Hindsight may be 20/20. But hindsight, coupled with a homer-like obsession with the Broncos, can prove to be very lucrative.
While many of us predicted greatness from Peyton Manning this season, other fantasy studs weren’t quite so obvious a few months ago. How many of us really knew Josh Gordon was poised for a breakout year, especially with those quarterbacks?
But that’s what makes our elusive quest for the perfect draft, the Holy Grail of fantasy football, so enticing. One of these days, I’m going to achieve it. Probably right after I’m voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, end world hunger and break up with Mila Kunis.
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 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 quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, and one tight end, kicker and team defense. Second, we are drafting from the middle (fifth) position in a snake format. Third, we are basing our selections on results through Week 16 only. Fourth, since all drafts play out differently, we’ll need a little luck along the way. And finally, our goal is nothing short of total domination and the abject humiliation of our opponents.
Now, with the fifth pick of the 2013 Perfect Draft, we should have selected …
Round 1: Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs. He’s been the class of this year’s fantasy rushers all season. If we missed out on Charles, LeSean McCoy made for a nice consolation prize.
Round 2: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos. According to their average draft positions (ADP), Manning will still be waiting in the next round. So we’ll snag the top wideout with this pick. A.J. Green or Dez Bryant would be fine selections as well.
Round 3: Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos. Care to argue?
Round 4: Wes Welker, WR, Broncos. Until he was concussed in Week 14, Welker was The Man. Though he’ll leave us hanging at the worst possible time, we’ve got the depth to handle it.
Round 5: Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers. Lacy was one of the most reliable fantasy backs in the land. The Fantasy Rookie of the Year certainly belongs in the Perfect Draft.
Round 6: Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers. Jordy Nelson got the nod at midseason, but Brown was Mr. Reliable, catching at least five passes in every game. He was money in PPR leagues, especially.
Round 7: DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. We may never start him, but his big-play ability is welcome on our team nevertheless.
Round 8: Seahawks defense/special teams. Before this draft is over, we’ll own the two best units in Fantasyland.
Round 9: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers. Bell was my preseason pick for Fantasy ROY. While that didn’t materialize, he’s still a great value here and will look much better on our bench than in our opponent’s lineup.
Round 10: Josh Gordon, WR, Browns. He finished the season among the Top 3 fantasy wideouts despite serving a two-game suspension and playing with the likes of Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden. Impressive, indeed.
Round 11: Fred Jackson, RB, Bills. I expected great things from C.J. Spiller this season. Not so much. Instead, it was Jackson that soared.
Round 12: Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns. Thanks to his blazing start to the season, Cameron finished among the elite tight ends. And he wasn’t even drafted in many leagues.
Round 13: Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots. Since the rest of our picks will stun our competitors, we can afford to take the top kicker this early. Matt Prater was nearly as valuable.
Round 14: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos. Our fixation on the Broncos wouldn’t be complete without their overlooked workhorse. Moreno is another star that went undrafted by most. Alshon Jeffery was another exceptional value in this round.
Round 15: Nick Foles, QB, Eagles. No one, aside from Manning, was more reliable under center when he started. We’ll have a hard time keeping Foles on our bench down the stretch.
Round 16: Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos. Prior to this season, he had a five-yard reception on his two-year NFL resume. Thanks to Mr. Manning, Thomas is now an elite tight end.
Round 17: Chiefs defense/special teams. Talk about a last-round flier. The Chiefs proved to be the best in the business.
There you have it. Looks just like your team, right?
Next Week: The Annual Biro’s Heroes & Zeros closes out the season.
Ladd Biro was named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010, 2011). Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).