Fantasy Football: Joe Mixon's knee surgery makes Giovani Bernard a must-add player

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The Cincinnati Bengals received bad news Friday, with Tom Pelissero reporting Joe Mixon will need a procedure to clean up a knee injury suffered during Thursday night's win over the Ravens. Mixon left the game twice, returning both times, but now it appears he'll be sidelined for the next few weeks as a result of the injury — Adam Schefter reports Mixon will have surgery this weekend and will miss two weeks

For Mixon owners this is bad news, though not as bad as if he had required a more substantial procedure. He was looking like one of the true workhorse backs in the league. In two games he'd totaled 44 touches for 236 yards and a touchdown. You can't consider dropping him, but you need to prepare for a future without him for at least a few weeks. 

I reached out to Dr. Brandon Bowers of Sportsline who had this to say:

"Knee scopes are usually designed to "clean up" cartilage damage. In Mixon's case, he is having the loose body removed. Loose bodies can impede motion, strength and cause pain. This is a better case scenario than a cartilage cleanup."

The immediate answer to this dilemma, for the Bengals and Fantasy owners alike, is Giovani Bernard. He should absorb most of Mixon's role for as long as needed, and historically Bernard has been productive when he's gotten touches. He's managed double digit Fantasy points in each of the eight games he's received at least 20 touches. In contrast, Mixon has only scored double-digit Fantasy points in two of six such games.

Bernard is a must-add in every league next week, regardless of format or league size, whether you own Mixon or not. For as long as he's the lead back you should expect top-20 production in non-PPR and borderline top-10 production in PPR. 

In terms of FAAB bids, it's a sliding scale depending on how long Mixon is projected to be out:

  • If as expected, it's a short-term absence (one-to-three weeks), I'd suggest somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of your budget, depending on your need. 
  • If it's a four-to-six week absence, a running back-desperate team could justify spending up to 60 percent of their budget.

Unless something goes wrong with the surgery or recovery, this shouldn't take much longer for Mixon to get back. He may have heightened injury risk moving forward, but that's the case for anyone getting 20 touches per week. 

We'll have more on this story as it develops but the main takeaway for now is you need to be prepared to go make a play for Bernard if yours is one of the 60 percent of leagues where he's available. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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