The 2020 fantasy season is officially behind us, and the dynasty community now turns its gaze to the upcoming rookie class, the NFL combine, and the 2021 NFL Draft. During this period, many things can and do happen. The NFL playoffs provide opportunities for player values to rise and fall, and the pending rookie fever, which before was merely a dull roar in the ears of many, will grow to a thundering crescendo. When this happens, the value for rookie picks and their corresponding players will be at an all-time high. That also means many dynasty managers’ attention shifts away, if ever so briefly, from the current crop of players. Savvy managers should use this time to capitalize on a perceived dip in value and add running back D’Andre Swift to their roster.
Rookie Year Review
The latest talented running back to come out of Georgia, Swift enjoyed a successful three-year career with the Bulldogs. He finished his college stint with a career rushing average of more than six and a half yards/carry and topped 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground in each of his last two seasons. However, what made him the devy darling for so many years wasn’t just his involvement in the passing game but how smooth and efficient he looked while doing it.
The top running backs in Swift’s class all carried their own hype and upside once they were drafted. Clyde Edwards-Helaire got first-round draft capital and secured a spot on with the defending Super Bowl Champions. Jonathan Taylor landed in an ideal situation and, aided by a season-ending injury to Marlon Mack, looks like an elite option moving forward. Even J.K. Dobbins landed on a great offense and has been hyper-efficient in recent weeks and is a player I recently tabbed as a sell despite his post-season hype. Toss in Antonio Gibson and Cam Akers and their respective successes, and it’s easy to see how Swift quickly became one of the forgotten names from the top of his class. He dealt with injuries, and the Detroit Lions didn’t make the playoffs all, which resulted in a lower perceived value over the second half of the season.
Still, in his 13 active games, he topped double-digit fantasy points on 11 occasions. That consistent, predictable floor is courtesy of his involvement in the receiving game and makes him less likely to be game script dependent. The Lions have struggled to win in recent years consistently, so the thought of Swift garnering even more targets is appealing for fantasy managers. Swift posted decent target share numbers as a rookie, which could signify how the Lions will deploy him next season should the team undergo an offensive transformation this offseason.