Running Backs to Add
James Starks, Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy (ankle) is banged up again, so there is the potential for Starks to start for the Packers in an ideal championship matchup against the Chicago Bears, who are dead last in the NFL against the run. Even if Lacy plays, he figures to be limited. That will mean some production for Starks owners, regardless. Add Starks in all leagues before your opposition does.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
He doesn’t get all of the carries for the Pats, not with Stevan Ridley out of the doghouse and Shane Vereen as the passing-down back. Blount does get the important carries, though. The Pats look committed to going to a power running game now with Rob Gronkowski (knee) out, and Blount is the power back to do it. He should get in the end zone at least once against the Buffalo Bills in Week 17.
Running Backs to Monitor
Edwin Baker, Cleveland Browns
The Browns are getting a look at this former practice-squad back, and they have to like what they are seeing. He rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Jets’ highly rated run defense. The Steelers are not a great matchup in Week 17 for him, but at least Baker looks prepared to handle a full-time load for the Browns and fantasy owners now.
Jonathan Grimes, Houston Texans
With Dennis Johnson (hip) questionable, the Texans have already announced Grimes will be the starter this weekend against the Tennessee Titans. If you’re looking for a starting back with a favorable matchup—the Titans are fourth worst against fantasy running backs—Grimes is it.
Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans
If you don’t own Greene by now, odds are you shouldn’t be trusting him in a crucial Week 17 matchup. The Titans split the carries between Chris Johnson and Greene last week, but we should expect the Texans to play better against the run than the Jacksonville Jaguars did last Sunday. Greene is merely good for a short touchdown this week.
Running Backs to Ignore
Michael Cox, New York Giants
Andre Brown (concussion) might be ruled out, so Cox could get the start if the Giants don’t turn to veteran Peyton Hillis. Cox is a rookie with limited upside, so consider him only out of desperation in the deepest of leagues.
Chris Polk, Philadelphia Eagles
Polk reached the end zone Sunday, but LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown are still healthy and ahead of Polk on the depth chart. He doesn’t project to get enough touches to impact fantasy leagues in the final week.