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The art of the red zone carry
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's amazing how a 1-yard run can turn a poor afternoon into an acceptable one. Or an average day into a great day. When it's a short touchdown plunge, of course.

In the fantasy world, a touchdown run, even one from an inch away, is worth six points or the equivalent of 60 yards rushing. Or 150 yards passing in most leagues.

On Sunday, there were four examples of the 1-yard TD run changing the entire outlook of a player's fantasy performance.

Sunday night saw Houston's Arian Foster struggle for every yard against an inspired Green Bay defense. In fact, he averaged just 1.7 yard on 17 attempts. But fantasy owners were buoyed by two 1-yard carries into the end zone and the Texans star running back finished an awful evening with a not-so-bad 16 fantasy points.

Buffalo's Fred Jackson and Washington's Alfred Morris owners also turned sub- par performances into mediocrity by way of the 1-yard run.

Meanwhile in Baltimore, Ray Rice added two 1-yard touchdown runs to a very average 106 combined yards from scrimmage to finish the day as the No. 2 running back for the week behind the New York Jets' Shonn Greene.

There have been players in the past who made their living primarily with the 1-yard TD run.

In 2010, San Diego fullback Mike Tolbert scored 11 times, none from more than eight yards out and six times from the 1-yard line. He finished the season as the No. 19 fantasy running back.

Back in 1984, Pete Johnson arrived in Miami to join the Dan Marino aerial circus. While Johnson rushed for just 159 yards that season, he scored nine times. The longest of the nine touchdown runs was three yards.

And, of course, there was the case of "The Bus," Jerome Bettis who turned it into an art form. A great runner early in his career with both Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, his final few years in the "Steel City" were as a red zone specialist. Over his last four seasons he failed to crack the 1,000-yard mark and averaged just 696 yards a season, but scored 38 times to keep him as a viable fantasy running back. In 2005, his final season, he rushed for just 368 yards, but scored nine times and was still an RB3.

If you are desperate for running back help due to injury or bye weeks and can't find a quality guy off the waiver wire who will rush for 100 yards, try searching for the guy who will be given the ball at the 1-yard run.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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