Eagles RB Kenneth Gainwell will not play in tonight’s TNF Week 2 Matchup vs. the Vikings due to a ribs injury. This has fantasy football managers asking: should they trust D’Andre Swift or Rashaad Penny in their Week 2 Fantasy Football lineups?
Kenny Gainwell Leaves Behind Some Serious Opportunity
First, let’s dive into the (shockingly) massive opportunity that has now opened up. In Week 1, Gainwell accounted for 62% of snaps, 61% of rushing attempts and delivered a 14% target share on 42% route participation (via FantasyLife’s Utilization Report). Perhaps most surprisingly, Gainwell also averaged 25% targets per route run, despite playing with a mobile QB in Jalen Hurts. This was a higher RB target rate than any Eagles RB saw in any game last year.
Clearly, a healthy amount of volume and field-time are now available. The question becomes: who will gobble it up?
D’Andre Swift’s Week 2 Fantasy Outlook
D’Andre Swift has to be the first bet. Despite his apparent inability to win over any coaching staff, Swift has won over many fantasy owners with his athleticism, efficiency and high-end receiving skills. Last season, Swift was the No.3 RB in the league in fantasy points per opportunity (1.13), and he’s been the RB15, RB8, and RB15 in FPPG across his career. He’s been Top-2 in yards created per touch in back-to-back season, while also ranking 4th, 12th, and 13th in receptions across his three years despite missing at least two games in every season. The track record is here.
If Swift gets the work, it’s very likely he’ll produce. If remains the key word here.
On the positive end, HC Nick Sirianni expressed regret over Swift only seeing two touches (& 28% of the snaps) in Week 1, and vowed to correct it. In fact, he hinted at a substantially larger role:
“He’ll be in that role sometimes where he carries the load for the game, and he’ll be in the role sometimes like he was in last game. Again, we don’t ever want to come out with him only having those many touches.”
With Gainwell out, this certainly feels like a “carry the load” type of game for Swift. Given Swift’s routine production with usage, I expect him to see 12-15 touches and do significantly more damage than Gainwell did last week. In fact, this could be the launching point to Swift locking down a substantial role for the rest of 2023.
Swift is up to my Week 2 RB27 (+ 7 ECR), ahead of unexciting RBs like Dameon Pierce, Isiah Pacheco, and Najee Harris.
Rashaad Penny’s Week 2 Fantasy Outlook
Somewhat surprisingly, Rashaad Penny was a healthy scratch in Week 1.
When on the field, Penny is among the most explosive RBs in the league. That may sound hyperbolic, but look at the stats:
His 5.7 career YPC is tied for the highest in NFL history among RBs with at least 300 carries. His 6.3 & 6.1 YPC over the last two years makes him one of only 12 RBs in NFL History to have two seasons with 6.0+ YPC on 50+ carries, and one of just three to do it in consecutive seasons.
Despite ranking 77th in rush attempts the past three seasons, Penny is ninth in 20-yard runs (16) and fifth in 40-yard TD runs (3). He has five games with 135+ rushing yards since 2020, trailing only Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, despite only playing 28% of the games in that span.
Ask any fantasy champion in 2021 who their stretch-run hero was, and Penny will be a likely answer. He was THE RB1 from Weeks 14-17 in 2021, averaging 21.3 FPPG in that span, including 3 games above 25 FPs in the final five weeks.
Health is the only question mark with Penny, and it’s a huge one. As mentioned, Penny has played in just 18 games the last three years, missing 6+ in all but one season. He’s only averaged 67 carries across his five seasons.
Still, tonight could be the opportunity for him to break out. He’s never ran behind a line this talented. While I expect Swift to get the first crack, Penny should rotate in too. All it could take is one house-call carry for Penny to stake his claim to a significant Rest of Season role.
At minimum, I would add Penny for a “bench tryout’ if you are able. He was the third-most dropped back in Yahoo leagues this week. You may not be able to, depending on your Waiver Wire settings. Still, don’t be shocked if Penny is the guy” owners are emptying the bank for this week.
Start D’Andre Swift. Stash Rashaad Penny. Don’t be surprised when either takes over for the mediocre Gainwell.