We were hoping to have at least a little clarity about the Detroit Lions’ backfield situation after the preseason wrapped up. And we might have an answer, just not the kind we thought we might get since D’Andre Swift is still dealing with a groin injury that’s been plaguing him off and on throughout training camp. The team is now worried he could miss the first week of the season.
Let’s back up a bit to March, when the Lions signed Jamaal Williams to a two-year, $7.5 million contract. In the early days of training camp, the team was talking about using Williams and Swift as a 1-2 punch. Swift would be seeing more work as a receiving threat out of the backfield, while Williams was the main guy punching it between the tackles.
But there was even some “hot hand” talk over the summer, anathema to fantasy football managers trying to settle on a player for their starting lineup. Still, it was Swift getting most of the fantasy attention.
Swift didn’t play at all in the preseason. Williams suited up for one game, carrying the ball nine times for 15 yards.
Assuming they’re both healthy, the Lions sound pretty committed to using both players. However, if Swift can’t stay healthy, Williams will have the backfield to himself most weeks.
Fantasy football implications
Swift definitely has the higher upside thanks to his work as a receiving threat out of the backfield. The Lions, already a favorite to be the worst team in the NFL this season, don’t figure to be running the ball much. He’s gotten a lot of hype, but it’s probably best to back off that since he’s already dealing with injuries and the Lions sound pretty committed to a time share. Williams is now looking like a decent late-round pick.