Player Face Off: J.K. Dobbins vs. D'Andre Swift

This offseason, the guys wanna bring you the most useful content to help you during your draft. The goal is a fantasy championship but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun along the way. In our Player Face Off series we will debate the merits of two players that are similar in ADP at the time or are likely to be two players you choose between in your drafts this fall. We will flip a coin for the rights to that player and then build our case below. At the end we will give our final takes which are not limited to the player we initially got assigned. For even more fun head on over to YouTube and watch us debate these players right on the show.

Big Travy’s Case for J.K. Dobbins

These two athletes are very similar in my humble opinion. Both are very talented rookie backs heading to offenses with what appears to stiff competition ahead of them on the depth chart. The major difference I see for J.K. Dobbins, however, is that the Ravens are a much more trustworthy offense to invest in for fantasy football purposes. Fantasy football aside, Dobbins is a specimen to behold physically and played like it at Ohio State. When watching his tape it was as if every play he ran he took to the house. Obviously that is not the case but he did put up 23 reps on the bench press at the combine. The Ravens drafted this guy for a purpose: to hammer down opposing defenses. Last year, Baltimore ran the ball on 50.8% of their plays and with Lamar Jackson on your squad I can’t imagine that number being drastically different.

So the team’s a great fit? We know that. There is one rather productive, former heisman trophy winning, and pro-bowl sized problem ahead of Dobbins though: Mark Ingram. Ingram was the RB8 in standard scoring leagues last season behind that Baltimore offensive line and that includes only playing in 14 games and some change (Ingram was injured during his 15th game). Ingram’s 10 touchdowns last year are a tasty prospect when trying to project any potential success for Dobbins but if Ingram bounces back from this injury to repeat the success of last season Dobbins’ time will have to wait. Other than the injury, Dobbins has another card to play in his hand against Ingram this year, the age card. For running backs we have seen consistently that the “death” year or year in which the most significant drop off can occur tends to be around that magic age of 30. Mark Ingram turned 30 last December. Clearly the Ravens are seeing the same thing as I am, given the investment they made in Dobbins this offseason leading me to believe he could be worth the investment in your draft this fall.

Johnny “Game Time” Hicks’ Case for D’Andre Swift

Coming into the draft, D’Andre Swift was considered to be one of the top two prospects, if not #1, just behind Jonathon Taylor. The main reason: D’Andre Swift possesses the ability to truly be a workhorse 3 down back. In his 3 years at Georgia University - aka Running Back U - D’Andre Swift ran the ball over 400 times and still averaged 6.2 ypc. He’s had back to back 1,000 yard seasons, including last year where he rushed for 1218 yards. What truly sets Swift apart from his counterparts in this draft, was his ability to catch out of the backfield. He had over 70 receptions in college, for a little over 650 receiving yards. He’s proven that he can be a very efficient pass catcher, which in today's NFL is very valuable. Oh yeah, and did I mention that he did all of that while backing up Sony Michel and Nick Chubb…

The hype was real, the hopes were high, and then the draft happened. D’Andre Swift was taken by the Detroit Lions with the 35th pick in the NFL. Not Tampa Bay. Not Kansas City. Not the LA Rams. The Detroit Lions, who haven’t had a 1000 yard rusher since Reggie Bush had 1,006 back in 2013. The Lions also drafted a running back just two years ago in Kerryon Johnson. So because of these reasons, the fantasy community seems to be way down on D’Andre Swift. You however, can take advantage of others sleeping on Swift. This situation has Miles Sanders 2.0 written all over it. Sure Kerryon is still there, but he is often injured and is not even close to the same skill level as D’Andre Swift. Swift is a better runner, passer and maybe not better pass blocker from day 1, but I have no doubt he will be able to get better at that over time. Last point and probably the most important in my opinion. Darrell Bevall is the Lions offensive coordinator. He has a pretty significant coaching history of feeding the running back in his offenses. Marshawn Lynch and Chris Carson are two examples of the running backs that Bevall has coached before. that come to mind. More often than not it’s with a workhorse type of running back. Seems to me that the Detroit Lions really liked what they saw in D’Andre Swift and think that he can be the guy for their system. D’Andre Swift might not start the season as the bell cow running back for the Detroit Lions, but I believe he will finish the season as one.

Big Travy’s Final Word

I hope you won't take me for some sort of D’Andre Swift “hater.” Swift was either the first or second best prospect in this year’s draft class, talent-wise, in my opinion. I think the real reason I am ready to give the nod to Dobbins as I outlined above, is simply that the fit and path to production seems easier and more profitable in the case of the Baltimore Ravens. Swift should have a very exciting career in the NFL as will Dobbins but I think Dobbins gives fantasy GMs the best return on investment in 2020 and is most likely quicker to the mark.

Johnny “Game Time” Hicks’ Final Word

Before the NFL Draft took place, it wasn’t close for me as to whom I had ranked higher between J.K. Dobbins and D’Andre Swift. However, after the draft and seeing where players landed, I would not fault anyone at all for wanting to take Dobbins over Swift. Dobbins paired with Lamar Jackson in a heavy running scheme, where Dobbins will be able to flash his home run ability, makes Dobbins ceiling the #1 overall running back in the future. Fantasy owners will have to wait a while for any major production this year due to Mark Ingram still being heavily involved. On the other hand, I believe Swift might not have the #1 overall running back ceiling, but he should come in and make an impact right away for your fantasy team. I also believe that he could be a Top 10 running back for fantasy for many years to come, due to his receiving ability.