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Dynasty Football: D’Andre Swift Enters a New Era

Okay, I get it. The NFL is an entertainment business and not an artistic foundation. Focus on the field will always be secondary to the raw number of eyeballs glued to the screen.

So for those of you who are already tired of the Swifties, I’ll try to keep my references to a bare minimum. Well, I can’t promise I’ll try, but I’ll try to try.

But it seems Taylor isn’t the only Swift we’ve grown tired of. Before last season, I was well off the wagon myself, even as one of Swift’s biggest fans when he made his debut.

While I have remaining concerns, the running back position is all about opportunity. When you’re watching a game, yes, you’re looking to see if your players scored. But you’re also watching game script.

Is the team leading? Then running backs should be able to get more touches as they burn the clock. Coming from behind? It’s a good time to have a deep threat active for the losing team.

With Vegas putting out their projected win totals, we have a good idea of which teams might be leading or trailing most of the time next year. Let’s take a look at 2024’s current strength of schedule and how that impacts running backs to target before their stocks go up.

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

3 Running Backs with Easy Schedules

D’Andre Swift, CHI

While Swift shook off my criticism that he couldn’t rumble between the tackles gaining over 1,000 yards on the ground, my main fear was substantiated. Working with Jalen Hurts sapped his receiving productivity.

In spite of playing 16 games, 3 games more than he ever has in a full season, Swift logged his lowest receiving total yet, managing only a meager 214 receiving yards.

On the bright side, this creates a buying opportunity. We know that the reason Swift was in trouble when he walked into Philadelphia was because running backs don’t do well with rushing quarterbacks. Their target shares typically go down as rushing QBs scramble for yardage rather than checking down.

With that in mind, the Chicago Bears seem locked into Caleb Williams. With only 136 yards on the ground last year (albeit with 11 rushing touchdowns), we shouldn’t expect running to be a big part of his game at the next level.

The Bears own the third easiest strength of schedule for 2024. While they’re projected to be terrible, D’Andre Swift managers aren’t unaware of that. As the 15th-ranked back on KeepTradeCut, behind the likes of James Cook and Rachaad White, I would pay up for what is likely to be a big season from Swift.

Alvin Kamara, NO

Once a darling of the dynasty community given his volume as a dual threat, Kamara has finally begun to descend into irrelevancy. Since Kamara was not able to calm down causing an incident at a Las Vegas nightclub, he was suspended for the first three games of the 2023 NFL season.

As a result, Kamara saw his worst production to date. He’s never been below 1,300 yards. Last year he dipped to around 1,150 yards. Couple that with only 9 touchdowns these past two years and Kamara has been disappointing.

But he’s still locked in as the Saints’ starting running back. His pace wasn’t bad considering he missed games due to suspension, and the Saints offense looks to be the same.

The touchdown total has to go up. But it’s not the most consistent year-to-year stat for running backs. There are a lot of factors in the small sample of carries that do go for touchdowns.

The Saints also own the 5th easiest strength of schedule for 2024. You should expect the opportunities to be there.

Kamara is entering his age 29 season, so there isn’t a lot of long-term value to gain. If you’re in a spot to win now, see if he can be had for pennies on the dollar from a manager who thinks he’s sunk.

Chase Brown / Zack Moss, CIN

We’re going to cheat a little here. I have no idea who the starting running back for the Bengals will be this year. What I do know, is the Bengals have the sixth easiest strength of schedule this year.

They also have a statue in Joe Burrow who will likely shy away from contact even more. So, much like Caleb Williams and Derek Carr not running is helpful for Swift and Kamara, we can expect the Bengals running backs to have their opportunities.

While Cincinnati is likely to draft a running back, the Bengals have a ton of needs. With free agent losses in D.J. Reader, DT, Jonah Williams, RT, and Chidobe Awuzie, CB, the Bengals might, wisely, wait on running back.

If they do, don’t expect magic from a late-round pick. Even the Bengals’ wildest dreams can’t imagine a Joe Mixon replacement walking through the door. This past year, no running backs from the fourth round or later made an impact.

Names like Zach Charbonnet, Kendre Miller, and Tank Bigsby came and went, while De’Von Achane made the biggest impact at just 800 yards.

Take the discount on the uncertainty facing Brown and Moss. Buy both if you have to. Locking down this backfield could be the cheapest way to add a RB1.

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