D'Andre Swift's Fantasy Outlook After Detroit Lions Select RB in 2020 NFL Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Running back D'Andre Swift of Georgia runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Now that he's officially a member of the Detroit Lions, plenty of fantasy football owners are already plotting a move for Georgia running back D'Andre Swift

Many considered the 21-year-old the best player at his position in the 2020 NFL draft class. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked him 15th overall and first among running backs.

The Bulldogs star didn't post gaudy numbers during his three years in Athens. He ran for 2,885 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground while catching 73 passes for 666 yards and five scores.

Swift's production would have been higher had he not shared a backfield with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb as a true freshman and then Elijah Holyfield in 2018.

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compared Swift to five-time Pro Bowler Frank Gore:

"Swift possesses the play traits and running style of a skillful NFL veteran and is the latest in an avalanche of talented Georgia backs. Tempo and decisiveness are his calling cards, making him a highly talented inside/outside zone runner. He's a cerebral runner who understands block timing and uses quick-cut agility and rare spatial awareness to read and react to defenses beyond the second level."

Josh Jacobs eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie in 2019, while Miles Sanders amassed 1,327 yards from scrimmage. Both players were firmly in RB2 territory by the end of the year.

Swift has the potential to enter the same category right out of the gate, and his ceiling will hinge largely on his receiving numbers.

Sanders never had more than 139 receiving yards in any of his three years at Penn State before catching 50 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns in his debut campaign with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Georgia offense hasn't exactly thought outside the box in recent years, so perhaps Swift's solid pass-catching stats still don't reflect his true worth in that regard.

Even assuming his role in Detroit's passing game is somewhat limited, he should be penciled in as an RB2/flex option in standard fantasy drafts.

Swift should share backfield duties with Kerryon Johnson, who rushed for 5.4 yards per carry during his freshman year but saw that figure drop to 3.6 last season.

Injuries have limited Johnson to 18 games over the past two years. He suffered a left knee injury that put him on the injured reserve list in October.

Johnson is productive when healthy, so it's unlikely that either he or the talented Swift dominate backfield carries.

That limits Swift's upside somewhat, but his stellar Georgia career brings hope that he could be a solid fantasy asset this season. Consider him in the later rounds to complete your running back depth.


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