If you were to tell someone a month ago that the Detroit Lions would be top five in the NFL in PPG, YPG, and rushing YPG, they’d call the nearest mental hospital and have you institutionalized. To everyone’s shock, however, that world has become a reality. In Week 1, Detroit put up a nasty fight against the possible NFC favorites in the Eagles. Guys like Jeff Okudah, Malcolm Rodriguez, and Jamaal Williams all had spectacular performances in the 38-35 loss. A couple days ago, the Lions got their first win of the season behind Aidan Hutchinson’s dominant first half, Amon-Ra’s best game of his career, and great blocking from an offensive line that was missing three starters. The Lions’ young talent has been incredibly impressive these past two games, and the team as a whole is just oozing with potential. The one man that has truly stood above the rest for Detroit, though, is none other than D’Andre Swift.
Going into the season, people expected great things from Swift, considering the offensive line’s development, and especially after watching the HBO series “Hard Knocks”. With all this hype surrounding him, there was going to be a lot of pressure on the third year running back to shine. But even with all of that, no one could’ve expected the onslaught that he showcased in Week 1 against the Eagles. Despite touching the ball just 18 times, Swift amassed 175 scrimmage yards, which was the third most of ANY player across the NFL that week. It felt like he’d break off some big run every other snap. This was against a really solid Eagles front four, too. Against the Commanders, D’Andre broke off a massive 50 yard run on just his second carry of the game. Even with an ankle injury, Swift still looked more explosive than ever. After two weeks, the Lions have the third best run game in the NFL and Swift is fourth in the league in rushing yards despite getting just five carries against Washington. Heading into Week 3, D’Andre leads the entire NFL in yards per carry and has shown off unbelievable breakaway speed, incredible downfield vision, and quick decision making when it comes to which holes to take. What a hell of a way to start off your season.
D’Andre has had a phenomenal start, but is this sort of play sustainable? Well, while we shouldn’t expect him to lead the league in yards or become a true workhorse with 300 touches on the season, it seems quite likely that Swift will have his best year yet. The offensive line looks incredible, and they’ve been a key contributor to the run game’s overall success. The Lions’ passing offense looks to be just good enough to keep defenses on their toes, with weapons like St. Brown, Hockenson, and eventually Jameson Williams catching passes. Swift is an amazing running back, but he hasn’t yet reached the level where coaches have to gameplan around him to try and contain him. Now that he has one of the best offensive lines in the league to run behind, and a system that will see him as the focal point, 2022 looks to be the breakout year for D’Andre. If he gets a good chunk of touches and can stay healthy, then Swift could cement himself as an upper echelon RB as soon as this season. If you didn’t draft him in fantasy, it’s not too late to start sending in those trade requests.