36 Inches Equals 60 Yards

Steven Jackson is being drafted behind Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew despite rushing for more yards.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Attention all you math wizards, statistical gurus and fantasy owners! In fantasy football, 36 inches can equal 60 yards-or-more.

I am talking about the one-yard touchdown run.

In a league where a rushing touchdown is equal to six points and 10 rushing yards equals one point, that short one-yard scamper is worth the same as a 60- yard run. Or in the case of a quarterback, the run is equal to his throwing 150 passing yards (25 yards passing = one point).

The art of the red zone carry and corresponding short touchdown run has a huge effect on a running back's fantasy value.

Why else would Steven Jackson and his 1,416 rushing yards last season be worth so much less than Adrian Peterson's 1,383-yard effort or Maurice Jones-Drew's 1,391-yard season?

Steven Jackson is being drafted in the middle of the second round (RapidDraft ADP 15.7) while "MJD" and "AP" are going second and third, respectively.

The answer is the short touchdown run.

While Peterson scored 14 times from inside the five-yard line and Jones-Drew crossed the goal line seven times from that distance, the Rams' star running back could only muster three scores from close range.

Ryan Grant scored from inside the five eight times last season which explains why his 1,253-yard season is so much better in the eyes of fantasy owners than Cedric Benson's 1,251 yards. Grant is being selected in the third round (ADP 34.2), while Benson is being drafted at the end of the fourth round (ADP 47.6).

How will this help you in your upcoming draft?

It's a matter of knowing which teams have a short-yardage specialist who will "steal" your workhorse running back's glory and which running backs will be rewarded with the easy touchdown to "pad" his stats.

We are all aware that Willis McGahee took a lot of potential touchdowns away from Ray Rice last season. The exact numbers are Rice - one touchdown run of five yards or less, McGahee seven. But how about Tim Hightower - seven, versus Chris "Beanie" Wells - three.

In Kansas City, you must beware of Thomas Jones getting the short-yardage touchdowns that Jamaal Charles sets up. Jones had 14 touchdowns last season in New York, nine of them from close range.

Brandon Jacobs had 12 short scoring runs in 2008, but just four last season. Meanwhile, Ahmad Bradshaw scored five times from five yards-or-less. Which could explain why Bradshaw (ADP 79.9) is getting more "respect" than Jacobs (86.1) this season.

And despite disappointing fantasy owners in 2009 as a first-round pick, LaDainian Tomlinson had 12 touchdowns, nine from inside the five. Those owners thinking Shonn Greene will get all the red zone work in New York, might be surprised.

Here are some more things to think about;

Minnesota backup running back, rookie Toby Gerhart, scored 27 touchdowns in 2009 at Stanford and at 6'1" 235 lbs is bigger than Peterson.

Felix Jones had zero touchdowns from inside the five last year, while Marion Barber, despite all his well-documented struggles, scored six times.

Pierre Thomas only scored once from "in close" in 2009, while Mike Bell scored four times. Bell is now in Philadelphia.

Chris Johnson's backup in Tennessee, Javon Ringer scored 22 touchdowns in his senior year at Michigan State.

2009 Top NFL Runners from Five Yards Out
Player Team Gms TDs
Adrian Peterson MIN 16 14
Thomas Jones NYJ 16 9
LaDainian Tomlinson SD 14 9
Ryan Grant GB 16 8
Laurence Maroney NE 15 8
Maurice Jones-Drew JAC 16 7
Ricky Williams MIA 16 7
Willis McGahee BAL 16 7
Tim Hightower AZ 16 7
Rashard Mendenhall PIT 16 6
Marion Barber DAL 15 6
Michael Turner ATL 11 6
Joseph Addai IND 15 6
Ronnie Brown MIA 9 6

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