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. 9 - Drew Brees, QB, Saints: This might be a tad lucky, but I figure fantasy owners are going to shy away with the bounty related problems the Saints are enduring… the most notable of those problems being that Sean Payton, Brees' playcaller, has been suspended for a year. I see Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson, CJ2K, Matt Stafford, Ryan Mathews and Andre Johnson all possibly going before Brees. I'll take him!
Round 2, Pick No. 12 - Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Like Brees, fantasy owners might shy away from Forte, but for totally different reasons, like…a) the presence of Michael Bush, b) Forte's displeasure with the Bears this offseason, and c) his ending the 2011 campaign with a knee injury. Well, Bush can't do everything that Forte does for the offense - particularly in the passing game. And consider the fact that Forte should be highly motivated with his contract situation. Lastly, his injury was nowhere near the severity of Adrian Peterson's or Jamaal Charles'. I like Forte at 12th overall.
Round 3, Pick No. 29 - DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: I like taking care of the running back position early in the draft. Murray could easily still be hanging around at 29th, especially with Felix Jones still in the cards for Dallas. Murray's lack of touchdown production is a concern (two), but I'll bet that was more situational than indicative of a player who can't get into the endzone.
Round 4, Pick No. 32 - Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: Putting the Patriots' hardball tactics aside, everyone in the league (including Bill Belichick) knows what a player this guy is. After the rush for Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Greg Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Wallace, A.J. Green and Roddy White is over, I believe I can get Welker at the top of the fourth round.
Round 5, Pick No. 49 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: Unfortunately, the reality of the snake draft is that I have to wait 17 picks until I can get my next receiver. Jordy Nelson would be a nice addition at 49th overall, as he still as Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football with little threat of the Green Bay running game dwindling the productivity of the air attack. Nelson might not get 15 touchdowns again, but I'll take 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. For some reason this guy still doesn't get much credit. Oh well, he's mine now.
Round 6, Pick No. 52 - Marques Colston, WR, Saints: This pick was the toughest slot to decide on in my "perfect draft." There are just so many ways to go here. Are Darren Sproles or Dwayne Bowe still available, and are they better picks than Colston? What I like about the former pick from Hofstra is his consistency. The only season he didn't have at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns was 2008, when he missed five games.
Round 7, Pick No. 69 - BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals: This might be a lucky choice since the Law Firm could be gone here. But there are some fantasy owners who fear the running back-by-committee situation, which could take place in Cincinnati. Throw in the fact that Green-Ellis has never been a certifiable lead back, and it might cause drafters to wait a little long on him. I expect Marvin Lewis and the Bengals offensive coaching staff to give him the ball 250 times this season.
Round 8, Pick No. 72 - Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: Potentially passing over Jermichael Finley here is tough. But Jason Witten is just so damn reliable. Not to mention, it's important to have players on your fantasy roster who you like. Witten has had at least 900 yards in each of the past five seasons, and had a "down" season of 70 catches in 2011…which means, he's a beast in PPR formats.
Round 9, Pick No. 89 - Michael Bush, RB, Bears: This is a handcuff pick all the way. With the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, as well as the presence of Forte, it's hard to say what Bush's role in the offense will be. He could be a touchdown machine. Either way, I'm protecting my 12th overall pick (Forte) with my 89th. If Forte goes down, my team is covered by virtue of being able to slide Bush right into the lineup.
Round 10, Pick No. 92 - Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: You know what I said up there about having guys you like on your team? Sometimes you have to go the other way. Ben Roethlisberger has never been a fan favorite per se, but the guy can play and new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley - you know, the coach who looks like a homeless guy - will lean on him heavily, especially when Pittsburgh goes four-wide.
Round 11, Pick No. 109 - Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Sticking with the Steelers, I think Antonio Brown could fly under the radar in a lot of leagues. I've see where he's ranked in the 60's, and mock drafts where he's gone lower than here, 109th overall. There's no doubt this is a "perfect draft" scenario, but if Brown slips to the 10th or 11th round, I'll hop on him no matter who I have on my roster. He's got too much upside coming off an 1,100- yard year. Like Murray, some people will pass on him because of a low touchdown total last season (two). Big mistake.
Round 12, Pick No. 112 - Lance Moore, WR, Saints: I'm taking some shots in the dark here with the Saints, considering their aforementioned situation. But keep in mind that Robert Meachem is in San Diego now, which could create some opportunities for Moore. I'm also not a big believer in Mark Ingram's fantasy value, so the threat of the ground game cannibalizing the passing attack's production is not a concern.
Round 13, Pick No. 129 - Jacob Tamme, TE, Broncos: To quote Fantasy Live cohort Dave Dameshek, Tamme was gangbusters in 2010 for the Colts. God, I don't believe I'm quoting Dave. Anyway, Tamme caught 67 balls over the last 10 games with Peyton Manning on the other end of those throws. These two are reuniting in Denver, with the only concern for me being how much Joel Dreessen takes away from his redzone targets.
Round 14, Pick No. 132 - Houston Texans defense: Because my pick is second overall in the 14thround, I expect to almost get my pick of the litter defensively. Sure a couple of defenses might be gone, but I fully expect Houston's to still be there. This team does not need free agent defector Mario Williams, and was the second ranked unit in real football last season. Wade Phillips' group also snuck into the top ten in fantasy as well. I really like the players on that side of the ball in Houston, and thus, having the Texans defense will make my fantasy season a bit more enjoyable.
Round 15, Pick No. 149 - Matt Prater, K, Broncos: In theory, Denver should be getting in field goal range a lot more with the Peyton Manning acquisition. Matt Prater won't be the first kicker off the boards by any means, so there should be a legit chance at grabbing him at the 149-hole. (There's something cool about typing the 149-hole, it's somewhat ridiculous in a draft column.) Prater's big leg gives my fantasy team a good shot at getting five-pointers, IE, five points on field goals of 50 yards or more. He hit two against the Bears last season. His low point total (87 points) might scare off some peeps, but the low production was more indicative of a Tebowmania-led offense than lack of talent. Don't let Michael Fabiano poo-poo your excitement about taking a kicker…they score points like anyone else and it's possible you can win your draft in the 15th round!