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As another glorious season of NFL looms, so stirs the work productivity vampire known as Fantasy Football. This will be the first or last in a series of uninformative articles that you should completely ignore if you hope to ever have your name etched onto the side of your league’s coveted shitty plastic trophy. Perhaps I should wait until I draft my team to share this insight with you, being that whoever graces the ’07 Furious Georges’ roster, no matter how touted by prognosticators, will surely flame out and insure that I have wasted yet another $500 and 17 noon-to-midnight Sundays jerking off to yardage statistics with no less than five televisions cluttering my living room to the point where its feng shui flow would inspire seppuku in any gay man who saw it. Nevertheless, as is the case in my life overall, I lust for knowledge, but always fail when attempting to apply it to my benefit.

This edition is an exhaustive study of NFL running backs that we could say something mean about. If you want to hear that Rudi Johnson will boringly grind out 1,400/12 this year and without raping his babysitter, just as sure as you’ll blow a chance at sex by saying “Two seconds! Let me check my fantasy stats for the night game,” you’re in the wrong place. We are simply here to give you unique insights that cannot be found in the two dozen fantasy magazines which all derive their names from different arrangements of the same five words and form a trail of false knowledge leading you from your computer, to the ATM, to the crapper.

Frank “Barbaro” Gore

Gore has all the skill in the world and plays on an ever-improving offense in the NFC O’Douls division. He was one of the most productive backs in both fantasy and big-boy football last year. He’ll also miss at least a quarter of the season because he is as delicate as Tinker Bell’s hymen. Also, in some very rare cases, notorious malingerers who have just signed long-term contracts with enormous signing bonuses will fall off slightly in production the following year. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t draft him, because if you are a savvy player, you should have a decent third back by the time Frank reunites with the stretcher, and when he’s healthy could be a baby LT.

A gamble worth taking only in the mid-late first. He floats like a butterfly, but he breaks just like a little girl.

Lendale “I’m Luvin‘ It” White

Watching Lendale play Farley to Bush’s Spade at USC was a feast of scoring for every football taste. Unfortunately, NFL money has allowed Lendale access to levels elite deliciousness that he never dreamed of in college, thus he spends the off-season covered in high-priced crumbs, football of secondary concern to accidentally biting off one of his own fingers during a 3a.m. Godiva binge. Fortunately for Lendale, he plays on a team that has one offensive star, that being Vince Young, so he may have some default opportunities. Unfortunately for Lendale, Vince Young is a better running back, despite being a quarterback.

Round 2-3, because sometimes a 265-pound blob will fall forward.

Steven Jackson talks the way a whale shark would in a movie. If his lower lip were shaved down a little, a concurrent reduction in drag would drop his 40 time by at least one full second. Jackson exceeded all expectations last year, especially as a receiver. The offense around him has only improved this off-season, so look to him to enjoy even less defensive focus, but at the same time, a drop in total could come as a result of them obtaining a pass-catching TE in Randy “NFL Wifebeater #4,678,” a large red-zone threat in Drew “White Wide Receiver” Bennett and drafting similarly skilled Rutgers’ Brian Leonard, not to mention Torry “Sam Handsomer Brother” Holt and old-ass Isaac Bruce. Will there be enough offensive krill for Jackson to get his daily two tons?

No. 2 overall pick, but was ’06 a fluke? Get it?

Brian “Hoveround” Westbrook

The Philadelphia faithful are the the bottom rung of the subterranean ladder of NFL fandom; scum-filled lunch pails who make Raider Nation look like Skull and Bones. They hardly deserve, in Westbrook and McNabb, the most exciting action duo since Van Damme last played a clone of himself and/or twins. This glorious, action epic is cursed, however, because both stars are black, so it is impossible to predict which one is going get to bumped off halfway into the show.

Let someone else gamble their season on and early- or mid-first-round pick. If he falls to you, catch him with oven mitts on.

Willis “Johnny Appleseed” McGahee

Anybody that thinks McGahee was a dick for being critical of the city of Buffalo, N.Y.,†has never been to Buffalo, much less as a young millionaire. In fact, McGahee was so bored that he had to pass his time impregnating three different women, which by the way, Willis, amounts to 17% of your GROSS income to each of them! Just because Applebees is the only bar in town doesn’t mean its time to play fire and forget with the local womenfolk because clearly, they want nothing more than to flee Western New York themselves, and what better way to do so than by becoming a millionaire simply by whispering “its OK, Willis. I’m on the pill”? I’m not sold on his transition to Baltimore. He had one good year, and that was two full seasons ago. You can blame the Bills for being shitty overall, but any great player will show flashes regardless of the dirt squad around him.

Safely Pull Out McGahee’s name in the Late First Early Second Round.

Larry “Grandmama” Johnson

Yeah, everybody calls him Grandmama now, but Wax has been doing it for years, so hit a knob. Holdouts, schmoldouts. Priest, Schmiest. Punishing work load, Schmunishing Schmork Schmode. The only thing that could worry me regarding LJ, would be if: 1) he started hanging with Javon Walker and 2) it became fashionable among the thug set to pack silver bullets in the club. I mean, everyone gets wet over the consistency of Rudi Johnson, when the same numbers for LJ would be as disappointing as a blind date showing up wearing a promise ring. On top of that, he had almost 450 touches last year with only two fumbles. That’s almost as impressive as Shawn Kemp not having AIDs.

I’d rather draft third than second. LJ and Jackson are both fine picks, and I’d still have time for a meditative dump between picks.

Shaun “of the Dead” Alexander

Alexander is one saltine bastard. Sure he’s piled up great numbers over the last six years, but you have to credit much of that to a once-dominant O-line, because Alexander certainly ain’t wowing with his speed, power, receiving skills or dentition. Like so many others stricken with lameness, Alexander has a kickin‘ case of the Christs, as exhibited by naming his children Heaven, Trinity and D’Ezekiel and last year, proclaiming to his coach that prayer had healed his broken foot in less than two weeks, even though it has yet to fully heal some 10 months later. Alexander is still a great No 2. because he has little competition for carries, and he will still burrow past Walter Jones’ taint frequently enough to plop in the end zone, but he’s certainly not the Fantasy Samson he once was.

Blessed is He Who Takes this Late-First-Round Bargain.

Cedric “Less Entertaining than Robert Guillome” Benson

Oh how I wept when Chicago drafted Benson. He’s an unspectacular runner, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but the last good back we had was featured in Super Tecmo Bowl, where he earned the name Neil “Before Your Master” Anderson in my geekish clique. Since then, me Bears have tried to plug their needy hole with Enis, A-Train and that Muslim guy from Colorado. And for a while, it looked like Benson was poised to carry on the torch of shame as he waited behind Thomas Jones. He looked good the second half of last season, however, and has already knocked one would-be tackler out for the year in pre-season. Plus he seems to be the type to thrive on a heavy workload. Thomas Jones is gone and the back up to Benson is just last year’s third stringer, “Not That” Adrien Peterson (although the guy has some talent). So now you’ve got the precious blood diamond of the NFL in Benson: a true featured back. No having your team drive to the one and coach sending in the fat guy to punch it in. None of your back getting one carry in the second half because Fred Taylor gets hot. It’s a bit like dating a girl a league or two down from your own. Not the sexiest thing in the world, but you’ll get all the play you want.

The needle on the neutrality meter is pointing to a picture of Katherine Harris here, but I believe Benson is worth snagging at the top of the second round.

Deuce “Deuce” Mcallister

Dulymus” is Deuce’s real name and, if memory serves, he was the cheapest character to use in Street Fighter 2. Everyone sings the praises of a guy like Deuce because he is willing to be a team player and forgo personal glory so that his team can have the opportunity to lose in the playoffs. But in the world of high stakes, professional t-e-a-m sports, the one-I-ed man is king. Unfortunately for him, the utter ineptitude of the Houston Texans front office allowed the team from Gumbo Atlantis to select a player known as Reggie Bush, effectively starting a countdown on when Deuce’s big-money contract would be chased out of town faster than a Klansman in a FEMA T-shirt. If Reggie continues to adapt to the pros like he did in the second half of last season, its just a matter of time before they hire some cheaper, big-bodied tackle sponge to keep Mr. Bush spry.

For now, he’ll be a solid No.2 running back, just like he is on his own team.

L “Ghat Damn” T

Anybody else seen a profile of “LT at home”? Tragically, the young superstar has already wed. Whenever I hear of someone striving for years to become a top athlete or famous musician, then instantly marrying, I think of De Niro bellowing, “It defeats its own purpose!!” in Raging Bull. LT’s wife is hot, but you get the distinct impression she is running the show. Hidden cameras would reveal LT running up and down the hill on their property with a $15,000, out-of-favor, six-month-old china hutch tied to his back as his wife glances through a tiara catalog and chats with their live in manicurist. But I also detect a Lady Macbeth quality about her that contributes to the upside of the obvious No. 1 overall pick. Behind every great man is a venal she-jockey, flogging him to fill the cavern where her soul should be with ever more status and shiny shit. A repeat of last season is a lot to ask for, but rest assured that Mrs. T will still be able to look down her nose at Larry Johnson’s wife at the United Way charity ball.

Thank fuck that the NFL punditry can finally stop humiliating itself with talk about how the Chargers “passed over” Mexico to get LT. If you need to know who to take No. 1 in this draft, a certain someone could use you on a Virginia jury.

Ahman “It’s Not Savvy Drafting” Green

As one of the main cogs of the once-intimidating Packers, Ahman has had his fair share of success, culminating in an incredible season in 2003 that was only bested by Priest Holmes. Nowadays, he is in steady decline and this is most evidenced by the fact that even the Packers didnít want him, despite having no real alternative. But damned if that high mileage and those sagging numbers didnít scare off the Houston Texans, who were happy to sign the 30-year-old, injury-prone back to a lucrative contract and give him the opportunity to get his spine atomized behind the most laughably unaddressed offensive line in NFL history. Another knock on Ahman is that he would be the last person a museum curator would hand a Ming Vase to in the event of a fire — the guy simply cannot hold on to the ball. This is medically based on him having armpit skin all over his forearms or something, but the problem didnít seem to abate once they enveloped his arms in custom rubber-tire post-apocalyptic battle sleeves like they tended to do every fall in Green Bay. Now heís in Houston, the highest per-capita sweat-producing city in the Northern Hemisphere, so one can only imagine the ball hitting the ground more often than Sean Preston Federline.

If heís around in the fifth, fire away if youíre thin at RB, but save two roster spots for Ron Dayne as insurance.

Reggie “Easy Joke” Bush

Like many an SC sorority pledge, we saw Reggie do things that we’d never seen any man do before when he was in college. And unlike the Alpha Pi house, we didn’t wind up with burning bushes of our own. With the rise of the bikini wax and flood waters, this is the only Bush anybody in New Orleans wants to see. And so forth. Reggie is pretty clearly the best platoon back available because, even if Deuce gets hot and takes over the rushing, he’ll put up wide-receiver-type statistics from the backfield or whereever else they decide to line him up. If you’re on the fence with Bush and some other guy, remember that Reggie will make for far more entertaining viewing as you gorge on foods from the salt and lard families, and refresh your team’s online stats every four seconds for the next 16 Sundays of your well-balanced and productive life.

Like his decision to go to SC, Reggie’s receiving prowess means money in the bank. His upside as a runner is almost limitless, so why not reach for him in the mid-first?

Brandon “Jigganaut*” Jacobs

If there’s anything to look forward to in what will certainly be a bleak season for Big Blue, it’s the opportunity to watch this beast. Jacobs is like 6’5″, 270 and has 4.4 speed. He is as intimidating on the field as he is in a Chinese communal shower or haunting the dreams of white supremacists with liberal daughters. If he learns to lower his pads, prepare to clearly see “Oh, fuck” on defensive back’s faces as he breaks through the front seven — this happened last year to Ronde Barber who could be seen laughing in futility while he was plastered to Jacob’s chest like a hood ornament. With no Tiki around, Jacobs will cease to be a one-dimensional goal line plunger and probably be in the mold of a Larry Johnson — a punishing runner that tires out the defense and finds the end zone at least once per game.

Unproven but underrated. A steal in the first half of the second.

*This joke is not offensive, because Wax is brown too.

About Wax

Waxís output is unfortunately Von Hobartian in frequency, but unlike Hobart, he actually has a life, a job, and responsibilities, so weíll give him a pass. Also, we need someone who isnít white.