though. As NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (and Mike Garafolo) revealed, Mixon will need arthroscopic knee surgery and could miss time.
After a superb first game against the Indianapolis Colts in which Mixon rushed for 95 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown, while catching five passes for 54 yards, he was slowed a bit in Week 2. During a tough Thursday Night Football matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, the 22-year-old received 21 carries for 84 yards and caught just one pass for three yards.
The knee injury likely played a role, but if he’s sidelined for an extended period of time, fantasy football owners will need to come up with a plan moving forward.
Potential Targets for Fantasy Owners to Replace Mixon
This news really couldn’t come at a worse time, as the Bengals playing the Thursday night game means that all the top Week 1 waiver wire targets are likely picked up in most leagues. So, the realistic options worth considering at this point probably come down to Mixon’s backfield mate Giovani Bernard or Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon, assuming he’s available.
When evaluating the ownership percentages on Yahoo Sports, the options are incredibly limited. If someone in your league didn’t jump at picking up Atlanta Falcons RB Tevin Coleman, he could be worth grabbing with Devonta Freeman ruled out this week. Unfortunately, Coleman already is owned in 89 percent of leagues, so it’s unlikely he’s out there and Freeman could return in Week 3.
On a positive note, Yeldon is 64 percent owned, while 23 percent of fantasy owners have Bernard on their roster at the time this is being written. Yeldon showed glimpses of upside with Leonard Fournette out, but he’s unlikely to be a long-term answer, so I’d probably lean toward Bernard. The Bengals backup to Mixon rushed six times for 27 yards and caught four passes on Thursday.
One other name worth considering who either has been available or may have been released is Marlon Mack of the Indianapolis Colts after he missed Week 1. He’s owned in just 47 percent of leagues and prior to his injury, was expected to be the team’s starter. It’s unknown exactly how that situation will play out, but either Mack or Jordan Wilkins (32 percent owned) will hold the starting gig.
Source: Heavy Sports