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What Week 1 tells us about Lions running backs in fantasy football

The Lions had three running backs on the field on Sunday and only one of them showed he deserved to be out there.

Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson walks off the field after the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions let a win slip out of their grasp on Sunday, as the fell to division rivals the Chicago Bears 27-23. They took a 23-6 lead into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, they could have won the game if not for an egregious drop by rookie running back D’Andre Swift in the waning seconds of the game.

Fantasy football analysis: Lions RBs, Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift

Swift came into this game having missed a good chunk of training camp with a hamstring injury while Peterson was a new addition, but had gone through Washington’s training camp before his release.

Kerryon Johnson got the start, but was largely ineffective against the Bears stout front, as he rushed seven times for just 14 yards and no targets. Johnson was phased out quickly after Peterson came in and ran for 19 yards on his first carry. The veteran back continued to put together positive touches, as he ended the day with 14 carries for 93 yards and caught all three of his targets for 21 more yards.

Swift was gifted a one-yard touchdown run, but only saw three rushing attempts for 8 yards and five targets, which he caught three of for 15 yards. Swift did see 35 snaps to Peterson’s 24 and Johnson’s 20, which is a good sign for their trust in him despite the killer drop.

Week 2 recommendation

The Lions will take on Green Bay next week and there’s a good chance we get Peterson as the lead back and Swift as the receiving back, much like we saw on Sunday. The touchdown drop will be talked about a lot, but Swift is the player they want to lead the way based on his skill set. Peterson is worth a waiver wire pickup, but he will likely need games where the Lions have a lead throughout to have real upside. Kerryon Johnson is a drop at this point.