Should You Start D’Andre Swift vs. the Bills? Fantasy Outlook for Lions Running Back

Should fantasy managers start Lions running back D'Andre Swift against the Bills in Week 12 on Thanksgiving Day? Here's our recommended play.

The Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills have the early kickoff slot in Week 12’s Thanksgiving Day slate. Fantasy football managers have tough decisions now that we’re down to the final weeks of the regular season. It’s fantasy playoffs or bust!

One playmaker in the spotlight to produce is Lions running back D’Andre Swift. We’re on top of all angles in this matchup for fantasy managers and bettors alike — let’s dive into whether you should start Swift against the Bills.

Should You Start D’Andre Swift vs. the Bills?

Unfortunately, Swift’s season has not played out as any fantasy manager would’ve hoped.

We knew that he’d be a risk because of his injury history. We didn’t know he would explode with 144 yards in his first game of the season and then not produce more than 56 yards rushing through Week 11. It’s not that Swift has been bad, but between the injuries and Jamaal Williams’ emergence as the best red-zone back in the NFL, Swift’s value has dipped tremendously.

It’s impressive he’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry — and it’s a nice bonus that he’s totaled 162 receiving yards and two touchdowns in addition to his ground contributions. However, he has had almost no upside since Week 2 for fantasy managers.

Over the last four games, Swift has totaled 18 carries for 42 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He’s actually been more effective catching the ball for fantasy managers. In that same span, Swift has 12 receptions for 85 yards in one touchdown.

MORE: Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer Week 12

The problem isn’t that Swift isn’t effective, it’s that he’s only played more than 31% of snaps once over the last month. Williams has simply taken all of the value we thought Swift would bring in 2022. We have no reason to think this will change, and now we are counting on Swift to be more of a receiving threat and hopefully score a touchdown to make him fantasy-relevant.

His matchup against the Bills is difficult but not impossible. The Bills have allowed only 83.9 rushing yards. However, they surrender 4.6 receptions for 32 yards and 0.9 touchdowns to running backs per game. They’re good but not elite at slowing the position in terms of yards but not volume or scoring.

Though the Lions’ season is all but over, your fantasy season is never over at Underdog Fantasy. Take part in one of their Best Ball leagues and throw Swift into your lineup to help separate yourself from the pack! I’m surprised Swift doesn’t have a pick ’em line offered at the time of writing this, but instead, Underdog has Williams featured with a 56.5 rushing yard barometer.

Swift is currently ranked at RB27 in our Week 12 PPR fantasy football rankings. That would make him a lower-end RB2 option (or Flex consideration). I think this is spot on with how we should be valuing Swift. He’s someone you should start if you have a barren list of backups who offer little or no scoring upside in Week 12.

Using Swift’s recent run and Underdog’s expectations for Williams’ production, I think Swift’s greatest contribution on Thanksgiving will come as a receiver. He’s a threat to put up five or more catches, especially if the Lions trail throughout the game. He can reach the end zone, but don’t count on him rivaling RB1 status anytime soon.

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