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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Bust: James Starks





When the Green Bay Packers showed the bravado to draft Eddie Lacy with the 61st overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, I thought it was a big risk.

I mean, Lacy has always had the kind of minor dings you don’t want to see in a college back who’s declaring himself for NFL action. Add to this the fact that a lot of Lacy’s success in college seemed to be directly linked to the stout offensive line boasted by the Alabama Crimson Tide, and you could color me skeptical.

With fantasy bust written all over him, I passed on him in the draft, snickered when my main rival reached for him too early and kept an eye on fellow rookie Jonathan Franklin to emerge. When Franklin started dribbling his opportunity down his leg, I looked away from the running game of the pass-first Packers.

Then in the first quarter of Week 2 in the game against the Washington Redskins, Lacy lived up to his fragile label as his skull was crushed in like a ripe melon, knocking him out with a concussion. Who stepped up and charged once more into the breach was good old former bust James Starks.

Proponents of Starks will more than likely throw out that all Starks really needed was some competition to get him motivated. They’ll tell you that his 20 carries for 132 and a streaking long 32-yard score are proof of the kind of potential he brings to the fantasy landscape.

I don’t think they’re right. I think the Packers are a pass-first offense, they will always be a pass first offense so long as Aaron Rodgers is upright, and that alone limits long-term opportunities for any Packers running back.

What I think happened in that game was that the Redskins fell apart trying to get back into a game they were outgunned in. I think they over-focused the defense on a futile attempt to stop the pass, leaving the box open. The Packers saw their opportunity late in the game to grind out the clock and salt one away, so they turned to Starks.

When Lacy comes back at some point, he will be wrapped up in a time share with Starks, and neither back will be worth anything splitting reps in a pass-first offense. Sure Starks’ game looks great on paper, but when you take the time to think about it, his performance is dubious.

If you’ve got an early waiver wire number, I would let someone else waste their time grabbing Starks, when you could be going after a rising star like DeAndre Hopkins.

Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericbeuning or add him to your network on Google.