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Thursday, June 21, 2018

James Starks Has Surpassed Ryan Grant as Packers’ Primary Back

The reports throughout Packers training camp said James Starks looked significantly better than Ryan Grant. On Thursday night, that assertion was evident for anyone who watched the game.

The Packers let Ryan Grant carry the ball their first two offensive series and then he was hardly heard from. It was almost as if they were giving him the courtesy start, knowing fully well that he wasn’t going to carry the load. James Starks came in and looked better. The highlight was Starks’ 17-yard touchdown run towards the end of the second quarter when he spun off tacklers and ran physically.

Ryan Grant was once a very effective rusher for the Packers. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2007 and 4.4 in 2009. But since getting hurt in the season-opener last year, he has come back a step slower. Grant was able to break a tackle on one run, but for the most part he looked slow and unable to shake the first tackler. Unbiased eyes would tell you that Starks just looked like the better back. There is little doubt the Packers’ coaches will see the same thing on tape. Matter of fact, they saw the same thing during the game and gave Starks 12 carries to Grant’s nine.

Most people who have Ryan Grant on their fantasy team likely took him to be their second running back. Those owners will be disappointed all season. Grant is at best a flex option, and his fantasy appeal is unlikely to improve. Starks has more appeal, but even he is not a great option because he has to share carries. At least he is a much better flex play than Grant going forward.

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