James Starks is the Packers' insurance policy for Eddie Lacy. If the burly back struggles as he did last season or otherwise misses playing time, Starks would see a lot of work and be very useful for Fantasy. Otherwise, he'll be less effective for Fantasy from week to week (he averaged 11.3 touches per game when Lacy was active last year). Starks' best role for Fantasy is as a handcuff for Lacy -- not many people will target him otherwise on Draft Day. He should be found in Round 12 in all formats.
The Packers and Starks have agreed to a two-year, $6 million contract Friday, ESPN's Adam Caplan reports. Starks, who was reportedly looking to earn a starting role with another team during the offseason, will provide some insurance for the Packers should Eddie Lacy continue to struggle with injury and conditioning issues that plagued him throughout the 2015 season. While this deal will take Starks through age 32, he's never carried the ball more than 150 times in a season, so there's reason to believe he might have some gas in the tank, should he be asked to carry the load on offense.
Starks, an impending free agent, suggested that he may seek out a starting role this offseason, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. "Opportunity is all I need," Starks said. "Could I be a starter? Yeah. Can I handle it? Yeah. But I'm good in any position I play. I'm a team player. I just want to be successful. I want to win another ring." Starks set career-high marks for rushing yards (601), receptions (43) and receiving yards (392) in 2015, but he also fumbled five times (lost three) and was unable to seize the lead-back role from an out-of-shape Eddie Lacy. The Packers hope Lacy will lose some weight and return to his 2013-14 form, but the team likely still has some interest in retaining Starks, who has never played for another organization. Set to turn 30 in February, Starks is unlikely to find a guaranteed starting job, but he might find a team that provides him with a better opportunity. Of course, he also emphasized the importance of winning, which is something he's grown accustomed to in Green Bay.
Starks rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and added 12 yards on two catches in Sunday's win over Washington. Starks helped Green Bay recapture the lead in the third quarter on a four-yard stretch play to the right. Despite Eddie Lacy's struggles, Starks was never able to seize the starting role and the two ended with very similar stat lines - Starks with 993 total yards and five touchdowns and Lacy with 946 total yards and five scores. Not surprisingly, the two split the carries evenly on Sunday with 12 apiece, but it'll be interesting to see if Starks gets a greater share next weekend after Eddie Lacy's late-game fumble. In Green Bay's Week 16 matchup against Arizona, Starks was held to 11 total yards.
Starks had eight carries for 24 yards and three receptions for 18 yards (on three targets) in Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Vikings. True to his word, head coach Mike McCarthy kept Starks involved in the offense, despite the running back's recent struggles holding on to the ball. Starks and Eddie Lacy played to an unproductive stalemate, with the latter gaining 34 yards on 13 carries and seven yards on two receptions (two targets). The timeshare will likely continue in the first round of the playoffs against a Washington defense that surrendered 4.8 yards per carry and 122.6 rushing yards per game during the regular season.
Starks had three carries for 11 yards in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. Starks had both his fewest carries and total yards since Week 1 Sunday as the Packers struggled to do much of anything on offense. Fellow running back Eddie Lacy tallied 47 carries to Starks' 23 over the last three games, so Starks is pretty clearly behind Lacy on the depth chart heading into Week 17.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/10||New York Giants||26||20.38|
|3 Year Avg||107||476||2||24||207||1||85|