Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/15/12

In a recent post on ESPN.com, Kevin Seifert suggested that the Packers have “committed” to RB James Starks which raises the question of whether or not Starks could perhaps wind up being a breakout player in 2012.

At first glance, many fantasy owners would immediately say no. Green Bay is one of the most prolific passing offenses in the NFL which usually renders any RB hopeful a potential bust; regardless of talent.

As if that isn’t enough, one could easily mention Starks’ penchant for injury into the debate which makes him a potential liability to even the most savvy fantasy owner.

But let’s not judge a book by its cover.

If the Packers have in fact committed to Starks, then we have to speculate just what that commitment entails if we are to fully comprehend the potential fantasy value of James Starks in 2012.

Read and React:

The Green Bay Packers were the 3rd best passing team in the NFL last season averaging 34.5 pass attempts per game. Conversely, the Packers were ranked 27th on the ground averaging 24.7 rushes per game.

Despite those rankings, the Packers still tried vehemently in 2011 to incorporate a serviceable ground game in an attempt to keep things balanced on offense. But injuries and inconsistent play out of the backfield limited and relegated this team to only 1,558 total team rushing yards (good for only a 3.9 average) with only 12 rushing TDs.

In addition to that, the lack of a consistent ground game helped contribute to the 41 sacks the Packers allowed.

The Packers want to run the ball more. If the Packers can accomplish establishment of a potent ground game, the better they can manage the game, protect their quarterback and ultimately add to an already dangerous offense.

So how does this translate to Fantasy Football and James Starks?

Potential, Potential, Potential:

There was a reason the Packers drafted James Starks out of UB in the sixth round. Starks was a standout at Buffalo, plain and simple. Starks set a career rushing record with 3,140 yards with 40 total touchdowns, while registering back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons as a sophomore and junior. Starks was also one of the best backs in the MAC—as well as the nation—and became the first 1,000-yard rusher in the Bulls’ Division I-A era.

In short, the Packers saw tremendous potential and rightfully so.

In 2010/2011, after a stint on the PUP list, Starks made his first big mark in the NFL breaking the Packers rookie post-season rushing record against Philadelphia in the 2011 NFC Wild Card game (23-123-0-5.3 ypc) showing a glimmer of what he can do if he remains healthy.

Against a stout Eagles defense ranked 8th overall (10th against the pass), the Packers found tremendous value in a potent ground game, which helped keep the Eagles pass defenders off-kilter with their overall scheme.

The Packers would not have beaten the Eagles without Starks.

The potential for Starks to become more than “just another running back” is huge. Not only because of what he is capable of, but also because he can potentially give the team what they need.

This potential—this untapped capability—becomes an interesting aspect for fantasy owners to pay attention to especially with camp rolling around shortly.

An Early Conclusion?

Let’s assume James Starks stays healthy for a full 16. In my opinion, the Packers are undoubtedly going to use him far more than they did in 2011—it just makes sense to do so.

If this does become the case, then yes, I believe James Starks falls into the outer realm of breakout candidate.

Don’t worry though. This does not mean a decreased value in any of the Packers receivers or even Aaron Rodgers, in fact, it could even slightly enhance their overall potential as well.

Think of it this way. The Packers NEED a consistent ground game to compliment the clinic they put on each week through the air, and Starks has MORE than enough potential to be that guy in Green Bay.

And for a RB who is currently projecting as a late sixth-round selection, you technically can’t fail grabbing him, even if he doesn’t “breakout”.

But even if the selection does seem like a risk, the potential reward more than compensates the latter.

I say breakout candidate in 2012.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Fantasy Knuckleheads.

var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

SEC commissioner shoots down Bielema's SEC/Big Ten idea

South Carolina LB Skai Moore will miss season with neck injury

Report: Nick Van Exel will join Grizzlies coaching staff

Denver Broncos WR and girlfriend end up arrested

Chris Berman may end up with emeritus-type role at ESPN


Not one, but two position players take the mound for the Padres

Report: Will Smith’s blood alcohol level three times over limit when he was fatally shot

Report: Kings’ Darren Collison arrested for domestic violence

Report: Blue Jays acquire reliever Jason Grilli from Braves

Troy Brouwer has thought about signing with the Canucks

Jose Bautista says Rougned Odor was looking for fight before May 16 brawl

Mookie Betts hits three home runs while Bogaerts extends streak

Darryl Strawberry says Mets need to 'get into fights'

Jose Reyes to begin minor league rehab assignment

Jim Harbaugh responds to Nick Saban via Twitter

Raiders had three scuffles during OTA session

John Scott wants to form a World Cup team with snubs, including Phil Kessel

A look at who’s hot and who’s not heading into the summer tournaments

Durant, Westbrook and the right, liberated role players

GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) coming to Netflix as comedy series

San Francisco Giants ask for tax breaks on AT&T Park due to dropping stadium value

Is Anderson Varejao already guaranteed a championship ring?

Why this NBA Finals rematch is different than last year

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why this NBA Finals rematch is different than last year

Defense could play a huge role in who wins the Stanley Cup

Speedy pace of the Penguins-Sharks Stanley Cup Final

How expanded instant replay has hurt the NBA

Best regular-season NBA teams not to win a championship

Every time an NBA team came back from a 3-1 deficit (and what it means for the Warriors)

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

The five most disappointing MLB teams this season

QUIZ: Identify these NHL Hall of Famers by their nicknames

QUIZ: Name every winner of the Belmont Stakes since 1867

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker