2020 season totals: Games:13 ATT: 114 Yards: 521 Y/A:4.6 TD: 8 FUM: 3 Targets/Receptions: 57/46 Yards:357 Y/R:7.8 TD: 2 FPTS:189.8 (PPR)
If you picked up Swift for your fantasy team last year as I did, then you will remember the pain and heartache. The dreaded ‘Running Back Committee’ was in full force in Detroit, and it didn’t resemble a 3 headed monster, but more of a 3 headed kitten. Swift had to share carries with Kerryon Johnson and the fountain of youth that is Adrian Peterson for most of the season. It was only until Week 10 when Swift finally became the starter after averaging just 13.2 touches a game. For a guy with his dual-threat skills, this was nowhere near enough.
To compound the misery, the team wasn’t (and still isn’t) very good. Coach Matt Patricia and Darren Bevell failed to get anything going, and the Lions limped to a 5-11 record which left them bottom of the NFC North.
Swift displayed some shows of promise, however, with a standout performance against the Jags where he became the first Lions rookie running back to rush over 100 yards and score 2 touchdowns since Barry Sanders back in 89’. The former 22-year-old Georgia Bulldog has the attributes to perform at a high level. Now, it’s about taking the next step.
The Lions are in a transition and effectively starting again. Patricia, Bevell, and the boys are gone. Matt Stafford, the man handing the ball off to Swift last year, has gone as well. Heck, even Kerryon and Peterson have gone. This means expectations should be low, and pressure minimal. The perfect storm for a sophomore running back?
What will aid Swift’s cause was the selection of Penei Sewell in the draft. Sewell, one of the top prospects, will join Taylor Decker and elite centre Frank Ragnow in quietly one of the best O-Lines in the league. With new QB Goff adjusting to the new playbook, and the lack of weapons at wideout, it is a fair assumption the Lions will be run-heavy this year.
How many touches exactly Swift will get remains to be seen, but murmurings from new OC Anthony Lynn indicate he believes Swift can be that all-important ‘3 down back’ for fantasy players. This will surely include more receptions as well in the short passing game to make Goff feel more comfortable, as Swift has demonstrated in the past, he’s more than capable.
I genuinely believe Swift is bordering on RB1 territory this year. Barring injury, there should be a healthy uptick in carries and receptions, ideal for those in PPR leagues. There is the danger the Lions fall behind early and a lot, which might leave them abandoning the run more than they would like. But quite frankly, Swift is one of the best, if not the best, offensive weapons they have now, so I expect him to be involved heavily regardless.
Feature Image Credit: Mike Mulholland