Zack Moss and D’Andre Swift are rookie running backs looking to compete for playing time with veterans on their respective teams. Swift went first, as a second round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Moss went a round later in the third. Now in fantasy football drafts, Moss is also being rated a lot lower. However, looking at their situations, Moss is the back to draft over Swift.
Fantasy Football: Draft Zack Moss Over D’Andre Swift
College Tape Review
In terms of pure college tape, both backs look great. However, Swift gains the edge, looking fast, shifty, and explosive for Georgia. Once he hits the hole, he often left defenders in the dust. His best two years in college saw him total over 1,000 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving each of those years. Swift also racked up 20 touchdowns during that same span.
Moss is definitely a power back. Rather than trying to juke out defenders, he went after them head-on, trucking the poor defenders in his path. He also displayed great balance to stay on his feet, and better hands than many would expect for a guy his size. Moss played all four years of college but saw only a small role as a Freshman.
Moss has better stats on paper though. His best season he had over 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. He added another 388 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Moss probably would have gone a lot higher in drafts had it not been for his terrible 40-yard dash time. It was 4.65 seconds. Compare that to Swift, who ran it in 4.48 seconds.
Why Fade D’Andre Swift
Interestingly enough, both runners were drafted to teams that already have young running backs. The Detroit Lions took Kerryon Johnson in the second round of the 2018 draft, just two years ago. Johnson has looked good in his time in the NFL, breaking a terrible streak for the Lions of 70 regular-season games without a 100-yard rusher. But Johnson’s biggest issue has been his health. He has missed 14 of his 32 NFL games.
For this reason, many expect Swift to come in and immediately steal the starting job when Johnson goes down. But Johnson will have every opportunity to keep the job, and may not give it up. Johnson plans to play this season with a knee brace, in the hopes that it will help keep his injured knees healthy.
And speaking of injuries, Swift is dealing with an injury of his own. He has missed most practices for two weeks now. This should be concerning for fantasy team managers considering drafting him. For a rookie trying to adjust to the pro level, coming into the year hurt before even playing the game is not a good start, especially for someone playing a position as grueling as running back.
Why Target Zack Moss
Moss has quietly been drawing rave reviews from the coaching staff. The Bills General Manager Brandon Beane emphasized that he loves Moss’ ball security, and envisions him as the goal-line back. He looks to replace Gore’s 18 goal-line carries. Singletary only got three. And judging by Moss’ touchdown total in college, he has a knack for the end zone.
Other things Moss has been praised for are his pass-catching and pass-blocking ability. Most already expected Moss to come in as the better pure-rusher compared to the smaller framed Devin Singletary. However, Moss may even be better than Singletary in this regard too. In addition, if Moss continues to show he can pass protect, there might be no reason for the team to take him off the field.
Though he will probably start the season behind Singletary, he should immediately get goal-line work. From there, if he can keep it up, he can increase his role further and further, perhaps even making Singletary obsolete.
Zack Moss versus D’Andre Swift Value
The craziest part of the entire Swift/Moss comparison is their ADP. ESPN has Swift ranked as the RB24 in PPR leagues, right behind Singletary, and ahead of Cam Akers and Kareem Hunt. Meanwhile, Moss is rated all the down as the RB38 multiple rounds later.
This is ludicrous. In a worst-case scenario, the two runners end up splitting time in their backfield, which means they should have similar values. And when it comes down to it, Johnson has a much bigger hold on the starting job than Singletary, who struggled to get more touches than the dinosaur, Frank Gore for much of 2019.
Considering that Moss already has been given the nod at goal-line duty, a split job for each tilts the scales in his favor. He had zero fumbles in four college seasons. Swift had seven. So even if he gets Johnson benched, he might not be trusted with goal-line work yet.
All in all, team managers should fade Swift and opt for a wide receiver, or other back, like Hunt in that spot, then perhaps even reach a little for Moss in the next round.
Embed from Getty Images