If he can stay healthy, Detroit Lions Running Back D’Andre Swift has elite RB1 upside in (Points Per Reception) PPR Fantasy Football leagues in 2022.
In the 2021 NFL season, Swift handled 67 percent of his teams snaps, averaged 11.6 carries and six targets per game, had 617 rushing yards paired with 452 receiving yards, scored 7 touchdowns, ultimately finishing with 16.1 fantasy points per game. This ranked Swift eighth out of all running backs in Fantasy Football. Additionally, Swift had an 18.4 percent target share, ranking him second amongst all running backs in the NFL. Finally, Swift was fifth in routes run and second in route participation out of all running backs in the NFL.
The concerns surrounding Swift stem not from his abilities as a player, but instead from the possibility he will see a reduced role in Detroit’s offense in 2022. Between the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown, TJ Hockenson, the newly signed DJ Chark, and first round draft pick Jameson Williams, Detroit’s offense has many more mouths to feed than it did just one year ago. While worrying that Swift’s target share will decrease is valid, Lions Quarterback Jared Goff has always targeted running backs at a high rate.
In 2021, Goff targeted running backs at the third highest rate in the NFL (24.8 percent), which is great for Swift. As Swift played only 13 games and 78 target, if he can stay healthy, it’s not unrealistic to expect Swift to rack up 85-90 targets.
There is no other running back at Swift’s ADP that can expect this many targets, with the additional 11-12 carries per game.
My final case for Swift is an improved offense, but more specifically, an improved offensive line. The promising Detroit offensive line was plagued by injuries in 2021. Longtime Right Tackle Taylor Decker missed the first eight games with a finger injury, and arguably the best Center in football, Frank Ragnow, suffered a season ending injury in Week 4. As a whole, this Detroit offensive line should be much improved from what we saw in 2021, paving the way for a successful season for D’Andre Swift.
Between the immense pass catching ceiling, and elite offensive line, and a Quarterback who specializes in check downs to running backs, it is not hard to envision D’Andre Swift finishing as a top-3 running back at the conclusion of the 2022 NFL season.