Two under-the-radar running backs deserve your attention

      October 31, 2013 @ 10:46:28 PDT


There are several big-name fantasy players coming back from injury shortly that should already be on rosters. Nicholas Minnix touched on them a few weeks ago.

Tennessee Titans RB Shonn Greene
Titans going Greene

It's just a reminder not to forget about or give up on guys that could help you in the second half of the season or in the fantasy playoffs on your way to capturing the league title. The first eight weeks are history, and plenty will change in the next eight. Adapt or die, as they say.

Here are two names you've probably written off already that could become relevant again as we near the playoffs in your league. If anything, they can be useful as running back depth, but they just may be that all-important bye week or injury filler that pushes you over the top.

RB James Starks, Green Bay Packers: The losses of Randall Cobb (fractured fibula) and Jermichael Finley (spinal contusion) have led Green Bay to rely more than ever on their running game - and it's succeeding. The Packers rank third in the league with 141.1 ground yards per game. Eddie Lacy is leading the charge and tops the NFL with 395 rushing yards in the last four weeks. He'll remain the lead back.

Starks is back in the picture after missing around a month with a knee ailment, and he looked healthy and fresh in his seven-carry, 57-yard, one-TD performance last week. Mike McCarthy would like to ease the burden on Lacy down the stretch, meaning Starks' workload should gradually increase down the stretch.

The matchup in Week 9's Monday night showdown against the Chicago Bears is a perfect opportunity to play Starks, too; the Bears' interior run defense has been atrocious due to multiple injuries to key starters.

Pick Starks up immediately as a handcuff to Lacy or if you're hurting at the position. Starks is owned in only 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues at the moment.

RB Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans: Similar to how the Packers plan to involve Starks more, Titans head coach Mike Munchak said yesterday that he hopes to give Green around 15 carries against the St. Louis Rams Sunday. Greene, like Starks, has been limited to just five carries for 20 yards in two games this year due to knee ailments.

Johnson continues to be a disappointment, though, with his lack of vision and hesitance to hit the holes when they're available. He's averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, the lowest mark of his career by almost a full yard. While Greene may not see as many as 15 carries per game to complement Johnson, the bump in PT and touches should be noted. His usage could increase on a week-to-week basis, too, if Johnson continues to sputter.

Greene, who is owned in only 11 percent of Yahoo! leagues, could be a sneaky play this weekend against the Rams. Despite their impressive showing and domination of a weak Seattle Seahawks offensive line last Monday, the Rams are still allowing 108.5 rushing yards per game and 25.5 attempts.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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