Underrated 2012 fantasy RBs

Matt Forte is back with the Chicago Bears, but how high should he be drafted? Kyle Terada/US Presswire

Joyner: Underrated fantasy QBs | RBs | Kiper: Top rookie picks, sleepers

With early-round quarterback draft-day values increasing, it stands to reason that early-round running back values are decreasing.

The most recent average draft position charts show this to be the case. Running backs do comprise three of the first five picks in most draft rooms, but they also constitute only seven of the first 19 picks.

That would make it seem like valued running backs will be plentiful this year, but the truth is the draft composition has to do as much with the high volume of question marks among top-flight ball carriers as any other factor.

This means finding draft-day values among fantasy running backs is still a difficult proposition that requires playing the percentages.

Here are six running backs whose ADP and projected performance combine to put percentages in their favor and make them undervalued fantasy prospects.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
ADP: 9.9 (ranked fifth among running backs)

Johnson is a candidate to be the best running back in fantasy football this year yet is currently being selected with the 10th pick in most draft rooms.

Some of that has to do with his struggles during the 2011 campaign, but as noted in this recent Insider article, a lot of those woes had to do with the early-season transition the Titans' offense was going through under new offensive coordinator Chris Palmer. Once the transition started to take hold, Johnson got back to his formerly dominant production levels.