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The perfect 2016 round-by-round fantasy draft strategy

The Colonel's secret recipe. The contents of Marsellus Wallace's briefcase in "Pulp Fiction." Tony Soprano's fate when the screen went black.

Whether or not Jon Snow is the actual son of Eddard Stark on Game of Thrones ... or the offspring of Ned's sister Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, the son of the Mad King Aerys.

These are all mysteries, enigmas ... secrets. We want the answers, but we aren't likely to ever know the real truth. Well my friends, I'm going to let you in on a little secret that has helped me win more than my share of fantasy championships. It's my recipe of 11 herbs and spices. It's Marsellus Wallace's soul or Tony Soprano's death (I'm speculating on the last two, of course). Yes, I'm giving out my round-by-round strategy on building an elite fantasy team in your draft.

It's not rocket science or Einstein's Theory of Relativity. It's a simple and effective blueprint for finishing your fantasy draft with a smile, knowing that you just put together a team that will put you in contention for a league title. If you follow this plan and make smart waiver-wire moves and in-season trades, I can guarantee a successful 2016 campaign.

Round 1

Draft a running back or wide receiver: In the past, I would have been a lot more likely to focus on a running back. However, we can no longer ignore the impact wideouts have made in the stat sheets in recent seasons. So if you can't land one of the elite runners like Le'Veon Bell or Todd Gurley, consider the likes of Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones in this round. I can see four receivers being drafted in the first 10 selections with the other six picks being running backs.

Round 2

Draft a running back or wide receiver: If you landed a runner in Round 1, take a wideout here ... or vice versa. Fantasy fans in PPR formats might want to focus on another receiver if the position is being drafted quickly and there are still a good number of runners on the board. I would expect that this round will be loaded with receivers like Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson. If you like tight ends, Rob Gronkowski is also a viable option because of his immense numbers.

Round 3

Draft a running back or wide receiver: You should be focusing on the runners and receivers in the next two rounds, choosing the best player available at both positions. For example, I was able to land Mark Ingram (Round 3) in the first NFL mock draft after taking Adrian Peterson in the first round and A.J. Green in the second. You could also decide to take the best quarterback in fantasy football, Cam Newton, but that's not a move I would make due to the ridiculous depth at that position.

Round 4

Draft a running back or wide receiver: Same drill in this round as in the previous one. If you took a runner in Round 3, then you should get a wide receiver here. If you went with a wideout in the previous round, then it's time to pick a running back. I was able to land Demaryius Thomas in the aforementioned mock draft, which isn't a bad value (based on his abilities) even with Mark Sanchez and rookie Paxton Lynch under center in Denver. I would continue to wait on a quarterback here.

Round 5

Draft a running back or wide receiver: Use common sense here ... if Newton or Aaron Rodgers is still on the board, I'd be OK with the selection. If neither is available, continue to build on your running back or wide receiver depth. Because of their struggles last season, you could land good options like Jeremy Hill or T.Y. Hilton in this round as No. 3 options at their respective positions. Remember, it's at this point in most drafts where runners and wide receivers will start to thin out.

Round 6

Draft a running back or wide receiver: You should continue to build your running back and wideout depth in this round. Of course, you could also go after an elite tight end if one is still on the board. If I had to guess though, the likes of Gronkowski (long gone), Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed will have been picked in the fourth or fifth round. As a result, go after more runner and wideout depth and target players with a lot of statistical upside like Matt Jones, Jay Ajayi or Golden Tate.

Round 7

Draft a running back, wide receiver or tight end: If you already have three running backs, then you don't need a fourth (not yet, at least). The same goes for wideouts. This is the round you should start looking at what's left at the tight end position. If someone like Gary Barnidge or Coby Fleener is out there, it makes sense to grab them. I would also see if Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck is still on the board. In that scenario, you might want to consider picking a quarterback instead.

Round 8

Look at your best player available list: In a perfect world, you will already have three running backs, three wideouts and either a quarterback or tight end. If you're still in need at quarterback, I'd consider taking someone like Drew Brees or Tom Brady (assuming both are still on the board; Brady is going to fall because of his four-game suspension). You will also find a number of talented tight ends at this point, including Delanie Walker, Travis Kelce and Tyler Eifert (injured).

Round 9

Look at your best player available list: This is all about adding depth and filling needs. If you haven't picked your first quarterback or tight end, now is the time to do it. I'd bet doughnuts to dollars that you can still land a great value at either position. Heck, Carson Palmer or Ben Roethlisberger could still be on the board. You should also be looking at potential breakout/sleeper candidates at this point, including Duke Johnson, Ladarius Green, Corey Coleman or Donte Moncrief.

Round 10

Draft Stephen Gostkowski (I'm serious): Did you know that Gostkowski almost always outscores all but one or two of the top fantasy tight ends? Points are points, right? If the Patriots kicker isn't on the board for some reason, then Plan B is to draft either a fifth running back or wide receiver (whichever position you still need to fill). If you still have just one lone signal-caller, this is a good spot to select your fantasy backup. Andy Dalton or Tony Romo should still be available.

Round 11

Draft a quarterback, running back, wide receiver or tight end: If you have used this strategy to perfection, you should now have one quarterback, four running backs, four wideouts and one tight end (or maybe Gostkowski). That gives you some options to choose from in terms of your next selection(s). If you don't love your No. 1 quarterback or tight end, then you can draft a backup for one of those spots. You might also be looking at handcuffing your top running back in this spot.

Round 12

Look at your best player available list: At this late stage of the draft, you should be keeping your eye on deep sleepers and players who could outperform their draft position. In all, continue to use common sense. You don't need to draft a sixth runner or wideout ... five at each position (once the draft is completed) is more than enough for depth purposes. Whatever you do, don't draft a kicker (outside of Gostkowski if he's there) or a defense. That's left for the last two rounds.

Round 13

Look at your best player available list: Right now you should have one or two quarterbacks, four or five running backs, four or five wide receivers, one tight end and maybe Gostkowski. As a result, you're looking to add more depth. Fantasy fans who have waited on a second quarterback or maybe even a No. 1 tight end need to fill those spots. You could be surprised to see the likes of Eli Manning, Derek Carr, Antonio Gates or Julius Thomas still on the board in a 10-team standard draft.

Round 14

Draft the best defense on the board: You could also take a kicker at this spot, but it depends on who is still available. Guys like Chandler Catanzaro, Graham Gano or Steven Hauschka would be better options than some defensive units.

Round 15

Draft the best kicker on the board: Unless you have Gostkowski or went with a kicker in the previous round, this is where you fill the position. Most of the selections in this round are very likely going to come from the kicker spot.

Why wait? CLICK HERE to get your 2016 NFL Fantasy season started.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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