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Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Updated: August 3, 12:31 PM ET
Book Excerpt: Why Fantasy Football Matters

Special to ESPN Fantasy Games

From the book, "Why Fantasy Football Matters (And Our Lives Don't)." Text (c) 2006 by Erik Barmack and Max Handelman. Reprinted by permission of Simon Spotlight Entertainment, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., NY.

In "Why Fantasy Football Matters (And Our Lives Do Not)," two grizzled veterans revel in the addiction that is fantasy football. From pre-draft hijinx to post-draft trash talk, from tumultuous trades to the perils of free agency, it celebrates the eccentric personalities, absurd rituals, and hilarious superstitions of one of the most fanatical fantasy leagues on earth.

Chapter Three - The Draft

"Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War, ca. 500 B.C.

A successful draft goes beyond selecting the best players. You must also understand your fellow drafters. They're your enemies, and they all have specific strengths, weaknesses, and buttons to be pushed. Knowing their drafting tendencies will put you at a distinct advantage.

But to do so requires understanding the profound psychodynamics of fantasy football. We've spent countless hours diagramming the personalities of our fellow Bush League managers, and we believe that among all the different, zany, and unpredictable drafters out there, consistencies can be found. Patterns emerge. And, if you concentrate hard enough, even the savviest drafter becomes predictable.

The Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter
The Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter is a peasant thrown to the lions for our amusement. He means well, has a good heart, and tries in earnest. But a man is only as good as his weaponry, and this guy has come armed with a meager slingshot and pebbles.

And the inevitable result of this flaccid bit of drafting artillery often leads to him selecting a retired, cut, or injured player. Remarkably, that guy is often Ricky Watters. We can't explain why.

Players Taken By The Out of Date Cheat Sheet Drafter
1. Earnest Byner
2. Ricky Watters
3. Carl Pickens
4. Antonio Freeman
5. Barry Sanders
6. Jamal Anderson
7. Mark Duper
8. Irving Fryar
9. John Riggins
10. Billy "White Shoes" Johnson

How could this happen? Most often, this drafter is simply lazy. And his laziness leads him to a batch of fantasy football magazines that go to print a week after the previous season's Super Bowl. Seeking verification for his purchase, our sheep-like friend eyes the "Sell By" date of early fall that suggests the information remains current up through his draft.

Evil, evil magazines, they are.

The manner by which these fantasy rags fall into the Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter's hands is quite innocuous, but tragically predictable. At ten AM, pinching the bridge of his nose, he enters the local Target with his fiancée to buy a gift for her friend's baby shower. But once inside, she careens off course, and starts jibber-jabbering about wicker baskets.

The Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter tries to tune her out, but now she's picking her way through a bunch of chintzy "home furnishings." This is his cue to shuffle over to the magazine rack and play time off the clock.

At first, he thumbs through Newsweek, and feigns outrage at a potential Supreme Court nominee. Then he turns his attention to the lad magazines - Maxim, FHM, and Loaded. He scans an interview with D-list "actress," Alissa Milano, who is seeking more "intellectualmalized" roles.

Then, finally, it happens. His eyes fall to the cheaply made covers of fantasy football magazines that are placed next to Hot Rod and Guns & Ammo. Like a spider to a fly, he's drawn into their web of deceit. With articles proclaiming the soon to be out-for-the-season David Boston as this year's breakout wide receiver and projections for a monster year from Ricky Williams, the trap is sprung.

On draft day, the Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter's train wreck is easy to identify. Simply listen for the rapid rustling of papers. This is the sound of the Out-of-Date Cheatsheet Drafter flailing. Sure, he'll be fine like everyone else in the beginning. But he'll start to unravel by Round Six.

You'll know it's happening when you hear this conversation:

Commissioner: Yo, it's your pick.

Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter: Oh, um, right. [shuffle, shuffle] Okay. Let's see, um, I'll, uh, go with Joe Horn.

Commissioner: He was taken. Three rounds ago.

Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter: Oh. [rustle, rustle] Um, okay well, how about, hmm, no, wait, yes. [shuffle, rustle] Okay, how about Dorsey Levens? Is he still available? [shuffle]

Commissioner: The Eagles cut him two days ago. Pick someone else.

Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter: [more rapid rustling] He was? [shuffle, rustle] I wonder why he's on my cheat sheet?

Commissioner: Stop stalling and pick. Pick someone. Anyone.

Out-of-Date Cheat Sheet Drafter: [now completely flustered] Fine. [shuffle, rustle, shuffle] I'll take [rustle, rustle, rustle] Ricky Watters.

Commissioner: [giggle] Fine. He's all yours. Gentlemen, Ricky Watters is off the board.

It's now curtains for the Out-of-Date Cheatsheet Drafter. He's been exposed. He's rustled and shuffled his papers, and now he's the owner of the retired Ricky Watters. If only he hadn't been seduced by the All-Pro, All-Star Fantasy Review.

The Over-Prepared Egghead
The Over-Prepared Egghead rolls into the conference room ten minutes before the draft feeling preposterously overconfident. He's out-prepared everyone, conducted more research, and done more analysis. There isn't a statistic he doesn't know.

He scans the room, slow-blinking at everyone. Then he fires up his laptop, and taps rapidly on his keyboard. Up pops a slew of numbers, complicated formulas, and colored charts. None of this really means anything, but it looks impressive to the untrained eye. Some managers steal glances at his monitor.

Soon he begins speaking authoritatively about football insiders like Len Pasquarelli, Chris Mortenson, Ron Jaworski, and Peter King. He won't, however, mention anything having to do with Michael Irvin.

Looking up from his computer, the Over-Prepared Egghead glances at others' cheat-sheets, and offers unsolicited advice. He nods, saying, "You like Randle-El, huh? Not bad, not bad - I really think Pittsburgh is going to get creative with the 'Z' position this year." Other managers are forced to nod back and mutter something about the "Z" position, too. Like they get his point. Like he even gets his point. Like anyone in the Bush League understands anything about the "Z" position in Pittsburgh.

Finally, having sensed the increased anxiety in the room due to his various bells and whistles, he assumes his Mr. Burns-like repose. The Over-Prepared Egghead punches one more key, numbers flash on the screen, and, with his chin resting on his peaked hands, he slithers, "Excellent."

As the draft begins, he starts pecking away at the computer, smiling to himself as if there's a joke that only he's in on. When things start going poorly for other drafters, and their confidence sours, the Over-Prepared Egghead may even let fly with various Bill Walton maxims. "That is just terrrrrriiiibbbble," he'll use for starters. Then maybe he'll mix in a "Never mistake activity for achievement" line after another manager spends a long time before whiffing on a pick.

And if he's truly inspired, he may re-enact one of the greatest Walton exchanges ever:

Bill Walton: [following a tough driving basket by John Stockton] John Stockton is one of the true marvels, not just of basketball, or in America, but in the history of Western Civilization!

Tom Hammond: Wow, that's a pretty strong statement. I guess I don't have a good handle on world history.

Bill Walton: [chuckling] Well Tom, that's because you didn't go to UCLA.

Walton's commentary, as it applies to the universe as a whole, is simultaneously brilliant and annoying. Kind of like the Over-Prepared Egghead.

Walton-isms
1. "Tracy McGrady is doing things we've never seen from anybody - from any planet!"
2. "Mick Jagger is in better shape than far too many NBA players. It's up in the air whether the same can be said of Keith Richards."
3. "Eric Piatkowski makes perhaps the greatest defensive play in Clipper history!"
4. On Larry Johnson's lackluster performance in the NBA Finals: "What a pathetic performance by this sad human being. This is a disgrace to the game of basketball and to the NBA. He played like a disgrace tonight. And he deserved it."
5. On his beard: "But you have to understand, my beard is so nasty. I mean, it's the only beard in the history of Western Civilization that makes Bob Dylan's beard look good."

Which leads us to the pervasive irony of his situation: All of his preparation ultimately leads to the Egghead's undoing. His laptop is his nerve center, and he's dependent on his technology. So when the Over-Prepared Egghead's second derivation of an algorithm tells him that Hines Ward is a "value pick" in the second round, he's stuck.

His techno-dependence could lead to other problems. His laptop may freeze, or he may get lost in a flurry of ALT+TABs while monitoring his spreadsheets. With that much data to process, there are simply too many things that could go wrong.

Panic sets in. The Egghead starts punching more violently at his keyboard as his face creeps closer and closer to his screen. But the damage is done. He's lost.

The Father in Misery
If you ever wanted to understand the American Male in Transition - from immature post-college dope to responsible, protective father - you need only observe the guy who drafts with a child in tow.

The task of identifying the Father in Misery is easy. You don't even need to be in the same room. You can hear him over the speakerphone. Simply listen for the giggling, cooing, and crying sounds of a baby. If you hear that, you have your man.

The Father in Misery is a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, he's been preparing for his draft for months. On the other, he's a proud father, embracing his role in caring for his young child.

Unfortunately for him, these positions are incompatible. The center will not hold. And how did he find himself in this situation? The simple answer: his wife..

As with many things in marriage, everything comes down to leverage. And in the Father's case, he has none. Why? Because he's about to spend the next sixteen weeks posted up on his couch, eating pretzels, getting up only to fetch a Coors Light from the fridge.

Yes, for one-third of the year, he'll be a burden to his wife, useless around the house, and setting a bad example for his kid. Three strikes, and he's out. She knows it, his in-laws know it, and even he concedes that he's heading - a la Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney - into choppy waters.

So on the eve of his descent into fantasy football malaise, his wife strikes her final ninja-death blow. She's going out for a night with the ladies, and leaving him with the kid.

Does the Father in Misery mind? No, honey, of course he doesn't mind. He can't mind. Because he's in no position to mind. Whether his wife's evening entails sipping sherry by the fire and discussing Oprah's latest Book of the Month, or going dancing with twenty-year-old boys is immaterial. His fate is sealed. He's drafting with the kid. And not just any kid - a kid who's on the verge of a meltdown.

This is a devastating early setback, and one from which The Father in Misery won't recover. He's like a sprinter in the hotly anticipated Olympic 100 meter dash. All his competitors stretch out as they take the blocks. The starter asks for quiet. The gun goes off. The runners explode from the starting line, and about ten meters into the race, there's always that one guy who jolts up out of stride, grabs his hammy, grimaces, and fades as the other racers tear down the stretch.

That's the Father in Misery. A bad hamstring pull waiting to happen.

Sad but Amusing Sports Injuries
1. Mary Decker Slaney getting knicked by Zola Bud in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
2. Evel Knieval flying over handlebars inside Wembley Stadium
3. Vinko Bokataj's failed ski jump on ABC's "Wide World of Sports"
4. Scottie Pippen's headache in Game 7 against the Detroit Pistons.
5. Thomas Hearns smiling, bobbing around the ring on rubber legs before getting knocked out by Sugar Ray Leonard.
6. Embarrassing Philadelphia Eagle fans cheering as Michael Irvin lay on the turf with a neck injury.
7. Arizona kicker, Bill Grammatica, after hitting a successful Field Goal, pumping his fist and doing a little leap in the air before landing awkwardly and tearing his ACL.

At first, everything seems to be going well. He nails his first few picks, and turns to his child with a big grin. Look at proud papa, will you! He's just bagged his first sleeper! But then the inevitable strikes: the kid, largely ignored, smacks his head against the corner of the dining room table. This leads to a torrent of crying mixed with some whining. Perhaps the child layers in a little more aggressive slapping at his father's cheatsheet, sending pages flying.

The Father is now officially miserable.

He puts the child on his shoulder and pats his back. No luck. Then he goes to the swing-the-baby-in-the-air move. The kid isn't impressed. The shrieking builds. Panicking, he starts bouncing the kid on his knee. But it's too little, too late.

During this battle, The Father in Misery receives a double dose of anxiety: not only is his draft faltering, but he also feels guilty for having such screwed-up priorities. Why can't he be a better father? Why can't he dedicate himself fully to his family? And is fantasy football really so important to him that he'll let his child cry before his very eyes? The answers to these questions are: we don't know, we don't know, and yes.

Amid this flurry of deep thoughts and introspection, his sixth round pick is up. The Father in Misery, having lost track of who's still available, scrambles and takes a tight end, pats his kid on the head, and shuts it down.

His race against time is over.

Kim Jong Il and the Bitter Drafter
There's always one skunk at the garden party. Some guy who's just not happy to be there. On a night that's the equivalent of Christmas Eve for most managers, the Bitter Drafter is expecting coal.

He shuffles into the draft room and takes his seat in silence, his eyes pink and glazed. From time to time, he stares at other managers and shakes his head. While most guys engage in the usual pre-draft hijinks, smack talk, and useless misdirection, he quietly stews.

He looks like Arvydas Sabonis after Rasheed Wallace threw a towel in his face during the Portland Trailblazers' annual playoff meltdown. Sabonis had to be thinking to himself, "I should wipe that dopey birthmark off that howling knucklehead with my big meat hooks, but I'll play it cool."

Don't think Sabonis forgot about that, though.

This year, the Bitter Drafter has it in for one guy. There could be multiple causes for his agitation. Perhaps it was a bad egg salad sandwich at lunch, or perhaps he didn't like the rather pointless Koko B. Ware arm motions the guy did when he made his picks last year. Honestly, we don't even think that the guy knows that the Bitter Drafter is after him. Which is even funnier. Because The Bitter Drafter just might destroy that guy's entire season.

If the Bitter Drafter were an international politician, he'd be North Korean maestro Kim Jong Il - someone who openly disregards the principle of mutually assured destruction. Someone who's happy to wear a dopey beige jump suit and 70s-style tinted eyewear, spout a few lines of discursive propaganda, and sip brandy as global superpowers collide around him.

Dopey Dictators
1. Saddam Hussein (recently retired - Iraq) - A man who tugged on the tail of the sleeping lion one too many times, and got bit; photographed in his underwear for good measure.
2. Fidel Castro (Cuba) - "The revenues of Cuban state-run companies are used exclusively for the benefit of the people, to whom they belong."
3. Muammar al-Qaddafi (Libya) - Punishes entire towns for "collective guilt." Wears fashionable sunglasses.
4. Mobutu (Zaire) - Wore leopard-skin pillbox hat.
5. L. Ron Hubbard - Forced the masses to read "Dianetics"; ultimately led to Tom Cruise bunny-hopping on Oprah's couch.

When it comes to his drafting strategy, all accepted rules of engagement are out the window. The Bitter Drafter derives more satisfaction out of wrecking other people's teams than building his own. Like Kim Jong Il, he uses his irrationality to keep his enemies off-balance, all of which leads to him vulturing players of strategic importance to other teams earlier than he should.

Even if the Bitter Drafter hasn't drafted a starting running back yet, that won't stop him from nabbing perennial backups Maurice Morris or Najeh Davenport. The Bitter Drafter aims to spite. His team is finished before the season even begins. But he's hurt your team, too, and in the sick mind of the Bitter Drafter, that's a sufficient reason to act.

The Ex-College Football Player

The Ex-College Football Player enters a draft with a great deal of respect. He greets guys with his deep baritone voice, rubs his tightly shorn scalp, and smiles that winning smile, save for the chipped right bicuspid.

He circles the War Room in a Nordstrom's suit that's just a bit too tight across the shoulders and a shirt collar that's excessively starched. The crispness of his outfit will come into play late in the draft as his stress builds, and his neck-veins bulge.

If you have an Ex-College Football Player in your league, you know the drill. He was a backup linebacker at Penn State who used to ball with Lavar Arrington. Or he was the long-snapper at Princeton who used to ball the Governor's daughter.

In either case, the dude has skills.

The Ex-College Football Player starts the draft with a string of visionary picks. In the third round, he takes an emerging wide receiver, and says, "My boy James played with this cat in D-II - he says he runs tight routes." Murmurs break out in the draft room. The rest of the Bush League frets over his insider knowledge.

Ultimately, however, he is a sheep in wolf's clothing - dangerous looking but toothless. The Ex-College Football Player evaluates players based on their real skills, as opposed to their far more important fantasy potential. And that's a problem.

The first danger sign is when he adds Cory Schlesinger to his running back stable because "he's a great lead blocker and will be rewarded for his effort with goal line carries." Then he nabs a backup flanker on the Chiefs because he thinks that "his footwork is sharp and Coach Vermeil will need to get him involved in the passing game."

Then he takes Andre Davis because he "likes the work ethic of Virginia Tech players."

Phrases Used By The Ex-College Football Player
1. "I like his burstability."
2. "That guy can do twenty benches at two-twenty-five without sweating."
3. "His hands are the softest of any tight end I've seen in the last ten years."
4. "He elevated his stock at the Combine."
5. "My old position coach loves his can-do attitude."

At this point, the Ex-College Football Player's knowledge, once a key strength, becomes a weakness. Much like the Empire's fearsome "Scout Walkers (AT-ST)" were felled by the Ewoks' primitive ropes and boulders in the forests of Endor, the Ex-College Football Player now starts lurching forward, mired in his own analysis. By the eighth round, he collapses in a heap amid a group of fantasy football Ewoks, a third his size, dancing around and chanting "Yubb, yubb!"

This is how it ends for the Ex-College Football Player. Not with a bang, but with a trip, a stumble, a thud, and a whimper. The starched shirt is now tight around his neck. His once promising team is now in trouble.

But he remains a good sport. He smiles across the table at the geeky half-pints in his league - guys that he could snap like Joe Theismann's fibula - who snicker, snicker again, and then crack one joke after another at the big man's expense.

The Two-Headed Hydra

Every so often you encounter a dual-manager team. The rationale for this pairing is twofold. First, these guys are inherently cheap, and are looking for a way to split the league entry fee. Second, they're under the misguided impression that two heads are better than one. But just as a two-headed hydra spends more time snapping at itself than grabbing extra food, so, too, is this partnership destined for trouble.

The reason it won't work is an absence of leadership. Consider the great military generals throughout history. Did Napoleon have an aide de camp he relied upon when rolling across Europe? Did Eisenhower have a peer issuing commands on the beaches of Normandy? Did George W. Bush have a silent partner calling the shots in the march to war in Iraq?

Okay, don't answer that last one. But you get the point. Great leaders make tough decisions unilaterally. And they alone must live with the results.

By way of contrast, the Two-Headed Hydra believes in consensus-driven management. They've coordinated their first few picks, and may even exchange an audible high-five when "their guy" falls to them at the end of the second round. But even then, fissures start to show.

Hydra #1: Booyah! Dante Culpepper fell to us.
Hydra #2: Solid scouting, partner.
Hydra #1: Booyah!
Hydra #2: Dude, stop yelling "Booyah!" You're hurting my ears.

And so it begins. They're already snapping at each other. Now it's just a matter of time before they disagree on a pick, start debating useless stats, and their system breaks down completely.

If they're calling into the draft, you might hear muffled phone conversations, the ruffling of papers, one insisting that they "stick with the system," and the other arguing that they "follow their gut."

This wasn't the plan. They took a tight end early, and missed out on a slew of running backs. Now they can't agree on anything. When a fellow drafter says, "Hustle up, you're on the clock," they tell him to take it easy. They stall. They hem. They haw.

And then, when everyone tells them to pick - that they have to pick, now -they settle on the dreaded "middle option." So in the sixth round, they take Keyshawn Johnson, a player neither of them could possibly want, which will only lead to more Hydra-snapping for the rest of the draft.

The Guy Who Loves Rookies

There's something odd about the Guy Who Loves Rookies. Coaches don't like rookies. Teammates don't like rookies. Rookies often don't even like rookies. So what does that say about the manager who only drafts young punks for his fantasy football team?

We point to the Tao of Dazed and Confused for a potential answer. In this film, Matthew McConaughy's character wistfully says, "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."

The Guy Who Loves Rookies is obsessed with youth - infatuated with nubile prodigy to near perversion. Rookies offer promise, upside, and excitement.

"I love fresh meat," he announces to no one in particular. He then reinforces his declaration by stating, "Give me young legs, give me young knees."

His obsession for young talent began during his undergrad years. Hours logged watching ESPN's "College Game Day" planted the seed. Kirk Herbstreit shimmered on camera, Lee Corso donned the local college hat and foam finger, and our man got all misty-eyed.

Back then, the hot college player du jour was running through Rutger's turnstile defensive line, and Keith Jackson let fly with a half-dozen "Woah Nellies!" Finally, this rookie was cemented in his mind when, at the NFL Draft, Mel Kiper Jr. uttered some nonsense about how he "grades out" to be the greatest at his position in the last decade. Or, possibly, ever.

Then John Clayton rolled his eyes. Chris Berman gave him a nickname, and the player slow-limped up to the stage in some ill-fitting, six-piece suit equipped with a dangling timepiece. Perhaps he even had a top hat or cane. And just like that, the manager was locked in - that's his guy. He fell in love right there with the rookie's pimpiness.

It's true that the Guy Who Loves Rookies can put together a decent team every three or four years. And yes, few things are more exciting than rolling the dice on a highly touted rookie and coming up with double-sixes. Taking Edgerrin James in 1999 and seeing him run roughshod over the NFL, silver teeth gleaming after one of his seventeen TDs, was better than winning big in Vegas, better than a lap dance at Scores, better, even, than taking a savvy veteran who'd posted equally gaudy numbers the year before.

A Rookie Might Pan Out If ...

1. He isn't a quarterback. Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, and Donovan McNabb all had miserable rookie campaigns.
2. He is a running back. Over the last seven years, at least one rookie has finished in the top ten among running backs for fantasy scoring. (That being said, according to ESPN, running backs drafted in the NFL's first round over the last ten years have averaged a measly 654 rushing yards and four touches.)

3. He isn't taken in the first five rounds. Chances are, fresh meat fetishists will overvalue young players to the point of leaving better options on the table.

But for every Edge, there are six Ron Daynes. For every Randy Moss, there are a half-dozen Charles Rogers. These guys will cripple most fantasy teams. That doesn't stop the Guy Who Loves Rookies from taking them, though. The thrill of the hunt is too strong, the scent of fresh meat too intoxicating, and the allure of the next big thing too overwhelming.

So he assembles his team full of promise, pep, and optimism. His squad is exciting - on paper, at least. But it will crumble by Week Two when Coach Shanahan decides that his rookie running back can't block. Or Eli Manning coughs up three picks during his first start.

And that is that.

The Death Maiden

Susan B. Anthony, she of the useless one dollar coin and champion of women's suffrage, once said, "...It is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this Democratic-Republican government - the ballot."

We're not sure what any of that really means, or what liberty has to do with fantasy football. But perhaps it speaks to the need, nay right, of women to participate equally with men in any activity. To prohibit women from doing so would mock the very freedoms that soldiers have given their lives to defend.

Yesteryear's ballot box is today's fantasy football league.

Or something like that.

The emergence of women in fantasy football, however, will never be smooth. The seeds of hostility between the sexes actually predate the advent of fantasy football. It started, we surmise, in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons - when men were boys, boys were dorks, and girls found them irritating.

This phenomenon was captured perfectly in the following scene from Wet Hot American Summer:

Caped Boy: Excuse me, ladies. You may remember me as the guy who came to dinner a few weeks ago with underwear on my head ... And as you may have heard, I am recently a crowned class B dungeon-master. So if any of you would like to play D&D today, please speak now or forever hold your peace. [He chuckles, and there is an awkward silence at the table]

Anyone? Alexa! Maybe you would like to join in? We do need a druid, and you have definitely cast a Level-5 charm spell on me.

Alexa: In your dreams, douche-bag!

Caped Boy: Douche-bags are hygienic products; I take that as a compliment. Thank you.

Men haven't forgotten that adolescent scorn. Today, when a woman enters the male dominated fantasy football arena, there's always friction because men are afraid of being trumped by women in anything sports-related.

Which is why female managers are the ultimate stealth-bombers. They show up at the draft, looking skittish and acting clueless. But, by flying beneath the radar and not over-thinking everything, they're able to assemble lethal teams with simple, common sense picks.

At the start of the draft, the Over-Prepared Egghead eyes the Death Maiden and mutters, "She may be able to cook up a mean meatloaf, but what does she know about the Chargers' wide receiving corps?"

Big mistake. In a cunning bit of fantasy football jujitsu, women use their inexperience, lack of football knowledge, and inability to chew kielbasa and grapes at the same time to their advantage. They flip it.

While men run regression models gauging the breakout likelihood of third-year wide receivers, women ponder bigger questions, like: Who has the nicer uniforms? What charities does he support? And which quarterback has prettier eyes?

The myopic guy scoffs at these questions, but the savvy guy fears them. Because he knows that whenever there's a woman in the league, you're all but guaranteed to look up in Week Five and see her team near the top of the standings, cheering for a running back like Tiki Barber, because "he seems so articulate and such a nice guy. And plus he's a twin - that's cute."

These are the same women that always seem to run the table in the March Madness tourney brackets. They couldn't tell you the difference between LaSalle University and the University of Louisville, but they pick fifteen of the Sweet 16 teams. No one knows precisely how they do it, they just do.

The Rest of the Riffraff

In the interests of time, we've excluded full descriptions of certain draft archetypes. But below you'll find our honorable mentions.

1. The Guy Who Takes His Defense and Kicker Too Early
2. The Guy Who Drafts on a Bad Cell Phone
3. The Hometown Drafter: The Pats fan who grabs David Givens, Kevin Faulk, and Daniel Graham.
4. The Guy Who Elongates Player Names. In announcing his picks, chooses to say, "Clintonius Portis," "Frederick Taylor," "Chadwick Johnson," "Edward Kennison," "Torrence Holt," and "Touraj Houshmandzadeh."
5. The Drunk Drafter
6. The Guy Who Favors Players from his Alma Mater
7. The Guy Who Searches for Position Loopholes: Nabs Jimmy Kleinsasser as a fullback/tight end/h-back.
8. The Guy Who Drafts Exceptional Special Teamers. (A/k/a "The Dante Hall Drafter")
9. The Guy Who Tries to Retract His Pick: Makes his pick, waits two or three picks, then asks if anyone minds whether he can "cycle a different player in."
10. The Guy Who Drafts Players Based on the Hiring of a New Offensive Line Coach

To purchase "Why Fantasy Football Matters," check out the book's web site.