A full-on breakout didn’t happen, but let’s look at the 2021 campaign for Lions running back D’Andre Swift in a fantasy football light.
Heading into the 2021 season, Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift was an easy fantasy breakout candidate. Full health and a bigger workload for an entire season were the top reasons for the prospects of a second-year breakthrough.
Despite not rushing for more than 51 yards in any of the first eight games of the season, Swift made up for it with at least five targets in all eight games and over 60 total yards six times in that span. Here’s a look at his weekly finishes from Week 1-8 in 0.5-point PPR scoring (courtesy of Fantasy Pros).
Week 1: RB5
Week 2: RB22
Week 3: RB6
Week 4: RB41
Week 5: RB13
Week 6: RB16
Week 7: RB2
Week 8: RB46
If you had Swift rostered, you were probably starting him every week. Three top-10 weeks and three other RB2-range weeks is a pretty good run, with two outside the top-40 duds.
Fantasy Football: D’Andre Swift takes off on the ground out of Lions bye
Upon head coach Dan Campbell taking over play calling duties coming off the Week 9 bye, the Lions’ offense committed more to the ground game. Swift led the way, with career-highs in carries (33) and yards (130) in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Week 11, he had a new career-high 136 yards on 14 carries with a 57-yard touchdown. His passing game role didn’t go away over those two games (10 targets), it was just wasn’t fruitful (six catches for five yards total).
Swift, Week 10 (0.5-point PPR): RB15
Swift, Week 11 (0.5-point PPR): RB6
In Week 12, Thanksgiving Day against Chicago Bears, Swift suffered a right shoulder injury that would cost him the next four games. And so went his chances to keep a top-10 fantasy running back season going all the way to the finish line.
A return to action in Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks was not fruitful for Swift’s fantasy managers who put him right back into their lineups (39 total yards on six touches-RB42 in 0.5-point PPR). If Week 18 mattered in your league, a touchdown helped him get to a top-20 finish in an otherwise below-par day (seven carries for 30 yards, four catches for 16 yards).
In raw points, Swift was still a top-20 fantasy running back across the board in 2021 (through Week 17 at least). But it will go down as a “what might have been” campaign for him, in light of how much better the Lions offense looked starting in the game he was injured in.