Giovani Bernard, A.J. Green's Updated Fantasy Outlook After Joe Mixon's Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2017

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24:  Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Joe Mixon is set to miss his second game in a row Sunday—this one against the Minnesota Vikings—which will cause the Cincinnati Bengals to look elsewhere for offensive production.

The rookie running back had his best game of the year in a 30-16 Week 12 win over the Cleveland Browns. He posted 114 yards on 23 carries and a rushing touchdown to go with three catches and 51 yards receiving. However, he suffered a concussion the next week and has been unavailable since. Katherine Terrell of ESPN reported he would be out in Week 15 after he once again failed the league's concussion protocol.

This leaves Giovani Bernard as the top option in the backfield.

Michael Fabiano of NFL.com likes the player's upside:

Graham Barfield of Fantasy Guru added a note on his past workload:

Bernard had 17 touches for 130 yards against the Chicago Bears, which was by far his best performance of the year, even without a touchdown. Considering the state of the NFL, any time you can get 15-20 touches from a running back, he is in RB2 range.

Unfortunately, the upcoming matchup is tough.

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart had 103 rushing yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings in Week 14, but this was likely a fluke versus the NFL's No. 3 run defense. Cincinnati has not had a good running game regardless of its featured back, as it ranks 31st overall (79.4 YPG) and 30th in average per carry (3.5).

Considering the Vikings' ability to also slow down pass-catching running backs, Bernard will have little room. He is at best worth flex consideration in points-per-reception leagues.

Star receiver A.J. Green is likely to benefit the most, even considering his tough matchup with Xavier Rhodes. 

Ryan McDowell of Dynasty League Football noted his hesitation:

However, Green has been targeted an incredible 28 times in the last two games. Without many other reliable options, quarterback Andy Dalton will look toward his best target whether he is open or not. With Green's talent, this should turn into sizable production.

Keep him in your lineup for your fantasy playoffs, and you could even play him as a contrarian option on daily fantasy.

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