FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!S Drew Magary's Balls Deep column runs every Thursday afternoon. Drew's new book, "Men With Balls," featuring 100% new material, is available for pre-order here. You can email Drew here. Read him during the week at KSK. If there is one saving grace about August, which is a fucking hot waste of a month, it is that August is the month in which we begin to prepare for the delight that is fall. We buy school supplies. We leaf through fall TV and movie previews (Pacino! DeNiro! Together! Three decades too late!). We buy fall clothing. I know I love heading out to Old Navy, picking out two new shirts, getting excited about wearing them, and then growing sick to death of them within a week.And, of course, we prepare for football. A long time ago, I used to get jazzed for football by leafing through special NFL editions of SI Presents. They don't publish SI Presents anymore, which baffles me to no end. Those annuals were the fucking SHIT. But now, my main preoccupation in getting ready for the NFL season comes through fantasy football, and prepping for fantasy drafts. Now, there are still some old school people (COUGH*Wilbon*COUGH) who hate fantasy football. They'll tell you it's lame because it's all about stats. Or, worst of all, that's it's NERDY. Even SI's Don Banks, who I usually really like, once got all haughty talking about fantasy football. Sorry, but we have a name for people whose primary source of entertainment stems from stuff that didn't really happen. They're called Trekkies. In the immortal words of William Shatner, playing himself at a Star Trek convention on Saturday Night Live, sometimes I'd like to shake a couple of the fantasy players in my midst and say, "Look at you people. Did you ever kiss a girl?'' Oooh, no! I like to devote a couple hours a week to fantasy football! That makes me a DORK! Almost as dorky as a BLOGGER! I better look out. Ogre could come give me an atomic wedgie any time now! I better take out my slide rule and round up all my nerd friends to help formulate a zany plan to thwart his unyielding persecution. We shall use all our crazy math powers to devise a Rube Goldbergian contraption that will coat Ogre in liquified dog feces right in front of everyone at assembly! Huzzah! This is a fucking retarded mentality. Tens of millions of people play fantasy football every year, and the number grows annually. Fantasy football fans aren't dorks. They're just, you know, regular ass fans. Fantasy football makes people like me fans of the ENTIRE NFL, and not just my favorite team, which is why the league is such a cultural behemoth. It also helps me learn more about players, coaches, and all other parties involved. It helps me feel closer to the sport. I love football more than I ever have, and fantasy football is one of the reasons why. So suck my nerdy balls, Donnie boy. Best of all, fantasy football gives me something to do right now in August. Because, without that, there is fucking NOTHING out there. What's that? I should watch the Olympics? Yeah well, the Olympics are the Tony Awards of sports. Fuck that shit. It's time to gear up for fantasy season. So let's break down your fantasy draft and draft planning, THROWGASM-STYLE. All elements of fantasy drafting are evaluated for sheer awesomeness on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.

FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!S

Five Throwgasms Drafting Live: The majority of my fantasy drafts in my life have been online. And while that makes for a very well-organized and smoothly run draft, it kind of ruins the whole point of having a fantasy league. The main goal of a good fantasy draft is not to pick good players, or to ensure timely, orderly selections. It's to fucking DRINK. A lot. My life is nothing more than a constant search for finding good reasons to drink. I was excited to graduate college, because it was a good excuse to drink. I was excited when I got married, because it was a good excuse to drink. And I am fucking jazzed for my keeper league's live draft, because it means I get to get out of the house for once and go completely poison my insides with beer and rum. Did I just draft Eli Manning in Round 3? Who cares? I'm not wearing any pants! WHEE! The question that lies before you when drafting live is really a matter of setting. Do you hold your draft at a house? Or do you head to the bar? Does the bar have internet access? Will the bar be too noisy? Can you find that bar that allows you to be able to hear each other during the draft, but is still busy enough to have lots of hot chicks parading around for you to glance at? Of course not. No bar like that exists. A bar is either a fucking dead zone, or packed so tightly you commit unintentional frottage several times over. Hot women don't like bars that have ample space and comfortable seating. Everyone knows that. I say go with the wide-open, dead-crowd bar. You're gonna have a laptop in front of you anyway. No one looks sexy in front of a laptop. FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!S See? That picture will never get old. Snacks: Snacks by thousands! Each one more full of transfats than the last! Your unofficial snack of this fantasy football season is nachos. Every go to a high-end Mexican joint and gotten nachos that are individually dressed? FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!S Awesome. That is one thoughtful nacho. Like a very small tostada. Adorable. The Five Minutes Before Your Draft: Holy shit! It's about to start! Who's gonna go first? So excited! Can… barely… breathe… Surprise Picks By Other People: You picked Joseph Addai first?! HOLY FUCK, THAT'S SOME CRAZY SHIT! Naming Your Team: It's "The Purple Jesuits" for me this year. Drawing A Middle Round Pick: No long dead spaces for you, my friend. The Moment You Realize A Player You Like Will Fall To You: If the next three guys just DON'T draft Alge Crumpler, the he's all mine! Then my plan shall be complete! No one will be able to stop me! I AM DR. CLAW! MWAHAHAHAHA!

FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!S

Four Throwgasms Showing Up At The Draft With Your Draft Sheet Fully Prepared: That's right. I study for my draft. The actual studying isn't so much fun. But showing up at the draft with a fully prepared draft board, a board that is solely a product of my own irrational thinking, it lends a real air of authority to my drafting. COWER BEFORE MY PROFESSIONALISM! I don't make my retarded picks willy nilly. I want to look like I put some real thought into drafting Lee Evans that high. He can't get any SHITTIER, am I right? Huh? Putting LaDainian Tomlinson At The Top Of Your Board: I love Adrian Peterson, but he still comes out of the game every three series for Chester Taylor. He'll also tear his knee apart by Week 5, at which point I'll start snorting pure Freon. Drafting Players On Your Favorite Team: Yeah, yeah, you're never supposed to do this. But there's a reason people do it anyway. Because it makes watching your team interesting, even if they're awful. And that's important, especially if you're a Texans fan.

FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!

Three Throwgasms

Scheduling Your Draft Late: I usually try and schedule league drafts right before either the last preseason game or before the Week 1. It helps avoid injuries, plus position battles often shake out by then. The only drawback? Waiting that long for your draft. Waiting ALL of August for that draft day is like waiting for your parole hearing. Scheduling Your Draft Early: Nice! We're drafting RIGHT NOW! But what do I do with myself when we're done? There's still a month until the season starts. How many Ambien can I take without overdosing? Are comas technically bad for you? Drafting First: Congratulations. You got Tomlinson. Now go watch "Once Upon A Time In America". You should be back on the clock by the time DeNiro rapes Elizabeth McGovern. Good scene to miss. Finding Out A Player Is With A Different Team Than You Thought: Wait, Kevin Jones is a Bear now? Hmm. Perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. No, no it won't. He's awful. The Draft After About Round 4: The talent dropoff in the middle of the draft is really quite astonishing. One second, you're drafting Roy Williams. Ten minutes later, you're looking at the rest of your board and saying, "Really? Ted Ginn's the best guy left? Jesus." You can still find some gems late, but Ted Ginn isn't going to be one of them. Overvaluing/Undervaluing Secondary Nuggets Of Information: Did Alex Smith suck last year? Did he ever! But Mike Martz is the coordinator now, and he really likes to air it out! That could increase his value. I think. Maybe. Eh, probably not. But still, just look at what Martz did for Jon Kitna. That wasn't Jesus helping Jon become a 4,000-yard pick machine! That was all Martz, baby!

FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!

Two Throwgasms

Drafting Running Backs With Your First Two Picks: This strategy is wrong, wrong, wrong. Take it from someone who's never won a fantasy league. It's bullshit. Especially this year. One of the untold subplots of last spring's draft was just how insanely deep the class at RB was. Guys like Mike Hart (Colts), Felix Jones (Cowboys), Steve Slaton (Texans), and Ray Rice (Ravens) all have the potential to get playing time right away and fuck with your rotation. Every down backs like Larry Johnson and LT2 have become rarities. In fact, in the case of Johnson, frequent use becomes more of a worry than a relief. More often than not, backs come in pairs now, just like wideouts do. So the idea of taking a second tier RB like Jamal Lewis over a first tier WR like Reggie Wayne is fucking stupid. You win with studs, regardless of position. That's right. I just laid down the fucking LAW. Drafting Last: All the waiting of drafting first, without the pesky marquee player! Whee! Drafting Handcuffs: Oh, looks who's being Mister-Play-It-Safe! I bet you order chicken when you go out to restaurants. Pussy. Drafting Rookies: For every Purple Jesus, there are about thirty Brandon Jacksons. Remember him? The end zone sure as fuck doesn't. Drafting A Player That Fucked You Over The Year Before: You can never win with this. Did you get fucked over by Steven Jackson last year? Well, I can guarantee you two things. One: if you draft him again, he will fuck you again. Two: if you DON'T draft him, he will run for 5,000 yards and score 87 TD's. He'll also somehow score 13 safeties. Once a player screws you, he will always find a way to screw you. Compiling Your Draft Board: It's like choosing baby names. It's exciting for the first five minutes. After that, it starts to turn into a real fucking slog. Should Santonio Holmes go above Brandon Marshall? Or should it be the other way around? Oh, fuck! What about Chris Chambers? I completely forgot about him! Should he go between them? What do their schedules look like? Errrrr… fuck it! I need to go eat a box of Nilla Wafers. Selecting A Draft Date And Time: Does 9/1 work for everyone? What's that? Tommy's got a conference then? Can he do it by phone? What about 8/26? No? What's that, Jim? You can only do it today at 4:35 AM? Does that work with everyone else? No? I give up. Event planning blows. Trash Talking Picks: What are you, in grade school? Grow up. Real adults don't badmouth their friend's picks. They just make fun of them for general queerness. Hyping Up Players Who Did Well In The Preseason: Happens on message boards all the time. ZOMG!!111!! DARIUS WATTS IZ THA NXT COLSTON!!!11!!

FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! The Balls Deep 2008 Fantasy Football Preview!

One Throwgasm

Wearing A Jersey To Your Fantasy Draft: Do you ever see Bill Polian wearing a Colts jersey when his team drafts? No. You're pretending to be a GM, not a player. Fucking dress like it. Not Realizing You Drafted Two Players With The Same Bye Week: Actually, the only thing worse than that is when you're about to draft a guy you really like, only you realize that he's got the same bye week as your other guy, so you end up having to draft Laveranues Coles instead. NOOOOOOOOO! Being In More Than Two Leagues: Well, I need to Romo throw three touchdowns. But I also need him to throw NO touchdowns and four interceptions. Can he do that? Inviting Charles Haley To Your Draft: Unless you like your popcorn extra buttery. Drafting Kickers And Defense Anywhere But In The Final Rounds Getting Everyone To Pay: No good freeloaders. Waiting For Your Turn To Draft: This is especially agonizing if you're in a league with Dan Shanoff. Holy fuck Shanoff, WHILE WE'RE YOUNG! Is he even at his computer? I think he's auto-drafting. Varsity dad? More like Varsity ASSHOLE. And there's your 2008 Fantasy preview. Happy drafting, everyone.