Running back is the shallowest talent pool in all of fantasy football. So when a running back goes down, whether it was a starter in your lineup or a no. 3 guy on your competitor’s bench, it automatically puts that player’s back up on everyone’s radar.
Last week, we saw Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers go down with a concussion, and James Starks exploded onto the scene to become one of last week’s biggest free agents taken off the waiver wire. A lot of people had high expectations for Starks. My own opinion of Starks‘ value was low due to the fact that he’s had the chance to win the starting job in the past and failed. Once Lacy comes back, Starks value will be muddled.
This week against the Cincinnati Bengals, we saw Starks go down with a knee injury, and Johnathan Franklin stepped up to show off his skills in the running game as he rumbled off 103 yards and a touchdown on only 13 carries.
With the Packers having a bye in Week 4, there won’t be a lot of news about the health of Starks or Lacy. If there is one back on this pass-first team that I think will have the skills and durability to outright win the starting job for the Packers and stay healthy through the season, I think it is Franklin.
At the end of the day, however, the Packers are still a pass-first team with a confused backfield, so I wouldn’t take Franklin with an early waiver pick unless you’re already invested in one of the other backs. He’s the sort of player that might be best to grab if you’ve got a roster spot you don’t know what to do with and you’re looking to pick on a Starks or Lacy owner for trade bait.
Franklin’s real value is probably best served if you’re playing in a dynasty builder or a keeper league, as there are serious questions about his ability to stay healthy in the long term at the pro level.