RB Cedric Benson - Green Bay Packers
|6-0, 225||Born: 12-28-1982||College: Texas||Drafted: Round 1, pick 4|
Photo: Jeff Hanisch, US Presswire
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Week 13: vs Houston Texans
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Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. Green Bay got their first rushing touchdown by a running back this season on Monday Night Football (Aaron Ripkowski, 3/1/1 rushing with two targets for 2/15/0 receiving). So far Green Bay is 23rd in the NFL with 1,080 yards rushing and a healthy 4.3 yards per carry average, but they have only punched in four rushing scores all year long. The fantasy upside provided by six-point plays has been sorely lacking among the Packers' running backs this season. Aside from Ripkowski's score, James Starks saw 17/41/0 rushing with five targets for 5/27/0 receiving as his portion at Philadelphia; waiver-wire signee Christine Michael handled 1/4/0 rushing and emergency running back Ty Montgomery managed 1/2/0 rushing with two targets for 2/12/0 receiving during the contest. Starks is the lead back here entering Week 13, and we expect it to stay that way in December.
This week Starks and company will be up against a Houston Texans defense in Week 13 that has allowed only 58.8 rushing yards per game since Week Eight. The Texans have not allowed a rushing touchdown since then, either, but that is not the whole story. From Week Nine to Week 12 of regular season (the last four weeks, but includes 14 teams on byes during that time span - each team has at least three games played in the last four weeks), Houston averages 17.9 fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game (11th-most in the NFL). Two games ago, the Texans' rush defense held Oakland to 20/30/0 rushing in Mexico City, but they also allowed 11/199/2 receiving to Oakland's running backs - Melvin Gordon posted 17/70/0 rushing with four targets for 4/19/0 receiving at Houston last week - backs who are good receivers are problematic for this defense.
Starks has seen 15 targets for 13/84/2 receiving over the past three games - he is facing a neutral matchup this week given the past performance of good pass-catching backs against this Houston defense.
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