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7-on-7: Sorry, fantasy owners, the James Starks surge has been canceled

Andy Behrens
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James Starks, pre-injury (USA Today Images)

Oh, wait, what? You weren't expecting to ride a James Starks surge in the fantasy playoffs?

OK then. In that case, your world won't be turned upside down by this latest Starks news, first reported on Tuesday by ESPN Milwaukee:

According to an NFL source, Starks was later diagnosed with a knee injury, suffered during Sunday's 23-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, and it's serious enough that he might not play again the rest of the season.

"It's not an ACL," the source said, adding that the early evaluation was that the injury would not require surgery.

So the hits just keep comin' for the Packers. This is obviously a tough break for the team and for Starks, who was coming off the best single-game fantasy performance of his career (82 scrimmage yards, TD). Alex Green presumably steps back into the featured role in Green Bay's backfield, where he's previously underwhelmed. The schedule ahead isn't ideal for the Pack, though the Week 16 home matchup vs. Tennessee is friendly enough.

Green Bay is reportedly about to pluck Ryan Grant off the discard pile, but fantasy owners don't need to react to that transaction.

In fact, if you just continue to dismiss the Packers running game altogether, you can probably still have a successful run through the fantasy playoffs. Moving on...

Ben Roethlisberger has a decent chance to return to active duty this week, which would clearly give a nice bump to all Steelers skill players. It sounds like Wednesday is a big practice day for Ben, so we should have a few tea leaves to read later in the afternoon...

Today may be the most important practice. [Mike] Tomlin said it will "provide some clarity for us and we will be able to make firm decisions."

Last week, Roethlisberger threw softly and never participated in team drills. Tomlin declared him out on Friday.

Darren McFadden is bursting! Or rather, he's looking good in practices and "bursting off the foot," according to his position coach. So that seems like good news. DMC is expected back for the Thursday night game against the Broncos, and he'll bring his career-low 3.3 YPC average with him. Marcel Reece is dealing with a few dings and tweaks at the moment (hamstring, quadriceps), though he was still a limited participant in Tuesday's practice.

It sounds as if Montell Owens will draw the start at running back this week for the Jags, when Jacksonville hosts the Jets. MJD still has foot issues, Rashad Jennings is concussed, and Jalen Parmele is groined. Owens did little of note against Buffalo in Week 13 (7-29-0), in the friendliest possible matchup. It's tough to view him as anything more than a desperation heave this week.

The Bears defense is likely to be without Tim Jennings and Brian Urlacher for multiple weeks, so if for some reason you still thought of that unit as the league's best ... well, stop it. It's time to dial down the enthusiasm. The loss of Jennings in particular seems rough, as he's been perhaps the most opportunistic player (8 INTs) on a ridiculously opportunistic D (20 INTs, 18 FFum).

Andy Reid indicated on Wednesday that LeSean McCoy is still dealing with concussion symptoms, two-and-a-half weeks after he was injured in the final minutes of a blowout loss. Here's hoping Shady gets right, soon. It would hardly be a surprise if McCoy were shut down for the year, which of course would mean a full helping of breakout star Bryce Brown.

Donald Brown has already been ruled out for Week 14, just in case any of you were still interested in him. In all likelihood, you weren't. But in this last bullet, I just really wanted to write about anything other than the Jets quarterback situation, which remains a big steaming green mess.

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