In a shocking move late Monday night, the Bengals are planning to replace Joe Mixon with free agent Zack Moss, who is expected to sign a two-year, $8 million deal. Although it was initially reported that Mixon would be released, a plot twist came Tuesday morning when Ian Rapoport reported he would be traded from the Bengals to the Texans.  It's a new era for the Cincinnati backfield. Mixon, 27, has played his entire seven-year career with the Bengals since they selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He's averaged at least 13.4 PPR points per game in six of those seasons, including three years with at least 16.2 PPR points.

He just averaged 14.7 PPR points per game in 2023 with 257 carries for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns, along with 52 catches for 376 yards and three scores on 64 targets. The decision to release Mixon was likely more about money than his performance.

Mixon was slated to play this season in the second year of a restructured contract worth a total of $11.5 million. Parting ways with him saved the Bengals $6.1 million against the salary cap in 2024.

The Bengals will move on with a tandem of Moss and Chase Brown, and Moss should be the lead running back. He just had a breakout campaign in 2023 with the Colts when he excelled as a replacement for Jonathan Taylor.

For the season, Moss had 183 carries for 794 yards and five touchdowns and 27 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns on 37 targets. Every stat was a career-high except for his receiving yards.

With Taylor sidelined to open the season last year, Moss scored at least 17 PPR points in four of his first five games. He proved he could be a workhorse with at least 18 total touches in four of those outings, and the Bengals are hoping he can do that for a full season in 2024.

Fantasy managers should consider Moss a No. 2 running back in all leagues, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 6. Hopefully, Moss' performance last year wasn't a fluke, but keep in mind he never excelled when given the chance to start in Buffalo during the first two years of his career.

And I expect Cincinnati to give Brown plenty of touches as well every week. He started to play more for the Bengals late in the year, and he finished his rookie campaign with 44 carries for 179 yards and 14 catches for 156 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets.

I plan to draft Brown with a late-round pick in all leagues, and he'll be someone I consider a sleeper as the No. 2 running back in Cincinnati. Should Moss struggle or miss time due to injury then Brown could be a lottery ticket this year.