With an almost unrivaled range of outcomes, Lions running back D’Andre Swift will win or lose a lot of fantasy football leagues this year.
Through Week 11 last year, D’Andre Swift was RB5 in full PPR fantasy scoring and a top-10 running back across the board.
Then he suffered a shoulder injury early in Week 12, and missed the following four games. He had a reduced role in the final two games of the season when he returned, and finished as RB15 in full PPR for the season (RB19 in 0.5-point PPR, RB23 in standard).
There’s no need to rehash where Swift’s fantasy upside is for this year, or totally re-address the downside based on the fact he has missed three and four games in his first two seasons respectively.
Depending on the fantasy analyst the sentiment on Swift has focused on one or the other, the upside or the downside. The negative nellies seem to really lean into that, without mentioning the other side much.
D’Andre Swift will win, or lose, a lot of fantasy football leagues in 2022
Volume remains king in fantasy football, and it wouldn’t matter too much if Swift is a below average runner if he sees a lot of volume. But he might not see enough volume to make him a top-10 fantasy back. He had 33 carries in one overtime game against the Eagles last season while Jamaal Williams was injured, but that was his only game with 15 or more carries. The two appear set to split carries again this season.
Not to quibble over facts, but Swift’s 33-carry game came against the Steelers.
The problem is that Swift hasn’t played well as a runner so far in his career and might not see the volume most expect. His PFF rush grade was the lowest among players with at least 150 carries last season. He doesn’t gain many yards after contact, and there is no guarantee any of the other players in the bottom five in that category will be on an NFL roster a month from now.
Seemingly in an effort to be more durable and be a stronger runner, Swift added noticeable muscle during the offseason. Time will tell if that makes him better between the tackles, not that he could’ve been worse in that area than he was last season.
Full disclosure: I took Swift in the second round of the draft in the league I focus on most, at pick 2.08 (20th overall) to be precise. Shy of setting up an auto-pick, I made the pick manually as quickly as I could have. Going RB-RB to start, with Najee Harris as my first-round pick, made it a little easier to embrace Swift’s upside while minimizing the risk.
Swift could be a top-5 or top-10 fantasy running back this year, with a possible path to being the RB1 in PPR leagues. Or, he could be banged up again, miss games, split time with Jamaal Williams….and be an incredible disappointment.
Fantasy leagues aren’t won without taking some risks that pay off. As a second-round pick, or possibly a late-first for some, Swift will make or break a lot of potential runs to fantasy league titles this year. There aren’t many players, across all positions, with as wide a range of easily possible outcomes.