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Lions running backs

Swift to practice, but...

D'Andre Swift has missed the last two games with shoulder and ankle injuries; factoring in the team's bye, he's been sidelined nearly a month. Head Coach Dan Campbell says Swift will return to practice today, but it doesn't sound like he's 100 percent.

Campbell calls Swift "a little bit better," indicating the running back will be limited in his return to practice. That makes it sound far from certain that Smith will play in Week 7, and if he does, it's reasonable to expect less than a full workload. We'll know more by Friday, but if you have Jamaal Williams, it looks like there's a good chance you'll be able to use him with him getting at least half the snaps at Dallas, and maybe more than that.

The Cowboys have one of the league's best defenses, but it's not impenetrable. Opposing running backs have managed some production in most games.

Here's how those players have fared the first six weeks -- four featured runners, and two committees on lesser ground games. The one that really struggled (Rams) has struggled in most games; the Lions run the ball much, much better than they do, with or without Swift. And the better backs have been fine.

Running BacksRunNoRecTotTD
Fournette, T.B.1272101370
Mixon, Cin.57326830
Barkley, NYG814451261
Gibson/Williams/McKissic, Was.1376301670
Akers/Henderson, LAR33430630
Sanders, Phil.7111721

Ideally, you'd have a fully healthy Swift, or -- if you have Williams on your roster -- Swift would be held out for one more week. But if they're both playing, total production should be good enough that they can be used with some hope of good all-around production. It's a week to be more worried about the passing game, with Dallas ranked 6th against the pass (compared to 19th against the run).

--Andy Richardson

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