The Lions currently have a three headed backfield which will lead to some difficult decisions for many fantasy owners. Rookie D’Andre Swift received a lot of preseason hype as Kerryon Johnson was coming off of an injury suffered last season. Expectations were for a two way time share that would eventually give way to Swift taking control. Things became much more complicated when Detroit brought in the ageless Adrian Peterson late in the preseason. After a small sample in Week 1, how should we utilize these backs in lineups moving forward? We break down the fantasy implications below.
Fantasy Football analysis: Lions RBs Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift
Kerryon Johnson owned the backfield in Detroit in 2019, but suffered a torn meniscus mid-season. Heading into this season it was widely expected that D’Andre Swift would cut into his workload. However, nobody saw the curveball of Adrian Peterson entering the picture. Kerryon Johnson received the least amount of work of all running backs in Week 1, as he carried seven times for 14 yards, producing only 1.4 fantasy points in ESPN PPR leagues. Things are not off to a good start for Johnson, and he is best left on your bench until he sees signs of a larger workload and opportunity for increased production.
D’Andre Swift had a decent debut in fantasy terms as he finished the game with 11.3 points in ESPN PPR leagues, though this number alone may be deceiving. Swift only earned six touches in the game, as he had three receptions for 15 yards and three carries for eight yards and a touchdown. His fantasy day was ultimately saved by the touchdown on one of his three carries. Swift provides upside on a weekly basis, particularly in PPR formats, due to his pass catching ability, yet he remains a risky play at this point given the uncertainties of the Detroit timeshare.
Adrian Peterson turned out to be the dark horse in Detroit on Saturday, as he carried 14 times for 93 yards, while tacking on three receptions to total 14.4 fantasy points in ESPN PPR leagues. Peterson has proven time and time again that he’s still got it. In all likelihood, the Lions will give more work to their young draft pick as the season continues and D’Andre Swift will lead the pack eventually. In the meantime, they seem to trust Peterson and his wealth of experience as their lead back and he will be an asset to most line-ups for the time being.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Sit Kerryon Johnson in all formats.
Start D’Andre Swift as a flex in all formats.
Start Adrian Peterson as a flex with RB2 upside in all formats.