NFL free agency is not exactly over, but it has definitely slowed down. Most of the major players have found their homes and, especially at running back, if you don't have a job now, you may not have a starting job this season. Miles Sanders was the highest-profile winner, signing with the Carolina Panthers on the biggest running back deal of free agency. Sanders currently only has Chuba Hubbard to share with and his contract makes it pretty clear he will be the starter there (barring injury) for the next two seasons. The second biggest deal went to David Montgomery, which was great for him, but pretty awful for D'Andre Swift.
Swift and Javonte Williams walked out of March as two of the losers in terms of Dynasty value. We discussed Sanders, Swift, Williams, and much more in the premier of Fantasy Football Today Dynasty. Check it out:
As you can see in the far left column below, both Swift and Williams ranked inside my top four at running back just one year ago. Now, it's easy to wonder whether either will ever be a feature back in the NFL. In Swift's case, that's because of the Montgomery signing and the way he was used by this coaching staff in 2022. For Williams, it's less about the Broncos' addition of Samaje Perine and more about the major knee injury he suffered last year. Williams faces an uncertain 2023 at the very least due to the multiple ligaments involved in the injury. The expectation should probably be something like J.K. Dobbins' 2022 season, and that might be optimistic.
The other thing Swift and Williams share is that they have never proven they can handle a workhorse role. Swift saw a career-high 213 touches (13 games) in his second year in the NFL and never had more than 220 touches in a season at Georgia. Williams had 246 touches (17 games) in his rookie season with the Broncos, which was 63 more touches than he ever saw in three seasons at North Carolina. With their injury histories it is fair to wonder if they will ever see more than 250 touches in an NFL season. While the NFL as a whole is trending in that direction, it is still very tough to be a top-five Fantasy running back in a given season with that type of workload.
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I still believe in the talent for both backs, which is why Williams is still in my top 10 and Swift is hanging on to the top 20. The arrival of Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs in the next month is very likely to change that, but that does not change the fact that even as fallers both Williams and Swift could be buys if their Fantasy manager is truly panicking. Williams is a trickier buy, because rebuilders should not be targeting running backs and contenders cannot count on him in 2023, but I would be pretty happy to trade a late 2023 first for either.
Here are my updated Dynasty running back rankings: