RB James Starks, Free agent

HT: 6-2, WT: 218, Born: 2-25-1986, College: Buffalo, Drafted: Round 6

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2014 Projections

GRSHYDY/RTDRECYDY/RTDFPT
David Dodds13.055.02284.11.012.0957.91.044
Bob Henry16.080.03804.83.011.01009.10.066
Jason Wood16.070.03004.32.020.01608.01.064
Maurile Tremblay16.052.02364.52.013.01128.60.047

Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]

Overall: K Davis (167), James Starks (169), J White (170), J McCown (171)
Position: T Mason (163-RB54), K Davis (167-RB55), James Starks (169 - RB56), J White (170-RB57), L Dunbar (182-RB58)
Click here for a comparison of these players.

PPR Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]

Overall: J Cook (182), James Starks (183), A Hawkins (184), J McCown (185)
Position: D McCluster (168-RB57), S Greene (174-RB58), James Starks (183 - RB59), R Hillman (189-RB60), R Helu (191-RB61)
Click here for a comparison of these players.


Best Case

Starks posted some nice stats early last season before taking a back seat to Eddie Lacy. Starks wasn’t a back that had much more than 150 touches, even before Lacy was in the picture, but he is effective when he is involved. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season, and 8.9 yards per reception last year, and that production level could continue this season. If Lacy goes down to injury, Starks would be a legitimate starting back in most fantasy leagues.

Worst Case

The Packers relied very heavily on Eddie Lacy last season, and that could continue this season. As a change of pace back, or a guy that only has a few touches per game, Starks will not be a consistent performer from week to week.

Outlook

Although Starks posted some of his best offensive statistics last season, he still had 11 games with fewer than 10 fantasy points, including eight games with less than five. By the end of the season, he will probably finish somewhere in the 45-50 range for fantasy backs. He may have a good game or two, especially if Eddie Lacy goes down to injury. But as long as Lacy is involved, Starks will have very limited upside.


2014 Schedule

WeekOpponent


2013 Game Summaries

Week 1 - James Starks only had two plays of note on Sunday, one a dump pass when the Packers were backed into their end zone and the second a run where he took the ball through a huge hole which was the result of a Josh Sitton hold and was called back. Notably, when Eddie Lacy was benched in the second because of a fumble, it was James Starks who got his reps until Lacy returned in the third quarter. While Starks was only on the field for seven snaps total, he's definitely well ahead of rookie Johnathan Franklin.

Week 2 - With Eddie Lacy out due to a big helmet-to-helmet hit by Washington safety Brandon Meriweather—himself knocked out when he did the same thing to James Starks—most thought that the carries would be split between Starks and rookie Jonathan Franklin. Instead it was all Starks, all the time as the veteran back became the first Packers running back to rush for 100 yards in almost three years. The offensive line struggled a bit at first—as they did the entire first quarter in both pass blocking and run blocking—and after a few ineffective runs, the Packers went back to the pass and Starks was the target of numerous short throws. The ground game started to get going early in the second quarter though, beginning with a really nice 20 yard run. On the play, Starks liked up as the loan player in the backfield. After receiving the handoff, he took the ball immediately left and accelerated around the edge. A defender tried to close on him, but took a bad angle and Starks kicked in some acceleration as well. The end of the run was the play which featured Meriweather’s second helmet-to-helmet hit, with the Washington safety getting the worse end of it. Starks showed great vision on another long run later on in the same quarter. Backed up to their ten, Green Bay went a little conservative to start their drive and handed the ball to Starks, who cut to the right. Starks found his lane blocked and began to head outside, but saw that there was no room there either. Instead, he cut the ball inside where there was a little room and accelerated through the lane, getting to the second level before being dragged down. By the time Starks scored his touchdown in the third quarter, the line was blocking very well and the defense was completely on its heels. On that play, Starks got the ball and immediately blew through the large hole the line provided for him. After that he blew past a couple of defenders, hopped past two more and outraced the last one on his way to a 32 yard touchdown. While Starks played very well, he had the advantage of playing for three quarters behind an offensive line which was on point. That hadn’t been the case in the previous five quarters, but should give Packers fans hope that things are looking up.

Week 3 - While he left in the first half with a knee injury, Starks didn't look quite as sharp on Sunday as he did during the previous game. While he found some holes and did a decent job keeping his legs moving. He was far more effective when the line did a good job opening holes - he isn't going to make something out of nothing very often. When the lanes weren't there, Starks didn't make anything happen on his own. There are times when he can be very indecisive, such as on a first-and-ten with 8:27 left in the second quarter. On the play, the line struggled to clear the gaps - there was one lane open very briefly but either Starks didn't see it or couldn't get to it in time. When the gaps were closed, Starks completely came to a stop. While there wasn't much room to move and the play was very well defended, Starks seemed to freeze when the play went to pieces. Starks appears to be what he's always appeared to be - a good back when you can block for him but nobody who will overcome poor line play.

Week 8 - James Starks showed some pop against a Vikings defense which didn’t seem to know which way was up. As with Eddie Lacy, Starks had several runs where he got hit in the backfield and gained little or no yards. He then bounced back with two 11-yard gains in the third quarter where the Vikings came hard after Rodgers and into the backfield so when Starks hit the hole, he was able to see nothing but green between the line of scrimmage and the secondary. That’s pretty much what happened on his 25-yard touchdown. The Vikings brought one of their safeties up towards the line of scrimmage and had eight men crowded around the line of scrimmage, with two corners covering receivers and one lone safety deep. Starks was through the hole quickly and, after making a defender miss, into the open field. He then stiff-armed the safety, turned upfield and was in the end zone before the pursuit could catch him. Starks isn’t as fast, strong or reliable as Lacy seems to be, but he is very good when healthy. He and Lacy could be a very viable one-two punch for the Packers on the ground.

Week 9 - For the most part, James Starks came in to give workhorse back Eddie Lacy a breather. On his very first carry, Starks reminded us that, when healthy, he can be a dangerous back in his own right as well. On the play, a 32-yard touchdown, the offensive line blew open a giant hole in the defensive line and Starks accelerated very quickly through it and to the second level. He then did a very good job following his blockers until he got clear of traffic and headed in for the score. Starks has good, but not great speed—a little more field and Bears corner Charles Tillman might have had him—and shows patience and vision when running. Lacy is a much better back, but Starks can hold his own and makes sure there is no let-up when Lacy needs a break.

Week 10 - With Eddie Lacy firmly entrenched as the starting running back, James Starks has been reduced to giving him a breather every once in a while. On Sunday, that took the form of one series in the second quarter. Starks had a rough time on that series as the offensive line was not able to open holes most of the day for anyone. The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t going to worry about unproven quarterback Scott Tolzien and decided to concentrate on stopping the run. Starks was unable to make a plays out of nothing and was lucky to avoid losing yards. Starks was only on the field on four other snaps.

Week 11 - James Starks just had two carries as he continues to be the backup to Eddie Lacy and no more. He had as little success as Lacy did against a tough Giants run defense.

Week 12 - Things started off very well for backup running back James Starks as he came in to give starter Eddie Lacy a breather in the third quarter. On his very first carry, Starks broke off a 34-yard run during which he slipped multiple tackles. Part of that was Starks running with strength, but there were also a lot of tackle attempts from bad angles and generally shoddy technique by the Minnesota Vikings defense. After that, Starks saw very few carries and so wasn’t able to get into a rhythm.

Week 13 - With Eddie Lacy not even getting a dozen carries, it shouldn’t shock anyone that Starks only ended up with two, at the very end of the game. Even with Lacy struggling, Starks couldn’t get reps.

Week 14 - As is normally the case, James Starks came in to give lead back Eddie Lacy a breather, such as when Lacy took some extra time coming out of the locker room. He ran well, but didn’t see a consistent amount of carries and never had a chance to get into a rhythm.

Week 15 - While he has plenty of strength and good speed, two things have held James Starks back. One is the constant injuries, which haven’t been a problem in his part time role this year. But the other is a constant lack of vision. One play really stood out as an example of the lack of vision—or perhaps confidence—Starks has. On the play, which took place late in the third quarter, Starks took the handoff on the play, which looks to be designed to go to his left. However, two things make it more complicated. First, the area he is meant to run too is obviously clogged and chances are his gains will be minimal, even if he’ll be following his blockers. To his right, the four hole or “B” gap opens up and is completely clear. Either Starks is so intent on following his blockers he doesn’t see it, or he’s worried about the safety at the 15 yard line because he goes left. He still gains five yards, but he had the opportunity for a bigger gain had he reacted to the open gap to his right. He did show some good strength and determination on his touchdown catch. On the play he took a short dump pass behind the line of scrimmage. He then turns towards the end zone, running without contact until about the 3-yard line. By then he has good speed and when three Cowboys defenders try to tackle him, he muscles his way into the end zone. Overall, Starks is a decent player but as time goes on, it becomes more and more clear how much better the Packers run game is with Eddie Lacy in there instead of Starks.

Week 16 - As Cheeseheads across Wisconsin await news on Eddie Lacy’s injury, they can rest easy in that James Starks is at least serviceable in his stead. Overall, Starks got a lot of positive yards and hit some nice holes set up by his blockers. He often got to the second level, though was never able to break through enough of the tacklers to break free. Starks is a strong runner with decent speed, but seemed to have a habit of stopping his legs briefly when he was hit. When that brief delay happened, Starks often seemed to stall and lose momentum. That said, he was a serviceable fill in for Lacy, despite lacking the rookie’s ceiling and overall playmaking ability.

Week 17 - With Eddie Lacy banged up, Starks saw frequent carries, though the rookie from Alabama still had almost double the carries. Starks ran like a man possessed though, and looked much better than Lacy did, averaging a stout 8 yards per carry and delivering some punishing hits at the end of his runs. His best run of the day—and the season—was a 41-yard off-tackle run in the third quarter. On that play, Starks did a great job of finding the hole and making himself small as he runs through it. After that there is nobody in front of him for 10 to 15 yards and he accelerates into the open field. When a defender does close, he jukes out of the way and continues on until he is dragged down at the 13 yard line. Starks only saw one more carry after that, as the Packers leaned on Lacy, but Starks is healthy and as Lacy is not, the Packers may need him to carry the load a bit in the playoffs like he did against the Bears.

Week 18 - As has normally been the case since rookie Eddie Lacy arrived, James Starks has been relegated to spot duty and giving Lacy a break. Starks ran well on Sunday, showing good power and speed. He was able to take advantage of a defensive front worn down by the rookie later in the game as well with some solid runs. Overall though, his role was limited.