Joe Mixon fantasy football owners got some tough news on Friday, but we can’t say it wasn’t expected. As Rotoworld revealed, the Cincinnati Bengals have ruled out Mixon for Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons due to a knee injury. This will be the second-straight game he’ll miss.
While Mixon did get in some work on side fields during practice, the Bengals won’t have him back for at least a few more weeks. Obviously, fantasy owners don’t love this situation, but if they were able to pick up Giovani Bernard on waivers, it surely helps to ease the pain.
Bernard originally popped up on the injury report this week with a thigh injury but has since been removed. While it’s all systems go for the team’s No. 2 running back, the question becomes, is Bernard a must-start in Week 4? On paper, the answer certainly looks pretty obvious.
Giovani Bernard’s Week 4 Fantasy Value
In a Week 3 spot start, Bernard looked good against a solid Carolina Panthers defense, rushing 12 times for 61 yards and one touchdown. He also caught five passes for 25 yards to round out an all-around strong fantasy day. While Bernard received just 12 carries, there’s no real cause for concern, as the only other Bengals player to get a carry was wide receiver Tyler Boyd.
The Bengals opted to go pass-heavy, but with a player like Bernard, that won’t necessarily kill his fantasy value. He’s an excellent pass-catcher and saw nine targets come his way from Andy Dalton last week. Regardless of the game flow, the 26-year-old back will be heavily involved.
Bernard’s ability to haul in passes is actually a big part of what makes him such an appealing play in Week 4 as well. On the season, the Falcons have allowed a league-high 36 receptions to opposing running backs for 255 yards and one touchdown. For good measure, they’ve also given up two touchdowns on the ground to the position.
Bernard a Fantasy Must-Start in Week 4?
It’s hard to argue that you’ll want to leave Bernard on your bench in any format this week. The Falcons simply give up too many fantasy points to running backs, especially through the air. But if you’re playing in a non-PPR league, then there are a few better options than Gio this week in 10-team and some specific 12-team leagues.
Regardless, it’d take quite a bit of talent or a very loaded roster for me to bench the Bengals starting running back. He’s close to a must-start, and in PPR leagues, I’d place him in that category unless you have Alvin Kamara and Melvin Gordon (somehow) with no flex spot.
Source: Heavy Sports