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    Bengals’ Joe Mixon Is Finally a Trustworthy Flex Option

    Chris Mitchell November 30, 2017 12:15AM EDT

    Seattle Seahawks Defense
    In their first game without both Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor the Seahawks’ defense allowed 31 points to a talented Atlanta Falcons offense, but they didn’t allow a 250-yard passer, a 75-yard receiver or a 50-yard rusher. In Week 12, against a less than overwhelming San Francisco 49ers offense, they once again didn’t allow a 250-yard passer, a 100-yard receiver or a 75-yard running back. With all their injuries and the depletion of talent, you would think the Seahawks would be a defense susceptible to Fantasy scoring, but they have been as good, if not better, than at any time all season. With the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams on the schedule in Weeks 13 and 15, this defense is going to be put to the test, but the trends suggest that you want to fade players against the Seahawks.

    New England Patriots Defense

    joe mixon

    Joe Mixon has become a steady flex option due to his increased workload. AP Photo/Frank Victores

    In their opening four games, the Patriots’ defense allowed 33 points or more in three of them, 300 yards passing in all four and 100 yards rushing to Kareem Hunt. In their recent seven-game winning streak, they haven’t allowed more than 17 points to an opposing offense, 250 passing yards or more to a quarterback and only one 100-yard rusher (Melvin Gordon). The Patriots have gone from a defense you had to have shares against to a defense you want to avoid. The Patriots face Buffalo twice, the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and an ill-timed Week 15 game against the explosive Pittsburgh Steelers as the only matchup you want to avoid for the remainder of the NFL season. If they aren’t owned, grab ‘em.

    Los Angeles Rams offense
    With Robert Woods out for Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints, Cooper Kupp led the Rams in targets with 11, while Josh Reynolds had a season-high six targets, four receptions, 37 receiving yards and a touchdown. The New Orleans Saints’ defense has been much maligned in recent years, but in 2017 they are considered above average and Jared Goff still lit them up for 354 yards and two scores. Sammy Watkins was second in targets with nine, but it looks like Kupp could be the top target while Josh Reynolds will run Woods’ routes and receive an opportunity to be a flex play. It’s only one week, so don’t rush to put your Fantasy playoff hopes on the back of Josh Reynolds (Josh Doctson owners know this), but he is worth owning and could be in the right spot at the right time to become relevant as the season winds down.

    Dak Prescott, QB Dallas Cowboys
    In four of his last five games (the Kansas City Chiefs game being the exception – 249 yards and two touchdowns) Prescott has thrown for fewer than two hundred yards and zero touchdowns to go along with five interceptions and three fumbles. I list him here in the noteworthy section, but this is beyond a trend. Bench him and consider cutting him.


    Ricky Seals-Jones, TE Arizona Cardinals
    After two weeks with Blaine Gabbert under center, Seals-Jones has seven receptions, 126 receiving yards and three touchdowns – making him the leading scorer among tight ends over the last two weeks. Sometimes players develop a rapport and it looks like Seals-Jones and Gabbert have it. He is a must-own, must-start, right now. Ride the hot streak.

    Samaje Perine, RB Washington Redskins
    Two weeks, both with at least 23 rushing attempts, one hundred yards rushing and two Top 10 Fantasy scoring weeks among running backs. Perine is finally being given his opportunity and is taking advantage. He is a must-start low-end RB2 until this trend has a two-week stumble that justifies a reevaluation.

    Jamaal Williams, RB Green Bay Packers
    Williams has back-to-back double-digit scoring weeks and is tied among running backs in attempts over the previous three weeks. His Week 12 scoring was impressive purely based on yards from scrimmage and became monstrous with two scores. When Ty Montgomery gets healthy it should slightly infringe on Williams’ attempts going forward, but he will be at least a Flex play, even with Montgomery in the mix.

    Joe Mixon, RB Cincinnati Bengals
    Mixon has been a steady double-digit Fantasy scorer since Week 3, but the most recent two-week trend of 20 and 23 rushing attempts is what convinces me that Mixon is a legitimate Flex play for the remainder of the season. He has the skill set to make an impact in the passing game and has contributed sporadically this season. That, along with 20-plus rushing attempts per game, makes Mixon a must-start dual-threat running back going forward and a gem in keeper leagues.

    Kyle Rudolph, TE Minnesota Vikings
    Rudolph has five touchdowns and six games of 40 receiving yards or more this season, and his last two games have been his best of the season, with two touchdowns in Week 12. Owners hopes have been higher than he has been able to meet in recent years, but as the games get bigger Rudolph’s Fantasy numbers have too. He is trending up and Fantasy owners should take notice.

    Latavius Murray, RB Minnesota Vikings
    Murray has had back-to-back-to-back touchdown games (four total) and has scored double-digit Fantasy points in all three. Murray is a reliable plodder whose carries and usage has been consistent going back to Week 5. He lacks big play ability in the rushing game and his ceiling is limited because of his complete absence in the passing game, but he is a Flex play because of his consistent opportunities in the Vikings’ offense.

    Carlos Hyde, RB San Francisco 49ers
    I have hyped Hyde a few times this season because nobody else seems to want to do it, even though he has scored double-digit Fantasy points in all but two games. In Week 12, he had both double-digit rushing attempts (16) and passing targets (13), one fewer target than leader Le’Veon Bell. Hyde lacks sizzle and with only four total touchdowns scattered across only two games, it’s hard to argue against the lack of enthusiasm surrounding him. But, he is a fundamental piece in both the running and passing game and his yards from scrimmage guarantee a solid week’s work for Fantasy owners.

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