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2023 Dynasty Fantasy Football Faller: D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL DFS Lineup Picks

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift has been a fascinating fantasy asset through his first three NFL seasons, but he's becoming more frustrating than fascinating as he approaches his age-24 season.

Swift has been efficient and explosive as a rusher and receiver, but injury woes, workload discrepancies, and lack of red zone/goal line work have hurt his overall fantasy profile, production, and value. The Lions boasted a top-five offensive attack in 2022 and are expected to be a top-notch unit in 2023. That's great news for all the Lions' offensive weapons, but if Swift can't seize a larger opportunity share, we'll never see him pay off as a top-three dynasty running back, as he was once ranked.

How did Swift play in 2022, what is his current trade market in dynasty leagues, and what can we expect from the former Georgia Bulldog in 2023? Let's dive in.

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2022 Season In Review

After the first two weeks of the regular season, Swift dynasty managers rejoiced as he looked to be headed toward at least a top-eight running back season. Against the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders, Swift rushed 20 times for 200 yards and caught five of his eight targets for 62 yards, scoring two total touchdowns. Although the efficiency was unsustainable on just 25 touches in two games, everyone hoped his usage would ramp up. He was the RB3 in the early part of the season, so big things were expected to come.

However, the injury bug struck the young back once again in Week 3. After just 10 touches, Swift suffered an ankle injury, and wouldn't play again until Week 8.

When he returned to the lineup, there were numerous reports that his workload would be "managed." That's never a fun thing to hear about your fantasy stud RB, but unfortunately, it played out that way.

From Week 8 to Week 12, Swift handled just 23 rushing attempts for 61 yards and two touchdowns and caught 16 of his 23 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. Luckily, his three touchdowns saved him from four straight bust weeks, but he was just the RB26 over that span. He went from having a decent workload on the ground with a ton of usage through the air to a mere satellite back with very few touches. Meanwhile, Jamaal Williams was utilized as the goal line back, rushing for seven touchdowns over the stretch.

Williams finished the 2022 season with the second-most red zone touches per game (3.6) and led the league with 17 rushing scores. He served as the prototypical touchdown vulture, but since Swift was banged up early in the year, Williams also got plenty of early down work between the 20s.

Despite Swift ranking No. 2 in yards per touch (6.3) and yards created per touch (4.58), No. 5 in breakaway run rate (8.1 percent), and No. 8 in true yards per carry (4.9), Detroit insisted on feeding a much less efficient Williams. He ranked 50th, 55th, 50th, and 54th in those categories, respectively.


D'Andre Swift Advanced Stats and Metrics

Ultimately, the team clearly didn't believe Swift would stay healthy if he took on a workhorse role. Considering he's missed at least three games in each of his first three seasons, it's hard to blame them. Swift handled double-digit rush attempts just three times and caught five or more passes just three times.

Swift's final stats were 93 carries for 517 yards and five rushing touchdowns, adding 41 receptions on 63 targets for 328 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. He finished as the RB24 overall after being drafted among the top 10 running backs in PPR leagues for 2022.


D'Andre Swift Dynasty Value/Market

KeepTradeCut.com dynasty rankings, which are crowdsourced by the users who read the site, currently has Swift as just the RB18. KeepTradeCut is a good source for examining the overall market of a player, but all dynasty leagues value players differently to some degree.

Personally, the RB18 spot feels low considering he's ranked behind the likes of J.K. Dobbins and Javonte Williams, who have far more extreme injury histories. However, you'd be hard-pressed to find dynasty managers who are willing to trade a 2024 first-round pick for Swift at this point, much less a 2023 first-round pick.

Williams is headed to the New Orleans Saints, but Detroit recently signed former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery to seemingly take on his role. Montgomery was a much more efficient runner in 2022 but played on a far inferior offense. There's a chance Montgomery's arrival is even worse for Swift since he's still a bruiser like Williams, but he's a far better pass-catcher.

Montgomery got a relatively lucrative deal compared to other backs on the market, so he'll be in Detroit long-term and will clearly be heavily featured in the offense. Swift is in trouble, but fantasy managers might find some optimism in the fact he is a free agent next offseason. Since his market is low, it might be worth holding him for one more season to see if he can land a more significant role in 2024 with a new team.


2023 Fantasy Football Outlook

In early best ball drafts, Swift is coming off the board as the RB19, via 4for4.com Underdog ADP. While we should all be hesitant to draft Swift if he still carried a top-10 running back price tag, he could end up being a bargain in 2023 fantasy drafts.

We've seen running backs like Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, who have a far worse injury history, bounce back and play full seasons, so why can't Swift? Even if Swift is given just a 40-percent opportunity share, he could pay off mightily at an RB19 ADP with efficiency, receptions, and touchdown equity.

He's not an attractive asset in standard leagues, but in full-PPR formats, we should still see boom weeks. The pass-catching, explosive running back on a high-ceiling offense always has value, and if David Montgomery misses time (four games missed in 2022), Swift could earn a full workhorse role for a stretch of games. In that scenario, he'd have an RB1 upside every week.

2023 will be a very telling season for the future of Swift's career. Fantasy managers can either try to buy him low in dynasty formats, or take the bargain in 2023 preseason drafts. At the very least, it'd be surprising if Detroit adds an early-round running back in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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