Last week we talked about the Dynasty Impact of K.J. Osborn on the Minnesota Vikings. He didn't quite pop off against the Seahawks like we all would have wanted, but this week we turn our sights to D'Andre Swift on the Detroit Lions.
The former Georgia Bulldog was drafted pretty highly for a running back by the Detroit Lions with the third pick of the second round in the 2020 NFL Draft. He might not have had the best of rookie seasons, but he's trending upward with the Lions this year.
He's the RB3 in PPR scoring so far this season. This Detroit offense is not good, so what gives? Well, it turns out that they're funneling their entire offense through the backs and T.J. Hockenson. As a result, Swift has stat lines that look Christian McCaffrey-esque.
Against solid defenses like San Francisco and Baltimore, he put up games with eight and seven receptions each, including fairly sizeable yardage marks through the air. That volume through the air is driving his production. On the ground, he looks a bit more pedestrian, but that's also due to Detroit having a suspect offensive line (outside of Penei Sewell).
Looking ahead, what does his schedule look like, and what about his prospects for the future?
2021 Dynasty Football Profile: D'Andre Swift
Swift's Prospects For The Rest Of The Year In Detroit
With how bad the Lions have been, I don't expect Swift to do any worse than he is right now. They're among the worst teams in the league, but they seem to be keeping around in games enough. For a bottom-feeder-type team, the Lions have some fight. That means that Swift not only gets his receiving work but targets through the passing game as well. The Lions have every chance to see what they have with Swift.
Looking forward to their schedule this year, the Lions have games against the Bears, Vikings, Bengals, and Rams coming up. Of those defenses, the Bengals have been playing over their heads of late, but they shouldn't scare you. The Rams are above average against running backs but they also just gave up a massive game to the corpse of Giovani Bernard.
Swift is a similar type of player to Bernard, but much better. The rest of those teams are poor against backs especially ones like Swift that catch passes. If you think of him more like a slot receiver than just a running back at times, the Bears have a huge hole in their defense there.
On their season schedule, the only "scary" matchups are really the Steelers in week 10, that depends on how healthy that defense is heading into that week 10 matchup; the other two are the Browns in week 11, and the Broncos in week 14. Then in the playoffs, you have juicy matchups against the Falcons, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Packers. Swift should for sure be on your list of targets for season-long leagues.
Jamaal Williams Complements Him Extremely Well
Williams might be the best complementary back in the NFL. For the time he was in Green Bay, Fantasy Football managers hated him for "capping" Aaron Jones. But he was wildly playable during that time and now, he's even better in Detroit.
Anthony Lynn loves to run a two-RB system for his offense, and he ported it over from San Diego to Detroit. If Swift was taking a beating like McCaffrey is, or Derrick Henry, he probably wouldn't last the entire season. With Williams there to spell him, Swift can be on the field for more games without as much threat of an injury, and the opposing defenses have to plan for different types of runners.
It might be annoying to see someone out there getting a good portion of the touches in this backfield, but in the long run, it'll end up benefitting Swift.
Swift For The Future: It's Up To Goff And The GM
Swift is already a good NFL player, we can all see that. He's fantastic at catching passes and he can run well. At this point for his future outlook, it depends on the development and players surrounding him.
If the Lions can build an actual NFL offensive line, and Jared Goff can develop back into the quarterback we thought he would be, Swift's future is bright. Think about Goff when he was at his peak in Los Angeles.
Todd Gurley was among the best NFL players, and it was because of the offense surrounding them, but also Goff getting him open in space and hitting him on screens. Swift can be similar to that style of game. While he might not be as bruising running the ball, he doesn't need to be. As long as he gets the high-value touches in the offense, he can have a bruiser spelling him on the goal line and when big-time running is needed.
Swift is an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 season. There might be a better situation out there for him, but for now, let's assume he's in Detroit for the foreseeable future. Jared Goff is around until at least 2024. So as long as he's the quarterback in Detroit, that game-manager, dump-off style will greatly benefit Swift.
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Acquiring Swift In Dynasty
To end the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile: D'Andre Swift, let's look at acquiring him in Dynasty leagues. Even after a "disappointing" season last year (since when is the RB15 disappointing), Swift's value was in a bit of a rut at the start of this season. After this start, depending on your league settings, I'd try to get Swift on your dynasty roster.
The owner might be a bit skittish about the prospects of his time in Detroit, but the dude is only 22 years old. He has a solid workload already, that can only really get better from here out. If your league isn't PPR, I might hold off on it a bit, because his rushing upside right now is lower than his receiving output.
That being said, he's among one of the brightest dynasty stars out there. It would take quite an offer to get him, but if you're rebuilding or contending for a title this year, Swift can help your fantasy roster. In season-long leagues, I'd try to get Swift as well. Jamaal Williams also has an easy out to his contract after this year, so that "roadblock" to more rushing production or work is out of the way in 2022.
Swift can be a league-winner in every format if he keeps up just the level of production he's at right now. He projects to be among the best of the Dynasty RBs for the future as well.
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