Fantasy owners tend to remember when players let them down. That's especially true when the player is uber-talented and cost legitimate draft capital. That's why Joe Mixon's rookie season was so disappointing. As soon as Cincinnati drafted him, Mixon was destined to overtake the plodding and pedestrian Jeremy Hill. But stubborn coaching, a weak offensive line, and injuries led to a lack of playmaking and fantasy points.
So why should owners go back to the well? Why reunite with the significant other who didn't give their all to the relationship? Because what was on paper last season is still there today. And the things that held Mixon back are either non-existent now or were addressed in the offseason.
- Opportunity: Hill is gone. Mixon's usage increased when Bill Lazor took over as offensive coordinator.
- Offensive Line: The team traded for tackle Cordy Glenn, used the 21st overall pick on center Billy Price out of Ohio State, and brought in former Dallas offensive line coach Frank Pollack to coach the unit.
- Playmaking: Mixon has shed weight back to his ideal size, something that should add to his speed and play-making ability.
- Injuries: Mixon had bad luck with injuries last season that hurt the continuity of his season.
Despite his selection in the second round, Mixon was a first-round talent. Most first-round running backs have to fail miserably not to be given a chance at first-team duties. But for Mixon, stubborn coaching led to him playing 30% of the team's snaps in the first two weeks. On the season, Mixon played under 40% of the total snaps, though injuries contributed to that figure (more on that later).
With Hill out of town, Mixon should dominate the early-down carries, short yardage situations, and goal line work. After Cincinnati's slow start to the year, Cincinnati fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese. His replacement, Bill Lazor, used Mixon as though he was the most talented all-around running back on the team (because he was).
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