In the last piece I wrote about how I saw value in Ceedee Lamb to lead the NFL in receiving yards. As I continued to investigate player prop futures, I found myself digging into the running back position. As is always the case there are a few typical heavy favorites (i.e., Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb) that do not warrant the wager strictly based on value, in my opinion. Do not get me wrong, these guys are the cream of the crop and can be argued that they are the best running backs in the league. I personally tend to look for the longer shots that are being under valued and will bring back more for your buck.
The running back that caught my eye as being extremely under valued in terms of leading the NFL in total rushing yards is D’Andre Swift.
Current odds: 50/1 @ Caesars (0.5 units)
Rational for backing this future comes down to a multitude of reasons.
Aside from the fact that he is a clear-cut elite talent I think the time for him is now. The Detroit Lions offense is built to run the ball and they have one of the best offensive line units in the entire NFL. Recognizing that their quarterback play is below league average and that their wide receiving core could use some help (even with the additions of Jameson Williams and DJ Chark) their best chance of winning ball games is to control the clock and run the ball. As much as I like Jamaal Williams as a complimentary, bruiser type back, the fact that Swift is a much better pass catcher plays to his advantage greatly. Yes, there are some injury concerns with Swift, but I’ll look at it optimistically and say his limited carries in year one (114 carries) and year two (151 carries) will turn into a positive because it’s less wear and tear.
Another factor, I think their defense took a step in the right direction with the drafting of Aiden Hutchinson and Josh Paschal, signing of Mike Hughes, and bringing back Jarrad Davis (I’m higher on him than most). With some improved defensive parts, it should help them stay in more games and allow them to commit to the run longer. Lastly, per a few different sources including PFF and USA Today’s “Touchdown Wire”, the Lions have the fifth easiest strength of schedule. The Lions only play seven games this year against teams who had winning records last year, and two of those games are against the Packers. And I know it is only six games, but in my opinion each of the other teams in the NFC North have taken a step back. When looking at that angle, I think it will contribute mightily to the games being more competitive and allowing for more opportunities to run the ball.
So, assuming no injury setbacks and good health, D’Andre Swift in my opinion is in line for a monster year.