Fantasy Football: Cedric Benson Great Flex-Play Value

Bruce Chen@bsk1364Analyst IAugust 30, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 23: Cedric Benson #32 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the football against Michael Johnson #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals during a preseason NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 23, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It's easy to dismiss that the Green Bay Packer offense, as prolific as it was in 2011, provided a putrid breeding ground for fantasy running back success. They are ranked 26th in rushing attempts and averaged less than four yards a rush last year, and neither James Starks or Ryan Grant were viable fantasy options.

They have spoken glowingly about Benson; running backs coach Alex van Pelt was referring to him as "explosive".

Uh, right. Cincinnati Bengal fans will certainly find that an interesting way to put it, considering he's averaged 3.5 and 3.9 yards a rush each of the last two seasons.

Fantasy footballers are similarly lukewarm on Benson's prospects in a Packer offense that passes first, second, and third. He's going 99th in ESPN LiveDraft results, despite the fact that his primary competition for touches in James Starks has battled injuries, drawn the ire of the coaching staff and might not make the team.

Starks' turf toe injury is so serious that the Pack are considering putting him on IR, again. If we recall, he was on the PUP his rookie season for all but three games.  

It seems as though Benson has a chance to become the "lead" back for the Packers, if that means much at all. The Packers ran a platoon last season with Starks and Grant, but combine their touches and they did have 267 rushes.

If Starks is out of the picture, I find it hard to believe the Packers have a proven veteran that can have an evenly split platoon with him and Brandon Saine, who had just 70 carries last season.

It's easy to forget that a Packer lead back can have a decent fantasy season.

Ryan Grant had two seasons where he averaged 4.1 yards a carry, over 1,200 rush yards both seasons, and averaged eight total touchdowns a season. The next year he got hurt in the season opener and Brandon Jackson went on to have over 1,000 yards from scrimmage before losing his job to Starks.

None of those numbers are sexy and make anybody shuffle their draft boards. But Rotoworld has graded the Packers' offensive line as the best in the league, and all signs point to Benson having a pretty good shot of receiving the lion's share of carries in an offense that actually did have 12 rushing touchdowns last season. 

Benson is nothing special, but there is no reason he can't be a good flex-play and deserve a little more love in fantasy drafts.