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Dynasty Price Check - D'Andre Swift

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

Perennially living in the shadow of Jonathan Taylor, Lions running back D'Andre Swift is often overlooked. It has been largely forgotten that when Taylor and Swift were coming out of college, many believed Swift to be the better all-around back.

Taylor has obviously dominated the fantasy discussion, but could Swift remind us why we thought he could be the better back of the two?

Let's look at Swift's fantasy football profile to see just where he should be valued in dynasty leagues.

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Team Context

The clear knock to Swift is the fact he is on the Lions. Drafted with the 35th overall pick (six picks ahead of Taylor), the Lions clearly wanted the young RB. Unfortunately, the Lions have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush in 2013. Enter Motor City Head Coach Dan Campbell (MCHCDC). Despite not drafting Swift himself, Campbell wants to utilize the dynamic back.

Last season, when healthy, Swift was the engine that drove this offense. He averaged 12 carries and six targets per game. He is their go-to guy on the ground, and his receiving ability makes him game-script-proof. Despite the addition of D.J. Chark, the breakout of Amon-Ra St. Brown, and a healthy T.J. Hockenson, I predict Swift to be prolific in the passing game. Over a 17-game season, his usage last year would have been 204 rushes and 102 targets. In 2021, that would have been the fourth-most touches at the RB position. As a result, the clock is ticking for the Lions to have their next 1,000-yard rusher. 

The usage is undeniable, but can Swift flourish for fantasy on a mediocre offense? Although touchdowns will be at a premium on this team, Swift has scored 7+ touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. Considering that the Lions only had 35 total touchdowns last year, 20% of them were scored by Swift. Last season, there were five backs on bottom-12 touchdown scoring teams that managed to crack the top-24 fantasy RBs (Swift was one of those five despite missing three games). Unfortunately, only one back from these teams managed to make it into the top-10 for fantasy, Antonio Gibson. As a result, despite being on a lower-scoring team, Swift should be locked into RB2 territory. Based on last season, it would appear he is unlikely to be an RB1, but he possesses all the talent to break into the top-12. 

 

Dynasty Outlook

So how can you value Swift in dynasty leagues? There’s no way around it, he will be a hard player to acquire. Most likely the manager that has him, drafted him as a rookie and reinforced their belief in the player after a stellar 2021 campaign. However, these managers may be allured by “flashier” names. For example, I would love to move aging backs such as Dalvin Cook or Joe Mixon for him. In fact, a back in a similar situation that is the talk of the town is Najee Harris.

Personally, I would do a one-for-one swap of Najee Harris for Swift. This may seem like a hot take, but Swift is actually younger than Harris and I like the direction the Lions are going more than the Steelers (who thought we’d ever be saying that). With the potential upside, his usage, and age, I think an argument can be made for Swift to be the dynasty RB2 overall. 

Swift may never see 300 rushing attempts, but with his style of play, he could become the next Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, or Aaron Jones type of fantasy player. Running backs are one position where a young fantasy producer can seem untouchable in terms of trade value. As a result, you have to call your shot early and predict the breakout before it happens. For me, Swift checks all the boxes to be the next elite dynasty running back. I would do whatever it takes to acquire Swift this offseason.



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