The 2022 season is shaping up as a critical one in his career, but Lions’ running back D’Andre Swift is already among the best backs in the league in one area.
There’s no denying the talent level of D’Andre Swift, coming off a season where he put up over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in what amounted to 10 games of substantial action in 2021. But after struggling to stay healthy in his first two seasons, missing at least three games in each, the 2022 campaign is a critical one for the Lions’ top running back.
As expectations get raised for what he could do in 2022, Swift has acknowledged where he can (and must?) improve as an all-around runner. But as a receiver out of the backfield, with 62 receptions last year, he’s arguably already among the best backs in the league.
In fantasy football, a running back who catches a whole bunch passes is a cheat code. Swift is easy to place in that kind of group.
Fantasy Football: D’Andre Swift lands in upper tier of pass-catching backs
In naming the best pass catching running backs to target in fantasy football for 2022, Tommy Garrett of Pro Football Network has put Swift in a lofty place. Not specifically numerically ranked in order (but Swift was second on the list), the Lions’ running back is in the group with Austin Ekeler, Najee Harris, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Cordarrelle Patterson and J.D. McKissic.
Here’s what Garrett had to say about Swift.
Despite missing four games, D’Andre Swift finished fourth in targets last season (78) and tied for the lead amongst RBs in targets per game (6). Averaging 17.6 opportunities per game, 34% of those came via the air, along with 42% of his total yardage per game (34.77).
Averaging .59 PPR/rush, Swift averaged 1.53 PPR/target and 1.92 PPR/reception, further showing the necessity to be involved in the passing game and how much those opportunities mean. I don’t see this changing in 2022 behind of the best offensive lines in football and with a risk-averse QB in Jared Goff.
If not for missing practically five games and seeing reduced snap shares in the two games after he returned, there’s no telling where Swift’s target share, opportunity share, etc. would have landed last year. He was also out during a chunk of the late-season stretch where the Lions’ offense was better.
And Garrett finished his Swift thoughts by climbing all the way onto the buzz bandwagon.
Looking for a sneaky candidate for the No. 1 overall RB finish in 2022? Swift should very much be in consideration as one of the best receiving running backs in the league.
There’s been so much optimism around Swift that it’s worth wondering where his ADP will settle once fantasy football draft season really ramps up. He will be an interesting ADP case study when the sample gets larger, relative to other backs in the first round/first half of the second round range in 12-team leagues.