CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora hears that Bengals RB Joe Mixon's role is expected to expand under new OC Bill Lazor. The rookie already leads the team with 17 carries through 2 games. But he's been targeted just 4 times and played only 30.4% of Cincinnati's offensive snaps. Mixon remains a risk/reward RB3 for this week. But now might be your last chance to buy low on him.
The Bengals have fired OC Ken Zampese, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. Zampese's offense failed to score a TD in 2 games, although QB Andy Dalton has been just as much to blame as the play-calling. We'll see if this move sparks the offense. It might also help RB Joe Mixon, who's been mired in a 3-headed committee.
UPDATE: Zampese will be replaced by QBs coach Bill Lazor, who spent 2014 and 2015 as Dolphins OC. The 2014 Fins ranked 11 in points scored and 14th in total yards. They fell to 27th and 26th, respectively, in 2015.
RB Jeremy Hill started in the Bengals backfield in Friday night's preseason opener against Tampa Bay, but rookie RB Joe Mixon got in for touches starting with the 1st drive. Altogether, he carried 6 times for 31 yards and caught a pass for 11 more. Hill, meanwhile, ran for 26 yards on 7 rushes. Amid rumors that Hill could "start" all season, it's clear that Mixon will at least factor heavily into the backfield. We'll see where this work split goes. Of course, Mixon's late-Round 3 ADP has made him an expensive upside play in recent fantasy football drafts.
Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official website expects RB Jeremy Hill to remain a factor this season. Specifically, Hobson believes that "Hill figures to always be a presence inside the 5." That makes sense. Despite disappointing the past 2 years, Hill has remained effective near the goal line. He's turned 14 of 28 carries inside the 5-yard line into TDs -- a 50% conversion rate that's more than 5 percentage points better than league average. That role could at least make Hill a factor in TD-heavy fantasy leagues. He also figures to put a dent in RB Joe Mixon's upside. We're as excited as anyone about the rookie's potential, but he might lose goal-line work to Hill and some pass-catching action to Gio Bernard. That'd make it tough to Mixon to pay off his current RB13 price tag.
According to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, RB Giovani Bernard might not be ready for the start of the season. Bernard's expected to avoid the regular-season PUP -- which would cost him at least 6 games -- as he comes back from an ACL tear. The RB's progress will bear watching through the summer, of course, to see exactly when we can expect to see him and how close he'll be to full strength. Any missed time would give Joe Mixon more chances to show his stuff.
The Bengals rolled the dice on Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Mixon’s off-field transgression — he punched a woman in 2014 — caused him to drop in the draft and will continue to haunt him as a pro. But on the field, this is a 1st-round talent. Perhaps the best RB in the class. Mixon shows good patience, power and burst as a runner. And he’s a big-time weapon in the passing game. He exploded for 1,274 rushing yards on just 187 carries this past year and averaged a robust 6.8 yards per carry across 2 college seasons. Mixon added 65 total receptions for 894 yards (13.8 yards per catch) and 9 TDs. And he doesn’t turn 21 until July. Mixon joins a crowded backfield in Cincinnati alongside Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard. But Hill has disappointed since his rookie season, while Bernard is rehabbing from his 2nd torn ACL. Mixon certainly has a shot — and might be the favorite — to lead the 2017 backfield in touches.
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