This "perfect" draft is based on NFL.com's standard 10-team leagues with a basic (non-PPR) scoring system that rewards four points for touchdown passes and six points for all other touchdowns scored. Starting lineups include one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one flex position (RB/WR), one tight end, one kicker and one defense and special teams unit.
So I go into my draft thinking one thought: in the first round, I'll take a star RB if I have a top 5 pick, or a star QB if I pick in the bottom five. Then I draw my draft position. 10th. Last in the first round. Yippie skippie. Strategy is out the window. I'll be going best available because it's a long way back until I pick again. So to fill out my roster of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FL, 1 K, 1 D and 6 bench spots (of any combination) here's who, in a perfect world, I would take in my draft spot out of the players who would likely be available when it's my turn to pick.
Round 1, Pick No. 10 - Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: It's likely that Brees, Rodgers, Stafford and Brady will all be gone. For the RB's, I can forget about Foster, MJD, Rice, and McCoy. Someone could up and grab Newton earlier, but that would probably push one of the elite QB's down to me, so if it's not Newton I'll be happy with Brady or Stafford. But I think when push comes to shove, owners will draft the sure-thing QB's over Newton, who so far is a one-year wonder. Forget it. I'll be more than happy for the 40 total touchdowns he's going to have.
Round 2, Pick No. 11 - Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: Mathews is just outside the cusp of the RB's I just mentioned. He has a breakout year and he'd be gone if I tried to wait on him and instead went with Megatron or McFadden. Bottom line is I'm more confident that he's going to have a huge 2012.
Round 3, Pick No. 30 - Trent Richardson, RB, Browns: 300. I can't get that number out of my mind for Trent Richardson - it's how many times he's going to touch the football this season and will be a fantastic number two RB. Since he's a Brown, has had some minor knee issues and plays for an offense that has been awful, he'll still be around for me in the 3rd round, so I have to get him here because it's too long coming back to expect him to still be available.
Round 4, Pick No. 31 - Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: While Bowe certainly had a decent season in 2011, his fantasy numbers were way off from 2010, mainly because of the injury to Matt Cassel. This is where I count on how my fellow owners will make sure he's there for me to snag. They'll have a list of the WR's with their stats from 2011 and Bowe will be around 15th on the list. I know he's going to be there for me as players like Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown, Brandon Lloyd, Pierre Garcon Vincent Jackson, and Marques Colston are taken ahead of him. This year he's back to near 2010-form.
Round 5, Pick No. 50 - Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: There's a few WR's I like here, but Bryant is my choice because I expect this to be the year he takes a huge leap and becomes Tony Romo's top target. Other owners are going to sleep on him because they see a split situation with he and Miles Austin. Trust me, Austin will get his fair share of passes. Bryant will just get more, and more TD's.
Round 6, Pick No. 51 - Stevie Johnson, WR, Bills: Johnson started out pretty good last year but just one 100-yard game and only 7 TD is going to keep him down on draft boards. Even though he got paid in the off-season, I expect him to have his best year yet as a professional because he has a desire to be great, and he's still going to be the only guy in Buffalo to catch passes. It's his time.
Round 7, Pick No. 70 - C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: Again, everyone's going to look at the list of RB's and see Fred Jackson's stats from 2011 before he got hurt, and take him early in drafts. Hey, I'm okay with that, because Spiller is going to wind up being the number one back in Buffalo by the midway point of the season. Jackson is over 30 and coming back from injury. Spiller is young and proved the last six weeks of the season that he's arrived. His fantasy points after taking over as the starter? 7, 16, 5, 28, 19, 16. He can sit on my bench until he wins the job outright and then he'll be my flex for the rest of the season.
Round 8, Pick No. 71 - Eric Decker, WR, Broncos: Decker is going to fall victim to the Demaryius Thomas love. Owners will shy away from him because he disappeared the last half of the 2011 campaign once Tim Tebow took over. With Thomas' playoff heroics, it's easy to think he's going to be Peyton Manning's number one target, and he'll be drafted as such. But remember, Manning found a way to keep Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne happy in Indianapolis for a long time, and he'll do so with Decker.
Round 9, Pick No. 90 - Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers: Someone has to lead the Chargers in receiving, after all, they're going to throw it a ton. Without Vincent Jackson, Floyd is the best candidate to enjoy a big season just slightly over Vincent Brown. And he'll be overlooked because he's never put up big numbers, but take a look at San Diego's offense last season after he came back from injury. Floyd was the key to their resurgence.
Round 10, Pick No. 91 - Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts: Wayne will also be overlooked due to the fact that no one will trust Andrew Luck to have a great year. But one thing we know, Indianapolis is going to throw the ball, and despite catching passes from Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky last year, Wayne was still one of the most targeted WR's in the league. He's still got some left in the tank and I'll consider him a steal here.
Round 11, Pick No. 110 - Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Cutler is going to break out this season now that he has Brandon Marshall to throw to once again and a backfield with, in theory, Matt Forte and Michael Bush. He should throw for 30 TD at least. So if something happens to my team I'll be able to deal one of my QB's for what I need back.
Round 12, Pick No. 111 - Dustin Keller, TE, Jets: In Keller, I'm getting a tantalizing tight end in a contract year who needs to prove he's worth big money next off-season. He's proven to be capable of big games here and there, but with so much at stake watch him become more consistent. The best TE's are long gone (Gronkowski, Graham, Hernandez, Gates, Gonzalez) and Keller is just as good a selection as anyone else outside of those guys. I'm not a big fan of drafting a TE early so I'm happy to wait until later on.
Round 13, Pick No. 130 - Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: I'm thinking Ridley is going to be a forgotten RB. Owners will think "The Patriots added Brandon Lloyd, and they let their best RB go to Cincinnati. It's going to be a committee approach, and they don't run the ball anyway." That's true in a vacuum. But remember, BenJarvus Green-Ellis had huge value as a flex player some weeks. I think Ridley's going to be their goal-line option, with Joseph Addai filling the Kevin Faulk role, and I'm not going to get a better 4th RB at this point in the draft.
Round 14, Pick No. 131 - Arizona Cardinals defense: Is the Cardinals defense great? No. But Patrick Peterson is a great returner who's going to help you to some massive point totals some weeks. They play in a bad division that sees it's fair share of turnovers and pick sixes from some limited offenses. Remember, your best fantasy defense isn't the most talented one, it's the one going against the least-talented offense - and if you have a guy like PP? That's icing on the cake. And I love cake.
Round 15, Pick No. 150 - Alex Henery, K, Eagles: It was a down year for the Eagles in 2011, and still Henery averaged nearly ten fantasy points per game. He's not one of the best kickers in the league, but opportunity is what you're looking for. The Eagles will have a much better year offensively this season and as a result, Henery will be even better.
So if I get this team, which is entirely possible? I'm counting my championship money. To begin the year, I'll be starting Newton at QB, and Mathews and Richardson at RB. My WR's will be Bryant and Bowe, and my flex will be Decker. My bench is loaded with Spiller and Ridley at RB, and Johnson, Wayne and Floyd when I need to plug in a WR. Barring injury, I may not need to make a free agent move all year long - in a perfect world.
Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. He hosts NFL Fantasy Live during the regular season on the NFL Network, and you can download his weekly Cover 2 podcast with Steve Wyche at nfl.com. Talk to him on twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.