Dec 13, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
RB – Eddie Lacy, James Starks
Lacy – 24 rushes, 124 rushing yards, 1 catch, 24 receiving yards, 1 TD; 20.80 fantasy points
Starks – 11 rushes, 71 rushing yards, 4 catches, 32 receiving yards, 2 TDs; 22.30 fantasy points
This past week was an excellent time to be a fan of Green Bay’s runners. Each of them not only got a bundle of touches, but they made plays happen whenever they were given the opportunity.
Lacy was the bigger story — and the one we should take note of most. He received 25 touches and used those to chip away at and demoralize the Cowboys defense. It was the type of rushing day where he didn’t even need a touchdown to make fantasy players happy (but those playing him were definitely happy to get that one at the end).
While I expect Lacy to do well again, I think the emphasis of the play-calling will shift somewhat. Instead of forcing the ball down Oakland’s throat all day, I think the run will act more so as a way to influence the defense and bring more players into the box to stop them. Doing that will open the passing game to have a strong day.
For that idea to be successful, the run game will need some success, so a modest amount of yardage with a score seems to be a reasonable prediction.
As for Starks, it was an even better day. In my previous fantasy article I mentioned how he could grab a TD through his work in the screen game — which he did. What I didn’t foresee was the level of production he added as a runner, putting up good yardage despite about half the touches Lacy received.
I doubt it’ll be as great of a day for him this time around, for two reasons.
First off, Starks is the backup. Simply due to that, he stands to accrue less touches. Less touches usually equal less production, and the odds of him managing to provide a larger fantasy performance two weeks in a row would be a risky bet at best.
Secondly, a big part of what has provided him consistent production may not be utilized as often; namely, the screen game. In recent weeks, Green Bay has been using screens more often to combat the injury and ineffectiveness issues elsewhere, with Starks being the main contributor on screens. It was one of the first aspects mentioned by Raiders coaches coming into the week, so they will be as alert to it as anyone.
Though you likely weren’t considering starting Starks, that reasoning should be enough to cement that idea for you.
Week 15 Predictions:
Lacy – 75 rushing yards, 10 receiving yards, 1 TD; 14.50 fantasy points
Starks – 30 rushing yards, 15 receiving yards; 4.50 fantasy points
Verdicts: Base-level Starter (Lacy); The Backup (Starks)