Swift should be one of the most popular breakout picks of 2021 and a solid selection in the second round in any format. The 22-year-old should benefit greatly from Anthony Lynn's system, which has consistently been amongst the league leaders in targets to running backs. Last year Swift averaged more than four targets per game and his 6.3 yards per target were above average for any back, much less a rookie. In 2021 he has legitimate 80-catch upside and should see more work on the ground as well. Swift saw 15 touches in five games last year and averaged 20.8 PPR Fantasy points in those five games; that production would have made him the No. 4 back in Fantasy in 2020. In Dynasty, Swift is a top-five back worth a pick at the end of Round 1 in a startup.
Assistant head coach Duce Staley made it sound like Swift's role could significantly grow in 2021, suggesting that the "star" and "three-down back" could have 25 touches per game, Benjamin Raven of MLive.com reports. Staley's comments are clearly an exaggeration considering no running back reached 25 touches per game in 2020. The only one who came close to reaching that feat, Derrick Henry, wasn't sharing time with another running back like Swift probably will be with Jamaal Williams, who was guaranteed over $3 million by Detroit in free agency this spring. However, given how many high-value touches Swift is expected to see in the passing game and around the goal line this year, the second-year pro probably won't need to see Henry-level usage to pay off his rising third-round ADP. After all, someone like Alvin Kamara -- who Swift is regularly compared to -- became a fantasy stalwart without ever topping 18.4 touches per game in any one season.
Swift is expected to share a large portion of the workload with recent signee Jamaal Williams according to offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, Chris Burke of The Athletic reports. The Lions emphasized adding depth at running back this offseason, signing Williams via free agency and drafting Jermar Jefferson in the seventh round. At least in the case of the former, Lynn seemed to suggest Williams could even work in tandem with Swift, saying, "I don't see them as being interchangeable, I see them more as being complementary. Swift is more of a speed-space back; Jamaal can be more of a between-the-tackles and sometimes perimeter." Adrian Peterson, who was not re-signed in the offseason, nearly doubled Swift's red-zone carries last year, so it's possible Williams could immediately fill that void. That being said, Swift never really saw consistent playing time with the Packers until Week 6 of last year and also missed three games due to injuries later in the season, so a bump in playing time is almost guaranteed. How Lynn's comments impact the backfield opportunities remains to be seen, but it's at least worth noting, given Swift's rightfully high fantasy outlook entering the 2021-2022 campaign.
Despite referring to Swift as a three-down back, Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said Wednesday that he wants to find "someone else to go with him," Chris Burke of The Athletic reports. A 2020 second-round pick, Swift showcased three-down ability as a rookie, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 6.3 yards per target while scoring 10 touchdowns on 160 touches. He should be locked in as Detroit's lead back under a new coaching staff, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll elevate to a 20-touch-per-week, RB1-type workload. While he was head coach for the Chargers, Lynn typically split snaps and touches between two or three backs, with his teams regularly ranked near the top of the league in percentage of targets (and fantasy points) going to running backs. Granted, Lynn's teams sometimes had both Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler available out of the backfield, while Detroit's options behind Swift appear questionable. Lynn's comments suggest he isn't too excited about Adrian Peterson (an impending free agent) or Kerryon Johnson, who has one year left on his rookie contract.
Swift rushed 12 times for 54 yards and one touchdown while securing three of three targets for 16 yards during Sunday's 37-35 loss to Minnesota. While he ceded a good chunk of the work in the ground game to Adrian Peterson, Swift again drew the start and ultimately paced the backfield in touches for the eighth time in his last eight games. After starting the season slowly as a depth option behind Peterson, the rookie will finish the campaign with 878 total yards and 10 scores, averaging nearly 80 total yards and a score in his eight starts as one of the few bright spots in Detroit's 5-11 2020 campaign. With Peterson no longer under contract beyond this season, the future is especially bright for Swift.
Swift rushed 10 times for 45 yards and lost a fumble in Saturday's 47-7 loss to the Buccaneers. He added four catches on five targets for 25 yards. Swift didn't have a chance to get going in this one, as Detroit lost starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to an ankle injury on its first drive and was buried in a 34-0 hole by halftime. On the bright side, Swift still led the team in rushing yards and finished second to Danny Amendola in receiving yards. The rookie should find more running room in Week 17 against the Vikings, who just gave up six touchdowns to Saints running back Alvin Kamara.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/12||San Francisco 49ers||7||14.75|
|2||09/20||@Green Bay Packers||27||20.33|
|7||10/24||@Los Angeles Rams||6||14.56|
|18||01/09||Green Bay Packers||27||20.33|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||114||521||8||46||357||2||143|