Eddie Lacy, James Starks' Instant Fantasy Reaction After Week 7

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVOctober 19, 2014

Oct 12, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Koa Misi (55) brings down Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) in the second quarter of the game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers started out on fire against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7, and their oft-forgotten stable of running backs was at the forefront.

Eddie Lacy and James Starks both found huge holes in the Panthers defense early on in Sunday's affair, playing a huge role in helping the Packers win a 38-17 blowout.

Lacy racked up 12 carries for 63 yards and ran in his fourth touchdown of the season. Meanwhile, Starks rushed seven times for 36 yards and a touchdown of his own—a 13-yard scamper that was his first of the season. Both had 10 or less receiving yards.

Running BackCarriesYardsAverageTD
Eddie Lacy12635.31
James Starks7365.11

As expected, Green Bay got started through the air with Aaron Rodgers' 59-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson. But the Packers turned to the ground after that, and it paid off.

Former Packers great Donald Driver commented on the offensive potency, mentioning both Lacy and Starks:

Donald Driver @Donald_Driver80

The pack is showing off. Love it. TD by Jordy, then Lacy, then Starks, now Cobb. Hahaha. Show time baby.

After Lacy's pedestrian start to the season, he's turned things around as of late after notching over 150 rushing yards and three touchdowns combined in Weeks 5 and 6. But head coach Mike McCarthy had been hoping to split the carries more moving forward, according to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky:

"They really haven't been given that opportunity, but it's a long season,” McCarthy said. "This is why we have this approach. We're fortunate enough to have two guys, so as far as the way the rotation's gone, I feel good about it." 

The total number of carries Sunday from Lacy and Starks might not suggest an even backfield, but it was apparent. Early in the game, Lacy would be the workhorse on one drive and Starks would seemingly take his place the very next drive.

Duane Burleson/Associated Press

That was on no better display than in the first quarter. Lacy was the feature back on the first two drives, and Starks came in to replace him on the third. By the end of that, both had touchdowns.

But as ESPN's Trey Wingo noted, it's not like the Pack were going up against an elite run defense:

trey wingo @wingoz

Eddie Lacy getting going finally. But this is nothing new for Carolina. They have the 6th worst run d on the year

A second-year pro out of Alabama, Lacy remains a frustrating RB1 to own simply due to playing in such a pass-happy offense. With Rodgers healthy this year as opposed to last, he's failed to surpass 17 carries in a game after passing 20 carries 11 times as a rookie.

But despite his workload taking a hit from last year and McCarthy's hopes to split the carries, he has turned around what was an awful start to 2014. After failing to score a touchdown in the opening three weeks, he now has a touchdown in three of the last four games.

Mike Roemer/Associated Press

Starks' stock has been falling this season after a slow start. But McCarthy has put his money where his mouth is as of late, giving Starks 20 combined carries in the two games prior to Week 7.

Starks is available in nearly 50 percent of ESPN leagues, and he'll command more attention after his best game of the year. But talking yourself into starting him after just one start-worthy outing will be awfully tough. 

As for Lacy, any justification fantasy owners had to bench him should be quelled after such a strong couple of weeks. The Packers' next two opponents—New Orleans and Chicago—are above average against the run, but both are below average against the pass.   

Rodgers is bound to continue gashing defenses with receivers Nelson and Randall Cobb playing so magnificently. And just like Sunday, that will open things up for Lacy and Starks.

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