D'Andre Swift Won't Fly Too High in Fantasy Football in Philadelphia in 2023

Jun 21, 2023
D'Andre Swift Won't Fly Too High in in Philadelphia

When an exciting running back lands on a team that is one of the premier rushing attacks in the league, fantasy managers are justified in getting excited about the season ahead. D'Andre Swift is now a Philadelphia Eagle after three seasons with the Detroit Lions, and his skillset seems to be an intriguing addition to a diverse running back room. But does this mean we should rush to draft Swift in fantasy football in 2023? Not so fast...or not so Swift.

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The D'Andre Swift Story So Far

The Lions drafted Swift in 2020, and he has 40 games under his belt since. He has missed 10 games due to injury and has never played in every game in a season. He rushed 364 times for 1,680 yards with 18 touchdowns, adding another 1,198 yards and seven scores on 156 grabs. Does this tell the tale of a workhorse back? Swift's 2022 season underlines this point almost perfectly.

Last season, Swift averaged 7.1 rushing attempts per game, averaging under 40 rushing yards per contest. Jamaal Williams, Swift's stablemate in Detroit in 2022, saw 15.4 rushes per game and posted 62.7 rushing yards. For further comparison, 59 running backs averaged more attempts per game, and 50 posted more rushing yards.

Swift did see a decent workload as a pass-catcher, though. He finished ninth among all running backs with 70 targets. Only nine backs saw more targets per game than Swift's five, and his 15% target share was eighth among all backs. But Swift didn't really make the most of his opportunities, with a yards-per-route run mark of 1.67 only good for RB25.

The numbers might suggest that the Lions had limited interest in getting Swift the ball, with 12.1 opportunities per game seeing him rank 46th among all running backs. But, interestingly, they did seem to trust him in important situations. Swift commanded 60 high-value touches (HVT) last season, with an average of 4.3 per game (No. 11).

New Team, New Start

On paper, the Eagles seem to be an ideal landing spot for any running back in 2023. The Eagles were fourth in rushing yards per game last season and led the league in rush EPA per play. They have a dominant offensive line, anchored by future Hall of Famers Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. They also have the fifth most vacated carries (259) and running back touches (279) from a year ago. This seems perfect for Swift, right? Right?


The Eagles do not seem interested in turning over their backfield to just one player. Even Miles Sanders, who posted career numbers in 2022, saw less than a full workload. Sanders played 55.7% of the offensive snaps, while his 13.7 rush attempts per game were good for just a 43.9% share. The Eagles worked in all of their backs, with Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell all seeing touches and opportunities. One area that Swift could conceivably force a role for himself would be as a pass-catcher, something he has shown he can do in the NFL. But it would require a change in strategy from the Eagles for Swift to excel in this area. Last season, Jalen Hurts targeted running backs on just 11.5% of his attempts, ranking 29th among 30 quarterbacks with at least 300 dropbacks.

Hurts is another potential fly in the ointment because of his rushing ability. He averaged 9.8 carries per game last season while trailing Sanders 43-50 in red zone carries. Swift was never really trusted with much rushing work inside the scoring area, with just 25 carries inside the 20 and 12 inside the 10-yard lines last year. So it seems unlikely that the Eagles would suddenly decide he was the right man for that particular job, especially given how effective Hurts is as a runner in that part of the field.

The Eagles have also added Rashaad Penny in free agency, and while his injury history suggests he could miss time should he make the roster, he is another mouth to feed in an offense that might have to scale back on its rushing attempts in 2023. The Eagles face a much more daunting schedule this year than last, and their ability to salt away games on the ground might be limited. Potentially this could open up more opportunities for Swift to catch passes, but if the Eagles are trailing, I think they'd prefer to utilize the likes of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert than Swift.

D'Andre Swift's 2023 Fantasy Football Outlook

Swift is currently being taken as the RB23 on Underdog. This isn't too far away from 4for4 rankings, where we have Swift sitting at RB26. Assuming he makes the Eagles roster, which given his salary (Swift has the highest cap charge of any running back on the roster according to Over The Cap) seems fairly likely, I do not doubt that he will feature in the rotation in the Eagles backfield. But if you expect him to cement a role and become a highly productive and/or efficient fantasy producer, I think you'll be disappointed. His big-play threat means he could have weeks where he goes off, but they will be hard if not impossible to predict. He profiles as a classic "I prefer him in best-ball".

The Bottom Line

  • Swift comes to the Eagles with a profile of a back that has not been able to establish himself as a workhorse but offers some chops as a receiver.
  • The Eagles are a good rushing team with plenty of opportunities available. However, they do not seem to set to offer up one back above all others, and this plus the skillset of their quarterback make Swift establishing dominance in the backfield a long shot.
  • Swift be able to produce some fantasy production given the fertile environment, but not consistently enough to make him more than a boom-or-bust RB2 at best.
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