Rookie Fantasy Outlook – Joe Mixon
[the_ad id=”471″]Some say Joe Mixon has first round talent, but due to some extremely poor decision making in his past, many teams have decided to remove him from their draft boards completely. To make the situation even worse for his draft stock, he wasn’t even invited to the NFL combine. Teams are justifiably worried about his character and the distraction he may bring to the team, not to mention the negative image he represents and the potential backlash from fans.
However, there is case law in support of drafting Mixon. Last year, in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted a player in the 5th round with a similar unsavory history, if not worse, than Mixon. That player was a named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season despite being labeled un-draftable by most teams, prior to the 2016 NFL entry draft. That player is of course, Tyreek Hill. The parallels between these two players’ histories can’t be ignored.
Two Seasons as a Sooner
Mixon has an impressive college resume, in 25 games with the Oklahoma Sooners, Mixon averaged 6.8 yards per carry, on 300 carries, for an impressive total of 2027 yards. He also had an impressive 17 rushing touchdowns during his college career. Joe regularly showed his prowess as a pass catching back, by hauling in 65 receptions over his two seasons, for 894 yards and 9 Touchdowns. He totaled 2,921 scrimmage yards over his two seasons with the Sooners and a total of 26 touchdowns. With these numbers, he would have been a lock for the first round, instead, a team that decides to take a chance on him, is going to have one of the best draft day steals of the year. He should be an RB1 in fantasy leagues in 2017, as long as he ends up in the right opportunity. With his ability to catch passes, his value is even higher in PPR leagues.
Some teams are in need of a Running Back and could be great fits for Mixon’s talents. Green Bay could be an ideal fit for Mixon. Currently, they have Christine Michael and Ty Montgomery as their 1-2 punch. Mixon would easily take over as the lead back right out of training camp. With the leadership on that team, they would have the character needed to weather the negative press and backlash. If the Packers take a chance on Mixon, we may hear a lot of Rodgers’ ‘RELAX’ Sound bites leading up to the beginning of the season. Mixon could end up being a top 10 fantasy back in 2017 if he ends up with the Packers.
Another team that may be in the mix, is the Philadelphia Eagles. They have an aging and injury prone Running Back in Ryan Matthews, who is unlikely to return, and an unproven sophomore in Wendell Smallwood. With the likelihood of Matthews’ career coming to an end with the Eagles and not much competition outside of Smallwood, there’s a great opportunity there for Mixon to take over lead back duties out of the gate. The downside is that the Eagles don’t have the leadership on the team needed to weather the media storm and backlash from drafting Mixon. Philly is more likely to draft one of the other big name running backs with their 14th overall pick and may be targeting Dalvin Cook. If Mixon lands in Philly, watch for him to beat out Smallwood for the starting gig, and would be a top 10 running back.
New England has yet to re-sign LaGarrette Blount and may be looking to draft his replacement in the upcoming draft, assuming they don’t sign Free Agent Adrian Peterson. With the level of leadership on the Patriots, they would easily weather any media and fan backlash, plus they are already the most hated team in the NFL. Blount led the league with 18 touchdowns in 2016, which if they utilize the position the same way in 2017, is a lot of opportunity for any running back brought in to replace him. The downside to having a Fantasy player on the Patriots is that you always have to be weary of the Belitricks, and New England doesn’t have a great track record of playing their rookies.
No matter where Mixon lands, his future will be bright, so long as he stays out of trouble. By this time next year, his previous transgressions will be all but forgotten and he may have just led your fantasy team to the championship.