2012 Team Outlook: Green Bay

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2012 Team Outlook: Green Bay

A fantasy football preview of the Packers this year. Profiled players include Aaron Rodgers, Graham Harrell, James Starks, John Kuhn, and Alex Green.

Everyone already knows how great Rodgers is. He threw for a career high 4,643 passing yards and had 48 total TDs. Green Bay led the league with 560 points scored. Rodgers is still in the prime of his career and is without question the top quarterback in the NFL. He didn't even play in Week 17 and was likely your league's top scorer regardless. The reigning MVP will be one of the first picks in your draft, so don't expect him to last long.

Update (8/8): If fantasy owners want to land Rodgers, they'd best have one of the first four or five picks in their draft. The former Cal standout is still universally considered the top quarterback in fantasy football. At the age of 28, he may be entering his prime.

Graham Harrell has bounced between Green Bay's practice squad and the real life waiver wire twice. The former Texas Tech quarterback will be competing against B.J. Coleman, the Packers' seventh round selection. Neither player is worth drafting since Aaron Rodgers isn't going anywhere, but it will be interesting to see who earns the backup role. At the very least, Harrell is the early favorite to start in Week 17 if Green Bay decides to sit Rodgers again.

The running back position in Green Bay is bit of a formality. They do run the ball about 20 times per game, but this is a pass-first offense. James Starks had 133 carries last year compared to Ryan Grant's 134. Grant is out of the picture (which is great for Starks), but it's not as though Starks will see 250-plus carries. Starks is a low-end RB2 with some bonus value in PPR leagues. Starks is a nice option as long as he isn't a reach.

Update (8/12): The Packers have signed running back Cedric Benson because of Starks' turf toe injury which is considered "week-to-week."

Update (08/27): Benson will begin the season as Green Bay's starting running back. Starks will likely be used as a change-of-pace second option when fully healthy.

John Kuhn is the poacher of touchdowns. He did manage to score six times, but there's no predicting it. Kuhn might only touch the football two or three times per game, so he's hardly a reliable fantasy player. He'll touch the ball around the end zone as a checkdown option. In Week 14, he did accumulate 10 carries for 46 yards, so in emergency situations he can be the primary back. Kuhn is definitely not the handcuff option behind James Starks.

Even though Alex Green is battling back from ACL surgery and most would consider him a total non-factor, he has the highest potential to be the RB2 for the Green Bay Packers. This third round pick from the University of Hawaii has a good all-around game. There's no hard evidence that James Starks can handle or stay healthy through 200-plus touches, which means someone is going to see more playing time from this backfield. Green is on track to be healthy for training camp and could surprise some folks should Starks be sidelined.

Update (08/27): Green is close to 100-percent now that he is nine months removed from ACL surgery. He will likely be the Packers' third option behind Cedric Benson and James Starks when he's healthy again.

With the recent news that Benson will be joining the Packers, his presence throws off the power structure of the depth chart. James Starks is still in the driver's seat as the team's featured back but Green Bay didn't bring in the former Cincinnati Bengals back to merely collect a check on the sidelines. Keep in mind that Benson isn't a great fit for this spread attack yet he should get a lot of work around the goal-line. The eight-year veteran is a player worth monitoring as a potential sleeper if he manages to overtake Starks on the depth chart, especially since the running back position is so thin this season.

Update (08/27): The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently reported that a few sources around the league involved with personnel feel Benson was a great addition and could provide the team with its best season from a running back since Ahman Green in 2006.