Texans Acquire Workhorse RB Joe Mixon, Boosting his 2024 Fantasy Outlook

Joe Mixon brings an added element to the Texans' ascending offense.

One thousand rushing yards, 1,401 total yards, and 12 scores still made it seemingly easy for the Cincinnati Bengals to move on from their workhorse running back of the last seven seasons.

Joe Mixon, who was originally going to be released by the team after adding Zack Moss in free agency, was instead traded before the official move for a somewhat meaningless seventh-round NFL Draft pick during the first week of free agency.

The rusher, who has played at least 14 games in six of seven seasons, has eclipsed 6,400 career yards and needs one more rushing touchdown to amass 50. Last season also marked the fourth time Mixon has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his career – falling just 56 yards short of The Wolf’s season projection last year.

Amid a restructuring in 2020 and an extension last summer, the Benagls’ option to release Mixon was still what the team ultimately decided on – something Roto Street Journal hinted at when it said last summer the rusher would need a career year to change the Bengals’ minds in keeping him. Ultimately, it didn’t seem to matter.

Mixon said in his introductory press conference with the Texans that he was still “shocked” by the trade and “took that 24 to 48 hours to hurt.” However, with unanswered questions from the team who drafted him, the 27-year-old former Pro Bowler also said head coach DeMeco Ryans has already made him feel “wanted.” They also made him feel wanted when they ripped up his contract and gave him a three-year deal worth $25.5 million with $13 million fully guaranteed.

Despite Ryans’ want to get then-lead rusher Dameon Pierce a 1,000-yard season, Houston’s run game was one of the worst in the league, with Devin Singletary leading the way. Can we count on Mixon in 2024 fantasy football, with an ADP of RB26?


Mixon’s snaps and production diminished slightly over the past few years, but he still finished as RB9 last season. 

Before Mixon was drafted, analyst Lance Zierlein compared him to former NFL running back Le’Veon Bell.

“(Mixon) has the talent to be an every-down, all-day running back with the potential to take over a game on the ground or through the air,” Zierlein wrote.

He has proven to be just that. 

Throughout his career, Mixon has shown his abilities to turn corners and create a straightaway to the end zone, how he can glide and then burst quickly, jump-cut around defenders, be a three-down back and run successful routes in the passing game.

His experience trumps that of Houston third-year back Pierce, and the backfield should not see a true timeshare. 

“I think what we got boiling here is pretty much the same thing (as Cincinnati),” Mixon said in his press conference. “I think what we’ve got here cooking right now is on the right track, and there’s a lot of things to look forward to.”

Houston brought in Devin Singletary on a one-year deal, but it lost him during the free agency period to the Giants, giving the Texans a clear 1-2 depth chart with Mixon and Pierce.

Mixon’s three-down upside will give him the leg-up on Pierce as he shines in the receiving game. During his seven-year career, he’s averaged roughly 50 targets a season, highlighted by five seasons with 35-plus receptions.


Mixon allows quarterback C.J. Stroud and the offense to rely less on the pass. Entering his second year, Stroud finished as the No. 14 fantasy signal-caller. But home games such as against Tampa Bay and Jacksonville showed how much Houston didn’t use its run game. 

Stroud passed for 747 yards in those games on 56-of-78 passing. Six of his 15 games also showed him pass for more than 300 yards – something often not common among rookie quarterbacks.

Houston also proved it could utilize a successful run game, as Singletary eased the pressure off Stroud and his weapons in the later weeks of the season. He had double-digit carries for four out of the last five weeks, including 26 and 24 against Tennessee and Indianapolis, respectively.

Mixon can also give Stroud a security blanket in the passing game, something he did not often do last season, targeting running backs on only 13.4% of throws last season (30th in the league).

With Mixon more reliable than Singletary, Houston can use him as its bell cow, something that was very familiar to him during his time in Cincinnati. 


Although Mixon will be 28 when the season kicks off, he should be an upgrade over Singletary as the true workhorse back in one of the league’s top offenses.

“The Texans were the only spot Mixon could’ve landed and preserved most of his value. It was a phenomenal spot to wind up,” wrote The Wolf.

Mixon checks in at RB21 at the end of Tier 5 on The Wolf’s 2024 Fantasy Football Rankings and Big Board.


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