D'Andre Swift
How should we value D’Andre Swift in fantasy leagues for the 2021 NFL season? Talent and opportunity creates fantasy success. Good luck predicting this one. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

How Should We Value D’Andre Swift In Fantasy?

It’s never too early to talk fantasy football. One of the biggest decisions fantasy owners will need to make is what to do with Detroit Lions running back, D’Andre Swift. Screwing up the running back position in fantasy can tank your entire season so getting the call right on Swift means everything. It’s just impossible to know how to value him right now.

Talent and opportunity creates fantasy success. The talent is not a question. Swift was my RB1 during the 2020 NFL Draft and did nothing to sway me of that opinion. It’s too early to say Swift is 100 percent the RB1 from that draft. Cam Akers and JK Dobbins have promising futures. However, it takes a very special player to average 4.6 yards per carry with the Lions as a rookie.

Swift somehow managed to cash in 10 touchdowns on a bad offense in a part time role. It wasn’t just a part time role. Swift did all that as a rookie on a team where Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson were still involved and on the roster. Swift made the most of his opportunities.

The problem is the Lions will find a way to do what they always do. Suck? Oh, yes that. Look, maybe Matt Campbell is an upgrade over Matt Patricia? EHHHHH – MAYBE?

Regardless, there are two undeniable factors in play you cannot ignore.

A: The new offensive coordinator is (wait for it) Anthony Lynn. GULP. NOT GREAT, BOB!

B: The new Lions quarterback is… Jared GOOF. YIKES.

You thought things were bad with Matthew Stafford? You’re in for a huge awakening, Lion fans. Jared Goff already can’t play and will now go from being mentored by Sean McVay to Peter Griffin the Family Guy character. This offense has train wreck written all over it.

Add in the fact that Detroit’s defense is already brutal. The Lions ranked 32 in yards and points allowed in 2020. Not sure how that gets better with a less functional offense putting that unit on the field more frequently.

The good news to counteract that is that Swift is a very capable pass catcher. The former Georgia tail back notched a catch rate over 80% as a rookie. It was also a strength of his at the collegiate level. Swift might get more of those opportunities in a larger workload.

Speaking of workload, we also don’t know who is going to be manning the backfield. Will Johnson and Peterson return? Will the Lions draft another back? Is Swift the lead dog and will he emerged into a lead role?

Hey, good luck figuring this one out fantasy owners. I have zero advice. If I was picking a team from scratch, D’Andre Swift is a player I would want on my football team. I’m just not sure I want him on my fantasy team. Vice versa when it comes to Lamar Jackson. Don’t want him on my football team. Fantasy? Sure, I’ll take him. That’s fantasy.

Targeting year two running backs in fantasy is always a smart investment. Cam Akers, JK Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Jonathan Taylor have much better pathways towards success based on the team environment they’re in. Swift might be more talented than all of them but it may not matter. Good luck on draft day!