As you rigorously prepare and research leading into each week of DFS, injuries are always going to change the landscape. “Next Man Up” is a series that examines players who are now being propelled into the starting role (thus creating a larger opportunity for that player), whether it be via injury, or simply a change to the depth chart. 

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James Starks — RB, Green Bay Packers

Through the Packers’ first six games, whatever is going on with Eddie Lacy, it’s not good.

Lacy had been a fantasy stud in his first two seasons in Green Bay — accumulating over 3,000 yards from scrimmage and 24 total touchdowns. That hasn’t been the case lately.

The Packers are still 6-0, so there’s been no reason to bring any heat on Lacy thus far. As they say, winning heals all, but if you’ve been investing in Lacy in the fantasy world, it’s unlikely you’ve been doing much winning yourself.

After rushing for 85 yards and his only touchdown of the season in Week 1, Lacy injured his ankle in Week 2, and things haven’t been the same. The power-back has totaled just 244 all-purpose yards with zero scores since the team’s opener, even though he seems to have been given the chance to earn his full workload back.

James Starks has been average on the whole this season, but as the featured RB, he’s been a huge boost to the Green Bay offense. When Lacy made an early departure in Week 2, Starks filled in, rushing for 95 yards and making four catches out of the backfield. Starks and Lacy both remained pretty silent when they were in a timeshare — Lacy out-touched Starks 46-37 in Lacy’s first three games post-ankle injury.

Week 6 became the tipping point. Lacy took four carries for just three yards, and was out-touched by Starks 11-6. Starks was able to make the most of the opportunity, and produce what Lacy had been unable to — 117 total yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Packers are entering their bye week, so it’s always possible that Lacy can get healthy (assuming the ankle injury is the problem) and return to the role that we all expected him to unquestionably hold. However, the coaches have all preached about getting Starks more touches going forward. After Sunday’s performance, James Starks appears in line to be the featured RB for one of the NFL’s top offenses.

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