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D'Andre Swift

Who will be right on erratic back this year?

D'Andre Swift is an interesting (frustrating) fantasy back. If you think you're right or wrong on him, just wait a week or two, and it will probably go the other way. I'm pretty sure I will not be rostering him in any fantasy leagues this year.

Some will recall last preseason when some were very high on Swift with the Eagles, and we were favoring Kenneth Gainwell. For one week, when Gainwell started in the win over New England and Swift barely got on the field, we were right. Then Gainwell got hurt, and Swift blew up for 305 rushing yards the next two weeks; we looked bad. But barely had the victory laps commenced before Swift proceeded to labor through a 10-game stretch where he averaged just 64 total yards and scored 3 TDs.

So I'm not sure anyone was right on Swift last year. (Nor was anyone right on Gainwell.) He helped lineups a few weeks, but hurt them far more often. That Tush Push play certainly killed his value (and it's part of the reason why I'm content letting others select Saquon Barkley early in drafts), and the Eagles kind of soured on him. The Bears are paying him like a starter (3 years, $24 million), so he'll probably get first crack at leading that backfield. Some will doubtless take the plunge.

But is he much better than either Khalil Herbert or Roschon Johnson? I'm not sure, and I haven't seen enough good to spend a draft pick on it.

One area where he seems to be lacking is in the passing game. This despite Matt Eberflus describing him as a "weapon back", saying, "Obviously as you guys know he's really quick, he's a weapon out of the backfield, which is outstanding for our passing game and it's going to create some mismatches for us. We can split him out wide and run the full route tree, so he's exciting to watch."

But based on the past three seasons, Swift has been below-average in terms of actually turning the passes thrown his way into receptions. He's caught just 75 percent of the passes thrown his way, which is in the bottom 10 among the 33 running backs to see at least 100 targets the past three years. That doesn't make him a terrible receiver, some of that metric can be placed at the feet of the quarterback. But I don't think it's a given he's a great receiver, and the fact that both Detroit and Philadelphia have shipped him out the last two offseasons doesn't say great things about his odds of success working with a rookie quarterback.

Rachaad White89.11281148395
Leonard Fournette85.01671429775
James Conner84.61301108406
Samaje Perine83.31381159385
Jaylen Warren83.2107895840
Joe Mixon82.418715411318
Christian McCaffrey81.5232189164813
Antonio Gibson80.516913610367
David Montgomery80.0115927341
Javonte Williams79.71331066205
Tony Pollard79.216813310193
Josh Jacobs79.118214410440
Travis Etienne78.8118937921
Aaron Jones78.3180141101912
AJ Dillon77.8108847422
Alvin Kamara77.823017913958
Najee Harris77.81851448666
Austin Ekeler77.3295228180514
Devin Singletary77.11401087012
Rhamondre Stevenson77.11571217821
Jerick McKinnon76.41239481114
Jonathan Taylor76.3114876563
Alexander Mattison76.2101775115
D'Andre Swift75.619714910556
Breece Hall75.4126958095
Ameer Abdullah75.2109826312
Ezekiel Elliott75.21531156924
Kenneth Gainwell74.1116866051
Cordarrelle Patterson73.2112827086
Miles Sanders72.3101733900
Michael Carter72.11401017141
Saquon Barkley72.01931398816
Dalvin Cook70.4125885972

Table compiled using search tools at Interestingly, Swift's replacement in Philadelphia, Barkley, grades out even worse in this regard. (So does his predecessor, Miles Sanders.) Barkley wasn't working with great quarterbacking in New York, of course. But I've mentioned that I'm out on Barkley, too, and I think it's fair to wonder how that marriage is going to work out.

Back to Swift. I think it will be interesting to see how things work out for him in Chicago. Neither Herbert nor Johnson saw enough targets to make this table, but their last year rates suggest that Johnson might prove to be the most effective in this backfield. Herbert caught just 20 of 31 passes thrown his way (64.5 percent), but Johnson was very effective, corralling 34 of 40 (85 percent, which would show up right near the top of the table).

In general, I'm more interested in spending a very late pick on Johnson than an early or mid-round pick on Swift.

--Andy Richardson

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