The first time we wrote about James Starks, we cautioned fantasy owners not to get too excited about adding him. That was after the rookie running back broke out with 73 yards on 18 carries in week 13 against the 49ers. Turned out we were right, as Starks only had eight yards on six carries the following week. The next two weeks he was inactive due to a lack of preparation, but he played in the regular season finale against the Bears. Whatever issues kept Starks inactive towards the end of the season have clearly been overcome.
The undrafted rookie out of Buffalo was a difference-maker for the Packers in their Wild Card playoff game against the Eagles Sunday. On their second drive, he busted out with a 27-yard run that established his presence. The typically pass-heavy offense for Green Bay handed the ball to Starks four times on the drive and passed to him twice. They wound up with a touchdown on the drive and Starks ended up with 123 rushing yards in the game.
The Packers did something they haven’t done since losing Ryan Grant the first week of the season — hand the ball off consistently to a workhorse back. Starks’ emergence gives Green Bay another weapon and dimension the rest of the playoffs, and at least a complementary back to Ryan Grant when he returns next season.
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