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RB James Starks - Green Bay Packers

6-2, 218Born: 2-25-1986College: BuffaloDrafted: Round 6

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Photo: Kim Klement, US Presswire

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News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Nov 23): For the first time this year, Starks was clearly outplayed by Eddie Lacy, and he'll likely go back to being the backup with 7-10 touches a game going forward. As a high value handcuff, he shouldn't be dropped, but he's only a what the heck flex against Chicago on Thanksgiving.

Week 12: vs Chicago Bears

All RB vs CHI

Mark and Joe say: Good matchup. Eddie Lacy started the 2015 season well, with 19/85/1 rushing and 2/14/0 receiving against these Bears back in Week One - since then, he's waxed and waned and even lost his starting job to James Starks two games ago. However, Lacy surged to 22/100/0 rushing with 1/6/0 receiving at Minnesota last week, while James Starks posted 8/14/0 rushing with 1/30/0 receiving - the coaching staff now considers the backfield a '1-2 Punch' with neither guy a clear starter, but if Lacy keeps up the good work he'll likely out-touch Starks: 'We need both Eddie and James,' head coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday, November 23. 'It was great to see Eddie have success.' The Bear's rush D has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs over the past four games played, with an average of 18.8 surrendered to opposing teams. They are ranked 25th in the NFL averaging 123.7 rushing yards allowed per game, but are stingy in the red zone with just three rushing scores handed over to date. Last week, Denver rolled to 36/170/0 rushing at Soldier Field; two games ago St. Louis managed 21/94/1 rushing against the Bears. This is a middlin' rush D entering Week 12, as you can see. This looks like a good matchup for a surging Lacy and company.

Recent Stats and Projections

8 at DEN 22 5 9 0 2 2 9 0 0 1.8
9 at CAR 55 10 39 0 8 6 83 1 0 18.2
10 vs DET 82 15 42 0 7 6 54 0 0 9.6
11 at MIN 33 8 14 0 1 1 30 0 0 4.4
12 vs CHI PROJ-Dodds * 8 * * 2 * * * *
12 vs CHI PROJ-Tremblay * 6 * * 1 * * * *
12 vs CHI PROJ-Bloom * 7 * * 2 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 11 vs MIN (8 / 14 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 30 / 0 rec)

Starks got the start but he didn't get a workload worthy of the title. Eddie Lacy looked very good as he got the majority of the carries and while Starks began the game with a nice run, he seemed to get slower and more hesitant as the game went on. Starks looks like he will be going back to the backup role unless Lacy gets hurt again.

2015 Week 10 vs DET (15 / 42 / 0 rush, 7 / 6 / 54 / 0 rec)

While James Starks got the start in the place of a banged up Eddie Lacy, he didn't look all that much better. For most of the game, he was stymied at or behind the line of scrimmage. The offensive line struggled to open holes for him and unlike when Lacy is healthy, Starks can't easily create his own yards. On top of that, he has to deal with defenses who quite frankly don't respect Aaron Rodgers right now. That means they are more than happy to creep safeties into the box, leave extra linebackers near the line of scrimmage and just generally work hard to make a running back's day brutal. With so much attention to the front line though, Starks was actually more effective on screen passes, where he averaged nine yards a touch. It's where Starks did the most damage, but that was mostly relegated to the first quarter and the last drive when the Lions were busy imploding. Overall, Starks didn't do anything to steal the starting job from Lacy long term, and while he worked hard for the yards he got, when he broke free his lack of game-changing speed and elusiveness were apparent.

2015 Week 9 vs CAR (10 / 39 / 0 rush, 8 / 6 / 83 / 1 rec)

Between Eddie Lacy fumbling in the second quarter and leaving with a groin injury in the third quarter, Starks saw the field a lot. Starks had a bunch of room to run in, as the Panthers throttled back the defense for much of the second half and fell into a coverage mode to try and slow the eventual Aaron Rodgers comeback through the air. That's not to say he didn't run well--as always he shows some decent speed, can both make tacklers miss and bowl them over and catches the ball well. All of those things were present on his 29-yard catch and run touchdown in the fourth quarter. The play found quarterback Aaron Rodgers under pressure and dumping the ball off to a wide open Starks, who had blockers in front of him. After getting a few blocks, Starks found himself shrugging off a tackler at the ten, then diving for the end zone for the score.

2015 Week 8 vs DEN (5 / 9 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)

Starks saw the bulk of his meager workload in the third quarter, but had the same struggles as Eddie Lacy with all the Broncos who were clogged around the line of scrimmage. Interestingly, Starks ran behind a fullback for at least three of his carries, unlike Lacy, who tends to run solo.

2015 Week 6 vs SD (10 / 112 / 1 rush, 2 / 1 / 5 / 1 rec)

After coming in to give a struggling and banged up Eddie Lacy a breather, James Starks took over, and to say he excelled is an understatement. Starks averaged over 11 yards a carry, handled most of the short yardage and red zone duties and overall looked very solid against a Chargers defense which had too much trouble shutting down the run. Starks found the end zone twice, once on a shovel pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers which Starks caught in stride, made a defender miss and dove into the end zone with. The ground touchdown happened a short time later, a 65-yard score. On the play, Starks seemed to be running inside, but once he go there the hole was closed. So Starks bounced outside where he could run towards the sideline and away from the few defenders in the area. Then he kicked on the jets and if he's not as fast as Eddie Lacy seems to be, he's fast enough. With a blocking assist from receiver Jeff Janis, Starks took it to the house. That was his biggest play although he almost came down with another touchdown late in the game as he ran a fade route, but was overthrown. Starks extended himself, but ultimately couldn't make the play.

2015 Week 5 vs STL (5 / 17 / 0 rush, 6 / 3 / 29 / 0 rec)

Starks got his usual amount of snaps--about 25--and had as much trouble breaking free from the defense as Eddie Lacy did. He had a little more success receiving the ball, as that usually got him into space enough to build momentum before he had to deal with the defenders. Overall though, he struggled just like everyone else not named Aaron Rodgers in the run game.

2015 Week 4 vs SF (9 / 28 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)

With Eddie Lacy back in the lineup, if not quite 100 percent healthy, Starks saw his touches drop down quite a bit. He struggled at times to make too much headway against the Niners defense, especially when on an interior run. While he showed some of his characteristic strength and leg drive, he never seemed to get into a rhythm and that hampered his overall effectiveness. While he is likely to see carries every game, especially with Lacy banged up, unless Lacy goes down, Starks' impact is limited.

2015 Week 3 vs KC (17 / 32 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 19 / 0 rec)

Starks led the team in carries as Eddie Lacy assumed a smaller workload for Monday Night's game. Starks carried the ball 17 times for 32 yards and caught one pass for nineteen yards. His lone reception was a key play on the Packers second touchdown drive, a short pass over the middle that Starks was able to extend for 19 yards and nearly more. Starks was visibly upset after this play as one more missed tackle likely would have netted some more yards or a shot at the end zone. He may continue to see some extra work if Lacy is not fully healed for next week, monitor injury reports as the week moves forward.

2015 Week 2 vs SEA (20 / 95 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 11 / 0 rec)

There's a clear difference in the offense when James Starks is in the backfield as opposed to when Eddie Lacy is there. Starks is a powerful back with OK speed and athleticism, but he lacks the top end skills Lacy has as well as the younger back's burst and overall speed. However, when Lacy left the game on the opening drive due to an ankle injury, Starks stepped in and played well. Starks did fumble the ball once--he had it stripped after a catch along the sideline--but aside from that, he played a very solid game.

2015 Week 1 vs CHI (2 / 2 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

As is almost always the case, Starks was rarely called upon to do anything save give Eddie Lacy a little break here and there. He is not a factor barring injuries.


Latest News

Packers | Both Packers RBs to remain involved (Tue Nov 24, 08:10 AM) - Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy and RB James Starks will remain involved in the offense, according to head coach Mike McCarthy. Lacy rushed for 100 yards on 22 carries, which was his first 100-yard game of the season. 'I thought Eddie played well,' McCarthy said. 'He was given more opportunities. He was decisive and ran behind his pads.'

Our View: Both will remain involved, but it looks like things are clicking for Lacy. He's the top back in this committee, but we could still see Starks have fantasy value as a low-end flex or 'what the heck' flex going forward.
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Packers | Eddie Lacy says he'll play (Fri Nov 20, 12:10 PM) - Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (groin) said he'll be playing in Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings after missing last week's game. 'I felt good today. My coach said I was moving good, I was looking good,' Lacy said. 'It's a step in the right direction.' However, head coach Mike McCarthy already said earlier this week that RB James Starks would start the game against the Minnesota Vikings, with Lacy coming in later.

Our View: Lacy will still be second fiddle to James Starks, but he'll cut into Starks' work enough to make him a low RB2 play. Lacy shouldn't be in our lineups until he gives us a reason to trust him.
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Packers | James Starks draws another start (Wed Nov 18, 02:04 PM) - Green Bay Packers RB James Starks will start Sunday, Nov. 22, with RB Eddie Lacy 'going second,' according to head coach Mike McCarthy.

Our View: Starks let a lot of fantasy owners down last week with an average performance against the Lions. This week, we can only recommend him as a low-end RB2 or flex play in PPR leagues.
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Packers | James Starks struggles vs. DET (Sun Nov 15, 06:06 PM) - Green Bay Packers RB James Starks gained just 42 yards on the ground Sunday, Nov. 15, in an 18-16 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Our View: Starks was more dangerous as a receiver and salvaged his fantasy day in that facet of the offense. He has a tough matchup against Minnesota next week and Eddie Lacy might return.
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