While Detroit Lions fans may not have loved the selection, what can fantasy owners expect out of rookie running back D’Andre Swift?
The Detroit Lions’ selection of running back D’Andre Swift with the 35th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft was rightfully met by mixed reactions from fans. Even though Swift’s potential is through the roof and has drawn comparisons to New Orleans Saints superstar Alvin Kamara and the Minnesota Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, Lions fans are cautiously optimistic.
That’s likely because previous second-round running back selections like Mikel Leshoure and Ameer Abdullah both had limited careers in Detroit. And Kerryon Johnson has had mixed results in his first two seasons.
It seems likely that the Lions will be fielding a running-back-by-committee approach this season, with Swift and Johnson splitting the majority of the carries. Bruiser back Bo Scarbrough is likely to at least get some goal line touches. And rookie Jason Huntley might sneak into the fold as a discount Theo Riddick.
It’s not crazy to believe that the Lion’s running game will improve this season compared to last, as the Lions invested three of their first draft picks in that department. Following Swift’s Day Two selection, the Lions drafted offensive guards Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg soon after.
While the team did lose two starters on the offensive line in guard Graham Glasgow and tackle Rick Wagner, one of those two rookie guards should at least get 75 percent of Glasgow’s production in their first year. And new tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai has experience in a successful culture with the Philadelphia Eagles that can hopefully bleed into the younger players.
Those new pieces combined with near Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow, left tackle Taylor Decker and guard Joe Dahl, who were all key reasons why the Lions’ offensive line was ranked 11th in the league via Pro Football Focus’ rankings, give the Lions a solid front unit. And this O-line will now be in the second year of learning and mastering offensive coordinator’s Darrell Bevell’s schemes.
The Sporting News ranked Swift as their No. 1 incoming fantasy football rookie because of the role he could play being similar to a fellow former Georgia Bulldog whose now in New England.
"“Swift likely will start in a committee with Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough, but Matt Patricia will end up trusting the Georgia running back and use him in a similar role as Bill Belichick does with Sony Michel. Swift might be inconsistent from week to week early in the season, but there’s a good chance he leads all rookies in rushing yards in 2020.”"
While Swift may need some time to adjust to NFL speed, he is put in a good position to succeed with a solid offensive line and a scheme that emphasizes using his speed in space and in the passing game.
D’Andre Swift may not lead all rookies in rushing yards his first season, but by 2020 season’s end, it would be wise to have Swift on your fantasy football roster to use in the FLEX position due to his versatility. Expect Swift to be drafted between the fifth and eighth rounds of your draft, which is often where fantasy football leagues are won.