The Fantasy Value of James Starks

Starks Packers

Just last week, James Starks wasn't owned in most fantasy leagues. Then disaster struck the Green Bay Packers. Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion and didn't return to the game. Starks came in and embarrassed the Washington Redskins' poor excuse for a defense. Starks had 132 rushing yards and four catches for 36 receiving yards. He saw the biggest rise in ownership this week. He's up to 61% owned in Yahoo! leagues. The question is, how long will his value last?

Lacy is expected to miss this week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and coach Mike McCarthy has already announced Starks as the starter. The Bengals have a strong defensive front and only give up 62.5 rushing yards per game. In other words, Starks won't be running all over this defense. He is a dicey play this week because we have no idea if Starks can carry the load again, or if the Packers will stick to the running game again. It's always tough to bank on a running back on a pass-first team.

Starks came out of nowhere in 2010 and helped the Packers win the Super Bowl. In 2011, he had a few solid games but was never consistent. Last year was a disaster, though. He lost the starting job and got injured. This offseason, the Packers drafted Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, who almost got cut.

Concussions are not an easy thing to come from. We've seen guys like Aaron Rodgers play the week after he got a concussion. We've also seen guys take a while to come back or not come back at all. Lacy looks like he will be back after the bye week, but Starks needs to be owned in all leagues as a bench stash at the very least. Running backs have been dropping like flies the past two weeks. Guys like Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, and Steven Jackson have all gone down with injuries.

The Packers have a tough matchup against the Bengals this week. Starks looks like a risky play, but Johnathan Franklin hasn't even seen the field yet. Starks will get the majority, if not all, of the carries on Sunday. The Packers will want to run the ball to keep their offense balanced. Their offensive line is shaky, but they were great blocking for Starks last week. It was against a pathetic Redskins' defense, but we've seen Starks capable of handling the load in the past.

If you own Lacy, then Starks is a must own. If you have an injured back such as Ray Rice or Reggie Bush, then he's worth an add. Starks is plenty valuable this week since he's already been announced the starter, but beyond that is anybody's guess. He's worth keeping on your roster even after the Packers' bye week in Week 4. If Lacy is having issues coming back, then the Packers will turn to Starks. If Lacy gets injured again, Starks will carry the load.

He might not be worth blowing your entire free agent money on if you are in that type of league unless you are a Lacy owner. The Packers won't suddenly become a running team and Lacy should be back in Week 5. This week's matchup is not favorable, but a starting running back is a starting running back. Add him and see how this situation plays itself out. He's worth the gamble.

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