Mixon will split his offseason between Cincinnati and California, focusing on his stamina and durability in anticipation of large workloads under new head coach Zac Taylor, Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official website reports.
It's easy enough to draw up comparisons to Todd Gurley, who also boasts above-average speed and standout receiving skills while checking in around 6-foot-1, 220-230 pounds. Mixon expects his new coach to borrow heavily from mentor Sean McVay, whose play-action-heavy offense propelled Gurley to per-game averages of 18.4 carries, 4.2 catches, 135 scrimmage yards and 1.4 touchdowns the past two seasons. Of course, Mixon won't have the same caliber of talent surrounding him on the field in Cincinnati, but he did prove capable of putting on a one-man show in 2018 when he led the AFC in rushing yards (1,168) despite missing two games. After averaging exactly 20 touches per game last season, the 22-year-old running back could be headed for a modest uptick in 2019, though the Bengals still have Giovani Bernard under contract for one more year. Bernard is one of the better No. 2 backs in the league, but he averaged just 6.9 touches per game in the second half of the 2018 campaign.
Mixon carried the ball 13 times for 105 yards in Sunday's 16-13 loss to the Steelers. He also added one reception for two yards.
Mixon bounced back from a disappointing Week 16 showing to surpass 100 yards on the ground for the third time in four games to close the season. Nearly half of his 105 rushing yards came on a 51-yard scamper midway through the fourth quarter, which led to a game-tying field goal at the time. Despite being one of the few skill-position starters still standing to close the season, Mixon well outpaced his rookie performance to take a step forward in his second campaign. Even with Giovani Bernard in the fold for at least one more season, there is no doubt that Mixon will enter the season as the team's lead back and is one of the better fantasy options at the position as a result.
Mixon accounted for 68 rushing yards on 17 attempts, adding two receptions for 10 yards during Sunday's 26-18 loss to Cleveland.
The 22-year-old Mixon had been one of the best backs in fantasy of late coming into the weekend -- checking in as RB5 in PPR scoring over the past four weeks, and facing a Browns defense that ranked bottom-10 in rushing yards (1,460) and receiving yards (700) allowed to opposing running backs. Mixon was unable to take advantage of the favorable matchup, logging his lowest rushing output since Nov. 18 and snapping a two-game scoring streak by failing to get into the end zone against a sub par Cleveland red zone defense (bottom-12 in opponent TD percentage). His pass-catching floor has subsided some as well, averaging 12.8 receiving YPG over his past four games compared to 35.8 YPG in four outings prior. In Week 17 he'll be facing a Steelers defense that been dominant against opposing RBs, giving up just 1,117 rushing yards (7th-best) and 397 receiving yards (3rd-best) to the position this year.
Mixon (wrist/thigh) does not carry an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Browns after practicing fully Friday.
With wideout Tyler Boyd (knee) joining IR residents A.J. Green and tight end Tyler Eifert on the sideline this weekend, Mixon is once again in line to be the focal point of the Cincinnati offense. He's logged 53 carries for 240 yards and three TDs over his last two games and should continue his high-volume ways in Week 16.
Mixon (wrist/thigh) was a limited participant in Thursday's practice, Jay Morrison of The Athletic reports.
Mixon replicated his activity level from Wednesday but may have gotten dinged up along the way, as he had previously been listed on the Bengals' report with only a wrist issue. Neither the wrist nor the thigh injury should prevent him from suiting up Sunday in Cleveland, though Mixon's fantasy managers would surely prefer to have him avoid a designation heading into the contest. If he suits up as anticipated, Mixon should be in store for another ample workload on the ground after amassing 53 carries over the past two weeks while averaging a healthy 4.5 yards per tote.
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