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Fantasy Football 2012: RBs That Will Outplay Current Draft Positions

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 25:  Donald Brown #31 of the Indianapolis Colts runs the ball against the Washington Redskins during a preseason game at FedExField on August 25, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2012

The best way to identify potential sleeper selections ahead of a fantasy football draft is to look at the various average draft position tools and pick out players that are going too low. It really helps build a more well-rounded team.

One area where finding steals will be especially important this season is running back. With quarterbacks and wide receivers on the rise, finding good value at RB in the middle rounds will be crucial to fantasy success.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some backs that aren't getting the type of respect they deserve in drafts so far and are worth targeting after building a team foundation.

 

Beanie Wells

Wells is coming off a season in which he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, which is normally a sign he would become a hot fantasy commodity. Instead, he's being widely overlooked and is still available in the sixth round on average.

One of the main concerns often expressed about Wells is his durability, but it's important to note he has only missed five games in three years, which isn't terrible for a running back. His production upside outweighs that risk by Round 6.

Since the Arizona Cardinals have serious concerns at the quarterback position, Wells should be leaned on early and often once the regular season begins. That makes him a sneaky pick.

 

Cedric Benson

Right now, Benson is getting drafted in the eighth round, but that's surely going to rise in the coming weeks. One reason he's slipped below the radar so far is because people are still relying on print draft guides and think James Starks is going to be the lead back for the Green Bay Packers.

After Starks got off to a lackluster start in training camp, the Packers decided to sign Benson as an insurance policy and he's impressed the coaching staff. It would be a surprise if he doesn't line up with the starting unit in Week 1.

Even though the Packers will still feature a pass-heavy offensive approach, Benson should be a valuable source of touchdowns with close to 1,000 yards.

 

Donald Brown

While the Indianapolis Colts offense will be a work in progress with new quarterback Andrew Luck taking the reins, the pieces are in place to outperform expectations. That includes Brown, who averaged nearly five yards per carry last season.

The Colts have remained committed to Brown for a while, so he's going to get every opportunity to lock down the starting job. In fantasy football, any full-time starting running back is worth owning due to all of the timeshare situations.

He's currently being selected outside of the top 100, which translates to the middle of the eighth round, and should make owners who grab him that late very happy.

 

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