Cedric Benson was providing the Green Bay Packers and fantasy football owners with the steady production they were hoping for heading into the NFL season. Now that a foot injury has sidelined him, owners are sent scrambling for a replacement.
Benson is expected to miss eight weeks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, at which point most fantasy leagues will be near playoff time. Owners don't have to look too far for a potential replacement, however. Packers backup James Starks is capable of filling the void.
Starks was actually a popular target during drafts early in the summer because he was slated to take over the full-time starting gig in Green Bay, but a turf toe injury and the Benson signing caused his stock to plummet before most owners picked their teams.
With Benson out of the picture for a couple months, and Starks back to full strength, the third-year running back should have a chance to shine starting against the Houston Texans in Week 6. He certainly has more fantasy upside than fellow backup Alex Green.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the Packers may opt to start Starks over Green right away given his experience in the system. He first made a name for himself during the team's playoff run a couple years ago.
Starks averaged 4.3 yards per carry while in a timeshare with Ryan Grant. He's always possessed the potential to become a dynamic starter in the NFL, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy for an extended period of time to make it happen.
He's been given another chance due to Benson's injury. Fantasy owners should take the chance that he's finally ready to take his game to that next level and add him to their rosters. He won't survive on the waiver wire for long.
The best thing about the Buffalo product is that he's capable of making plays in the passing game as well, which means he shouldn't come out on obvious passing downs. When healthy, he can play all three downs effectively.
That's important because the Packers offense remains a pass-first attack under the guidance of Aaron Rodgers. If Starks can establish himself as a receiver out of the backfield, it will give him a leg up over the other players trying to earn carries.
Even though Starks isn't likely to provide the consistent production Benson did while healthy—at least not right away—he has the best chance to provide value out of anybody in the Packers backfield.
That alone warrants adding him, and there's always a chance he finally breaks out to become a fantasy star.