As I was walking down the hallway today, I heard this loud destructive sound from the distance. I flinched for a moment, then realized it was the dynasty value of James Starks crashing down as the Packers are reportedly poised to sign Cedric Benson tonight.
Dynasty owners were cautiously hoping Starks could develop into the lead back for Green Bay this season and be a nice RB3 or flex option for their team. After all, the Packers opted not to really address the position in the draft, nor did they sign a notable veteran this off-season. Starks has always looked fairly ordinary as a runner, but there was always an element of hope with him. After all, even a pedestrian runner can have value in an offense as dynamic as the Packers employ.
Reports started to surface a couple of weeks ago that Starks was struggling in camp and failing to develop the way Green Bay had hoped. He played in the first preseason game and struggled mightily, rushing for just 16 yards on five carries. He also muffed a handoff and dropped a pass. Apparently, the Packers have seen enough to panic.
Benson has never been the back he was expected to be after being drafted out of Texas, but he’s a veteran and he’s reliable with three straight 1,000 yard seasons on his resume. If he does indeed sign with Green Bay, he should immediately be inserted as the starter and get a healthy dose of carries. The Packers offense will always run through Aaron Rodgers, but Benson could carve out another 1,000 yard season and provide a handful of touchdowns to merit value of a RB3 or even a low-end RB2 with any luck. If this signing happens, Benson is the perfect player to have if you’re a competing team as he could provide some bye week insurance or be a spot play if needed – he’s certainly not going to carry your team, however.
For Starks, this would be a death blow to his dynasty value. The Packers obviously don’t have enough faith in his ability to hand him the keys to the castle and he’s going to be no better than a change of pace back with Benson in the fold. After Benson departs, you can surely bet the Packers would look elsewhere for their running back of the future. Simply put, he’s had his chance and squandered it.
As for the other Green Bay running backs, Benson’s impending addition wouldn’t bode well for them, either. Alex Green was a sleeper for many coaches out there who believed Starks wouldn’t be able to perform well enough to keep the job. Unfortunately, Benson’s addition throws some cold water on his short term value. Perhaps he can spend the year developing and be in the mix to be the back of the future in Green Bay, but the odds of him doing that have decreased. Regardless, if the Packers believed Green was all the way back from injury and ready to carry the load any time soon, they’d have no interest in Benson right now. Brandon Saine and Marc Tyler also take a hit in value.
The apparent signing of Benson will surely make Starks’ ranking tumble in virtually every format. He was our #35 running back in our recent rankings, but that won’t last long now. As for Benson, he’ll get an apparent second lease on life and finds himself in a nice situation. The signing also doesn’t do much for the value of Ryan Grant. What does it say about what the Packers feel about Grant since they chose Benson over him even though he knows the offense inside and out?
Things are happening quickly – keep it here at DLF to stay up to date all year long.