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Why D'Andre Swift's Tremendous Upside Is Worth the Risk

d'andre swift fantasy football rankings NFL DFS lineup picks

Finding a breakout player at any position in fantasy football can give you a massive advantage. However, finding a breakout player at what many believe is the most valuable position, running back, can catapult you to the top of your league. You do not always have to look into the late rounds to find a breakout.

For example, D'Andre Swift has a current average draft position (ADP) of 13 overall, making him the eighth running back taken. While Swift has dealt with injuries to his groin, head, and shoulder during his first two seasons in the NFL, he has been a true difference-maker when healthy.

Swift has shown promise in both phases of the offense. He has a nose for the end zone but has stood out most for his ability as a pass-catcher. Before injuring his shoulder last season, Swift was working as the primary back for the Detroit Lions. The injuries are now behind him, and the fantasy community has taken the plunge, snagging Swift early in preparation for a breakout season in 2022. Swift has proven his talent when healthy, has little competition when looking at the depth chart, and is primed to finish the season as a top-tier running back for fantasy managers.

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D'Andre Swift's Past Production

Years Carries Rush
Yards
YPC Rush TD Rec. Tar. Rec.
Yards
YPR Rec. TD Snap % Avg. Snaps
Per Game
Fantasy
Points
Avg. PPG
2020 114 521 8 4.6 46 57 357 7.8 2 38.01% 30 166.8 (RB18) 12.8
2021 151 617 5 4.1 62 78 452 7.3 2 50.80% 43 177.9 (RB19) 13.7

Swift played in 13 games in both 2020 and 2021. He led the Lions' running back corps each year, increasing his time on the field by 12.79% last season when compared to his rookie season. Swift dropped from 10 total touchdowns in 2020 to seven in 2021, but he saw increased usage in both phases of the offense. Swift saw plenty of use as a receiver, averaging 4.4 targets per game in 2020 and increasing that to six targets per game in 2021. Swift was on pace to finish as the RB9 overall in 2020 and the RB6 overall in 2021.

Year Rec. Per
Game
Targets
Per Game
Receiving Yards
Per Game
2021 4.8 (2nd) 6 (Tied-1st) 34.8 (3rd)

Before going down in Week 12 last season with a shoulder injury against the Chicago Bears, Swift was the RB9 overall, averaging 14.6 points per game. Only Leonard Fournette finished with more receptions per game than Swift, with an average of 4.9, while Swift tied with Fournette in targets per game. Austin Ekeler and J.D. McKissic were the only two running backs to finish with a higher average of receiving yards per game than Swift. These finishes also include the two games that Swift had a limited snap count in at the end of the season. Take those games away, and Swift averaged 5.1 receptions per game, 6.4 targets, and 39.3 receiving yards. From Weeks 1-12, Swift led the league at the running back position in targets.

There are few running backs in the league that not only have the number of targets on average that Swift has had the past two seasons but also have the talent he has as a receiver. When looking for potential breakout players for fantasy, you want to identify a few things; opportunity, target share, talent, and recent success. Swift has had plenty of opportunity over the past two seasons, generates a high amount of targets, has proven how talented he is on the field, and has been successful when healthy. He is primed for a breakout.

D'Andre Swift's Potential Projection for 2022

Rush Att Rush Att
Share%
YPC Rush
Yards
Rush TD Rec. Tar. Tar.
Share%
YPR Rec.
Yards
Rec. TD Fantasy
Points
191 45% 4.2 803.6 7 73 92 15% 7.6 558 3 232.9

Swift finished with 35% of the Lions' total carry count last season in 13 games. He had 57.4% of the team's carries before the shoulder injury last season, meaning Swift could finish with more than the projected 45% if he stays healthy. With an improved offensive line and more skill position players added to shift opposing defenses, Swift should find the end zone a couple more times than he did in 2021. Swift handled 13% of the target share in Detroit last season, so bumping him up by two percent may not be generous enough. With a projection of 232.9 total fantasy points, Swift would average 13.7 points per game. Finishing with this point total would have made him the RB6 overall last season.

Swift does not need to take a giant leap forward regarding total rush attempt percentage or target share to become an elite fantasy option in 2022. The Lions have not added any significant players to the running back room to challenge Swift for his role. The offensive line has improved over the offseason, and the passing attack should be more potent with D.J. Chark and the eventual debut of Jameson Williams. The offense as a whole is improving, leading to better odds of scoring and more open field for Swift to take advantage of more often.

 

Conclusion

Swift is a dynamic player with a dual-threat skill set. There is room for him to grow into a top-five running back for fantasy purposes, and his ascent to that ranking starts this season. The question of "how high can he finish?" has never been about his talent, but it is asked because of the time he has missed during the past two seasons. However, as long as he stays on the field, he can produce as an elite option at the running back position. His current ADP of 13 is more than worth it.



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