What seems so obvious now – of course Alfred Morris was poised for a breakout year; didn’t you see him in the preseason? – wasn’t quite so crystal clear to most of us just five short months ago.
It’s all part of our elusive quest for the perfect draft, the Holy Grail of fantasy football. One of these days, I’m going to achieve it. Probably right after I cure cancer, win the lottery and break up with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Until then, I’ll keep torturing myself – and you – by exploring what could have been had we made all the right decisions during our preseason draft. Yes, dear reader, it’s time for my oft-imitated, always-controversial, yet magically delicious 2012 Perfect Draft: The Final Solution.
As always, we start with a few key assumptions. First, we’re in a 10-team non-keeper league using a standard scoring system that starts one QB, two RBs, three WRs, and one TE, K and team defense. Second, we are drafting from the middle (fifth) position in a snake format, meaning we won’t have a shot at Arian Foster. Third, since all drafts play out differently, we’ll need a little luck along the way. Finally, our goal is nothing short of total domination and the abject humiliation of our opponents.
Now, with the fifth pick of the 2012 Fantasy Draft, we should have selected…
Round 1. Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady would do just fine, but Brees gets the nod for his stellar consistency and superior performance during the fantasy postseason.
Round 2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings. Fantasyland’s MVP fell to the third round in many drafts, but let’s not tempt fate.
Round 3. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears. A.J. Green got off to a faster start, but Marshall was more consistent throughout the season and finished stronger. He had only two games with fewer than 90 yards or a touchdown and reached the end zone in nine different weeks.
Round 4. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys. Once he caught fire in Week 10, Bryant was arguably the most valuable player on any fantasy roster. He’ll propel us to a title down the stretch.
Round 5. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers. He’ll win Week 9 for us all by himself. We now own the No. 1 QB and two of the top three RBs and WRs in the business.
Round 6. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos. The best part about drafting the Comeback Player of the Year is that we’ll get to complain to our league-mates about how much trouble we have choosing between our two awesome QBs each week.
Round 7. Eric Decker, WR, Broncos. We’d love to deploy both of Manning’s starting wideouts, but Decker can be secured a round or two later than Demaryius Thomas and he’ll deliver nearly as much firepower.
Round 8. Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots. Easy to overlook in New England’s pass-happy offense, Ridley rode his quiet consistency to a Top 10 ranking.
Round 9. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons. The future Hall of Famer is still an elite fantasy performer, yet he was typically the 10th tight end selected in the draft.
Round 10. Bears defense/special teams. For most of the season, no other unit even came close. Chicago led the league in turnovers and defensive scoring, and gave up the third-fewest points.
Round 11. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers. We’ll probably never start him, but it was nice to see Crabtree finally emerge as a viable fantasy performer.
Round 12. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers. Late-round sleepers are meant to be stashed away for a few weeks, in hopes that they’ll begin contributing by mid-year. Cobb started paying dividends in Week 5.
Round 13. James Jones, WR, Packers. What the heck? He mixed in some stinkers, but no receiver visited the end zone more than Jones.
Round 14. Seahawks defense/special teams. We don’t normally advocate drafting two defenses, but why should we allow a competitor to benefit from Seattle’s elite unit? We’ll even favor them down the stretch over the Bears.
Round 15. Heath Miller, TE, Steelers. Miller had a career year, finishing among the Top 5 tight ends, and he wasn’t even drafted in most leagues.
Round 16. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins. Our backfield now includes two rookies and a guy coming off major reconstructive knee surgery. Perfect.
Round 17. Blair Walsh, K, Vikings. As usual, several of the best kickers are available in the final round, including the rookie that outshined them all.
So, Fools, this is my last regular column of the season. But don't fret. The 2013 fantasy season will be here before we know it. Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you'll know when I've posted news you can use here on the Fantasy Fools blog. We’ll be back to chase the perfect draft again in just a few months.
Thanks for tuning in!