Yahoo! fantasy analyst sees massive ceiling for D’Andre Swift in 2022

Credit: Steph Chambers/Getty Images
Credit: Steph Chambers/Getty Images /

His 2021 season was impacted by an injury, but one fantasy football analyst sees a massive ceiling for D’Andre Swift in 2022.

Spurred by heavy passing game usage early and back-to-back career-best rushing games, Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift was RB5 in full PPR fantasy scoring from Week 1-11 this season. It was notable that those back-to-back 130-plus yard rushing contests came in head coach Dan Campbell’s first two games as the new offensive play caller.

Then, Swift suffered a shoulder injury early in Week 12 Thanksgiving Day against the Chicago Bears and missed the next four games. He returned for the final two games of the season, with limited work and minimal production (fantasy or otherwise).

The 2021 season will be marked as a season Swift left potential on the table due to injury. But in real and fantasy terms, the upside remains looking to the 2022 season.

One fantasy analyst sees a huge ceiling for D’Andre Swift in 2022

Yahoo’s fantasy football analysts combined for an early list of “players we’re excited to draft” in 2022. It’s safe to say Andy Behrens is all in on Swift.

"Andy Behrens: D’ANDRE SWIFT finished fourth among all running backs in both receptions (62) and receiving yards (452) this year despite missing four weeks due to injury. At his per-game averages, he would have finished the season with 1,398 total yards, 81 receptions and 9 TDs over 17 weeks. Swift was reliably playing over 70 percent of the snaps each game before the shoulder issue derailed his season, so playing time and workload certainly weren’t problems.Plenty of you are going to dismiss Swift as injury-prone at 23 (as if league-wide injury risk is concentrated in some identifiable subset of players), and your pessimism is going to depress his ADP in 2022. I view him as a back who’s clearly capable of producing first-round value, yet he’ll be available much later. Wherever I’m drafting a receiver at the top, Swift will be a target. He’s excellent, fully capable of making an Austin Ekeler-style leap."

“On-pace” can be a slippery slope to lean into, but there’s no denying Swift’s pace in 2021 and that was with playing little in the game he was injured in and playing less than 60 percent of the snaps in his final two games. Based on his first 11 games, his 17-game pace was 1,658 total yards, 90 catches and 10 total touchdowns.

As for the comp to Austin Ekeler by Behrens, let’s take a closer look.

Sharing work in the Chargers backfield with Melvin Gordon in 2019, Ekeler was RB4 in full PPR and RB7 in standard scoring. Having 92 receptions for 993 yards and eight receiving scores helped.

Ekeler missed six games in 2020, but he was RB10 in full PPR on a per-game basis among running backs who played more than five games. So better health would surely foster a full-on breakthrough in 2021, right?

Indeed. Ekeler missed one game, and put up 1,558 total yards with 70 receptions and 20 total touchdowns (12 rushing, eight receiving). The production was fairly well balanced, with a touchdown or over 90 total yards (often both) 12 times. He also scored one way or another in eight straight games to end the season (Week 11-18). He finished as RB2 across the board.

Ekeler made a big jump in 2021, spurred purely by being healthy. Swift has a more credible threat to his workload in the Lions’ backfield in Jamaal Williams, but that didn’t stop him from getting fed before he got hurt.

I’m not quite ready to say Swift is on the Ekeler track for a big leap into the realm of fantasy studs in 2022. But it’s also not hard to see the possibility, expecially if the Lions’ offense carries its late-season improvement into next season.

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