If James Starks and Brandon Saine are out, play Ryan Grant. If two are active, sit both
The Green Bay Packers running back situation is tricky this week
By: Corby Yarbrough | 12/18/11, 8:48 AM EST
Green Bay Packers running backs James Starks (ankle) and Brandon Saine (concussion) are game-time decisions in Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs. And this makes the status of the aforementioned as well as Ryan Grant completely up in the air in regards to their use in fantasy football.
It’s the semifinals of the fantasy football playoffs for most, and game-time decision is not something we like hearing this time of year. We are already biting our nails with every decision we make anyway, and having already had two games in the books on Thursday and Saturday that we may or may have not chosen wisely makes setting your rosters in the next few hours even more crucial.
I was completely off about Ryan Grant as the lead back last week against Oakland. Saine’s concussion certainly helped Grant get more looks, but he hadn’t done anything all season, the Packers’ backs hadn’t done anything all season and Grant busts off a 47-yard TD run in the first three minutes and then scores on a 6-yarder in the middle of the second quarter.
Grant finished with two scores and 85 yards on 10 carries. Starks’ one TD in Week 1 was the only other TD a Green Bay feature back had scored this season, and the Packers, despite beating teams by an average of 13.2 points per game coming into the Oakland beatdown, were 22nd in rushing attempts per game at 25.7 and 29th in rushing yards per game (96.5). Guess that philosophy changed against the 28th-ranked Raiders.
If Grant is the only back available in Week 15, you might as well roll with him again.
The Packers will be without No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings but have plenty of other targets for Aaron Rodgers to find and keep the offense moving just as efficiently as they have all season. And they should be up again on a Chiefs team that allows 23.5 points per game (23rd), 341.8 yards per game (15th), 209.3 yards per game in the air (10th) and 132.5 yards per game on the ground (26th).
The Chiefs are seventh worst against fantasy running backs this season and have allowed 133.4 yards rushing per game and 41 yards receiving per game with three scores to the position over the last five weeks.
But if Saine can return, he steals looks from Grant and has better hands out of the backfield. If Starks returns, we already know how that worked with Grant and Starks together — Grant was practically invisible.
Starks reportedly had trouble getting his ankle to respond this week and did not practice. Saine did not practice this week, either. If the 13-0 Packers feel they can get it done against the 5-8 Chiefs with Grant and fullback John Kuhn alone, and they should be able too, then there would be no reason for a playoff team to risk the health of their two younger backs.
This is one of those games where if all three are active I avoid all three as you did all season prior to Starks’ injury, but if Grant is the only one then he’s a must play as a flex at worst.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter
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