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.
Round 1, Pick No. 1 - Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Forget the old wisdom about taking a running back in the first round. This year, there will be as many as five quarterbacks selected - and Rodgers is the best of the lot. He's posted huge numbers for four seasons now - and he's done it with remarkable consistency. Arian Foster, Shady McCoy and Ray Rice are all great producers, but none of them promises to give you 25 points week-in, week-out, no matter what defense he's facing. Rodgers does.
Round 2, Pick No. 20 - Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: Yeah, I know: he's injury-prone. Then again, so are a lot of the other players who'd make sense in this slot (i.e. - Ryan Mathews; DeMarco Murray; Andre Johnson). I feel I can take a risk here because I've got Rodgers in my back pocket, and for the weeks McFadden is healthy, I'll have the most lethal one-two punch around.
Round 3, Pick No. 21 - Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers: Very tempting to go Gronkowski or Graham here, but I'll wait on getting a tight end (a position rich with options) in favor of grabbing the best available wide receiver. In spite of his sluggish second half in '11, Wallace has been gangbusters over the larger sample size of three full seasons - and he's playing for a big contract in '12.
Round 4, Pick No. 40 - A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: If Wallace isn't the best receiver in the AFC North, Green is - and he'll certainly be even more effective with a now-seasoned Andy Dalton throwing him passes and more room to roam thanks to the emergence of Jermaine Gresham, the addition of rookie Mohamed Sanu and the return of Jordan Shipley.
Round 5, Pick No. 41 - Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers: I often talk about the 'Fantasy Cliff', that point at any position where there's a sizeable drop-off from one player to the next. To me, the Tight End Cliff exists right behind Davis and Jason Witten. Fred Davis might continue to build on his 2011 breakout, Antonio Gates might be able to squeeze another good season out of his brittle 32-year-old legs and feet, but I need to go with the more bankable option in the Niners TE, who in my book is just as talented as Gronk and Graham.
Round 6, Pick No. 60 - Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers: I got my lightning in McFadden back in Round Two; now, I've got some thunder. Ben Roethlisberger may not like it, but the Steelers are going to be running more this season behind a line built to dominate on the ground, and Redman will be the main man. Baron Batch and rookie burner Chris Rainey will get their touches on third-down, but Redman will more than make up for that by getting all the carries at the goal line.
Round 7, Pick No. 61 - Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens: We might have to name this team the Rust Belts, what with all the AFC North players we're taking. So be it, because by the end of last season, Smith was clearly Joe Flacco's favorite target. With Anquan Boldin another year older, Smith will be depended upon even more - and as we saw in his 2011 games against STL and PIT, he'll deliver some big gamesâ¦especially for a No. 3 WR.
Round 9, Pick No. 81 - Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs: I'm certainly not convinced I'm getting the 2010 version instead of what we saw last season, but are you convinced Jamaal Charles will be ready to carry the load in 2012?
Round 10, Pick No. 100 - Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: He'll probably drop out of the top 12 because of last year's injury, but keep in mind he's on a legit contender - and has put up huge numbers in the past.
Round 11, Pick No. 101 - Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions: His two-game "high-atus" notwithstanding, I say Leshoure will overtake Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith and be the Lions' first-string runner by midseason.
Round 14, Pick No. 140 - Buffalo Bills defense: The usual suspects like SF, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philly and Chicago will probably be taken off the board by overzealous and/or unknowledgeable owners. Sit back and take a shot on Mario Williams & Co.