Detroit Lions: Does Jamaal Williams hurt D’Andre Swift’s fantasy value?

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions, Jamaal Williams
(Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin) /

Talent Level

D’Andre Swift

There is no question; the talent is there for D’Andre Swift. Some things I personally like about him are his athleticism, cutting ability, and speed. He is elusive and shifty with his footwork but still has solid power and acceleration, as witnessed throughout last season.

He uses that acceleration, speed, and cutting ability to burst through holes with great vision. Once he hits the open field, he’s tough to bring down, and if he does get outside, he can hit the after-burners. It’s a nice package to have in a capable, three-down NFL back.

In his rookie season, the young halfback had 114 carries totaling 521 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 46 receptions for 357-yards and two scores through the air. His yards-per-carry total was 4.6, and his yards-per-reception average came in at 7.8.

On 160 total touches in 2020, Swift averaged 5.5 yards-per-touch and ended the year with 878 yards from scrimmage. He also only played in 13 games while dealing with some injuries and concussion issues.

Swift’s overall PFF grade for 2020 would come in at just 69.4, but for a rookie season, it was predominately productive. With the Lions offensive line earning a rank of No. 13 overall, also by PFF, it is worth considering both have room for improvement.

Jamaal Williams

Shifting over to Williams, there is no doubt that considerable talent there as well. In my opinion, Williams is more of a power-runner who has great determination on and off the field. He has good cut-back ability, and due to his strength, he often is able to stiff-arm defenders or straight-up run through tackles. This is complimented well with great balance when shrugging off those defenders, which in turn helps him gain extra yardage.

Although playing a majority of his early career in a complementary role, he’s produced some respectable numbers throughout. Similar to Swift, Williams didn’t play a full season in 2020. Appearing in 14 games, Williams ran for 505-yards on 119 carries and caught 31 of 35 targets for 236-yards and three total touchdowns. He averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry and 7.6 yards-per-catch.

The overall grade for the Packers’ o-line came in at No. 2 in the NFL last year. A substantial improvement over the ranking of the Lions unit.

Williams, who will turn 26-years-old on April 3rd, became the first player in Green Bay history to finish the year with at least 450 yards rushing and at least 200 yards through the air in each of his first four NFL seasons.

He started 20 of the 60 total games he’s played in for the Packers, finishing with 1,985 total yards off of 500 career carries.

In terms of run style, both are unique in their own ways. When it comes to catching the ball, the advantage has to go to Swift — something we might not have envisioned saying at this time last year when approaching the NFL Draft. For pass blocking, however, I give the nod to Williams, who is a bit stronger and quite bigger at 6-feet tall versus Swift’s 5-foot-9 stature.