Joe Mixon is looking like one of this years biggest fantasy breakouts. Can he keep it up on Thursday night? (Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports)

1. Is Joe Mixon Matchup-Proof?

Joe Mixon was touted as a potential second-year breakout heading into this season. A revamped offensive line, the departure of Jeremy Hill, and a leaner physique all pointed to a high ceiling for Mixon. Well, the Oklahoma product might just be approaching that ceiling. He had 17 carries for 95 yards and 1 TD on the ground last week, as well as 5 catches on 7 targets for 54 yards. That’s an elite workload, and it’s even more encouraging that expected change-of-pace back Giovani Bernard had just one carry and one target. This is Mixon’s backfield.

But week two will bring a much bigger test for Mixon. The true measure of an elite RB1 is the ability to have a high fantasy point floor against tough defenses. The truly elite RBs of the league, the Todd Gurleys and Ezekiel Elliotts of the world, will usually give you at least 10 points a week in standard leagues with only some very rare exceptions. Tonight against Baltimore, we’ll see if the offensive line and Mixon’s passing game involvement will allow him to maintain an elite fantasy floor.

2. Is The Ravens Offense Legit?

It says a lot about the Ravens’ lack of weapons the past few seasons that the additions of Michael Crabtree, John  Brown, and Willie Snead were so game-breaking. Nothing against those guys, especially the ever-productive Crabtree. But if you were to rank the WR groups in the NFL, this one would not crack the top 10. That didn’t matter to Joe Flacco though, as he threw TDs to each of his new WRs in their Ravens debuts.

Tonight, we find out if this is something to expect going forward. Did you know that before Flacco’s 3 TDs against the Buffalo Bills, the last time he threw 3 TDs in a game was week nine of 2016? The question now becomes, was this a fluke brought on by the Bills defense being especially horrible in week one, or will the Ravens new WRs help make this a more regular occurrence? The Bengals secondary is pretty weak, so this will be a good test to see if Flacco and his new WR trio can at least stay productive against mid-level defenses. If they can, Michael Crabtree and John Brown will be even more valuable than they already are. And who knows, maybe Flacco can even become a viable streaming candidate/bye-week replacement.

3. Will Alex Collins Bounce Back?

One of the more disappointing opening-week stat lines belonged to Ravens RB Alex Collins. After bursting onto the scene in the middle of last season, many expected Collins to continue producing as the Ravens bell-cow back. He got off to a great start, rushing for an 8-yard TD on Baltimore’s first drive of the season. But he finished with just 13 rushing yards on 7 carries, losing a fumble in the process. Collins managed to have an abysmal fantasy day despite scoring a TD. That’s hard to do.

Now he gets a matchup with a capable Bengals front that allowed just 75 rush yards to the Colts last week, and just 78 to Collins the last time these two teams met. But one thing working in Collins’ favor is Kenneth Dixon unfortunately went on IR with a knee injury after a productive day against Indianapolis (13 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD). Now the only competition in the backfield is Javorius Allen. And while he was also more productive than Collins in week one, his 4 carries for 17 yards won’t set the world on fire. We’ll see if Collins can limit the fumbles and get back on track tonight against the Bengals.


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