Through the first three games of the the 2011 season, the Green Bay Packers backfield has been a committee attack between veteran Ryan Grant and young upstart James Starks. Whoever has had the hot hand has been getting the most carries in each game.
That will all change this Sunday against the Denver Broncos as Grant has been ruled out with a bruised kidney. That helps make Starks a must start in your fantasy lineup in Week 4.
While Grant severely outperformed Starks last week, Starks looked much better than Grant through the first two weeks of the season and the preseason.
Starks is the more talented runner of the two at this point in their careers. He emerged in last season's playoffs, helping lead the Packers to the Super Bowl.
The second-year back now has a chance to make himself a household name in fantasy. Here are four reasons to insert him in your lineup tomorrow.
Even though Starks was the guy that helped lead the Packers to a championship last year, the Green Bay coaching staff has maintained a strong loyalty to Grant. They even flirted with the idea of making Grant the feature back again in 2011.
But Starks strong play was too hard for the Packers to ignore, and he carved himself at least a timeshare. In Week 4, he now has a chance to grab a hold on the job and not let go.
The young runner obviously knows he has a great opportunity this week. If he can rekindle some of the magic he had in the playoffs, he will force the coaching staff to re-evaluate the usage of Grant when he returns to the field.
While the Broncos have been a pretty good rushing defense this season, they have not had to deal with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers. The Super Bowl MVP is probably the best player in football right now.
Over the last two weeks, Denver has really limited Cedric Benson and Chris Johnson. But those two backs were the main focus of the Bronco defense as Andy Dalton and Matt Hasselbeck are not exactly going to light up the scoreboard.
Starks should have some nice running lanes on Sunday with the defense keying in on Rodgers. The Broncos will undoubtedly be expecting a pass most of the time.
The Packers should have no trouble with a weaker Broncos team, meaning they will probably be sitting on a second half lead.
Starks is averaging 4.6 yards per carry this season. Should he repeat that effort again this week, he could flirt with a 100-yard game.
Clock-killing carries can really serve to increase the fantasy output of a running back on a given day. Look for Starks to have a strong fourth quarter in his first 100-yard game in the regular season.
The running back position in fantasy isn't exactly all that straight forward these days. There are lot of question marks among other backs, strengthening Starks value even more this week.
Beanie Wells, Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, Ryan Matthews and Daniel Thomas are all banged up. Shonne Greene, Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson are struggling mightily.
Starks is not injured and while he is coming off a subpar effort against the Bears, it's comforting as a fantasy owner to know that he is the main guy this week. Outside of the top studs at the position, it would be hard to find a safer running back play in Week 4.