The Green Bay Packers look to field a lethal offense this year both through the air with Aaron Rodgers at QB as well as on the ground with Eddie Lacy at RB. Lacy will be a top-10 overall pick this season, and James Starks will be the backup RB in Green Bay. Starks is another important RB handcuff to target in the 2014 fantasy football season.
Starks ran the ball 89 times last season through 13 games and averaged a solid 5.5 yards per carry. He ran for almost 500 yards and three TDs and added another 89 receiving yards and a receiving TD to that total. Starks has proven that he can carry the offense in Green Bay if Lacy needs a breather during a game or is out due to injury.
The Packers also recently released RB Johnathan Franklin. Franklin announced his retirement due to a career-ending neck injury suffered during Week 12 of last year (best of luck to him). If Lacy misses a game here or there in 2013, Starks would immediately benefit by stepping into a major role in that high-scoring offense.
While Starks produced last season, a large portion of his points came from the Week 2 game against the Washington Redskins. Lacy suffered a concussion early on in the game, allowing Starks to run for 132 yards and a TD. Although Starks can be immensely productive given the opportunity, he won’t see many chances unless Lacy misses more time in 2014.
Green Bay also has three talented WRs to whom Rodgers will spread the ball around in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jarrett Boykin. If the Packers also find a TE who can catch the ball, neither Lacy nor Starks figures to see that many receptions this season. Most of the RB points in Green Bay will be dependent on carries and goal-line opportunities.
Starks is one of a few clear backup RBs in the league that plays for a team that doesn’t utilize a running-back-by-committee approach. Lacy missed one full game last season, and Starks will be an essential late-round pickup for any Lacy owners this year.
Bye Week: 9
Projected Round: 15
Auction Value: $1