One of the most commonly asked questions I see at the Cafe are people who are looking to either start a Keeper League from scratch, or to convert their already in place Redraft League into a Keeper League. Post your in-depth league settings, formats, styles, along with anything else that can help give these people some options, as well as a view into how diverse these leagues can be!
I'll get us started... this is a keeper league that has been going on for 7 years now.
Fantasy Baseball Champions League:
Yahoo! Mixed H2H *
* This is a matter of preference. We're a tight knit group of friends who have been playing fantasy sports together for nearly a decade, so we enjoy the trash talking environment that H2H provides as well as the ability to make weekly side wagers. This keeper format can work with Roto, Points, or any league setup that I can think of, though, as well as with any fantasy baseball provider.
** The only thing that must be taken into consideration with the number of teams here is that the number of keepers in this league is relatively deep, so if you play with too many teams, the quality of the available off-season player pool diminishes rapidly. Not that it's a bad thing, but definitely something to take into consideration.
Number of Keepers:
7 - 13 ***
*** The way we work this is as follows. At the end of a fantasy baseball season, rosters are locked from off-season Add/Drop. Off-season trading is allowed, and there is no limit to the number of players who can be on roster, like there is in-season. On February 28th, all keepers are due to be e-mailed to the league Commissioner. A team may keep as few as 7, or as many as 13 players, or anywhere in between. For every player a team keeps, they forfeit a draft pick. So, the first 7 Rounds of the Draft are all null, given that all teams must keep 7 players, so essentially the Draft is starting in Round 8. In Round 8, all teams who kept the minimum make picks, with each team being allowed to pick in additional rounds consequent to the number of players kept (A team keeping 10 players will have their first pick in Round 11, for example), in a snake style draft with Round 8 beginning with the last place team from the previous year having the eligible first pick (this gives the worst team in the league the option to keep the minimum and get the best available free agent and also awards the previous year's champion in Round 14, the first round which all teams must select a player, with the first pick).
We've gone with everything from Standard 5x5 to 7x7 using categories like Total Bases, OPS, Holds, BB for both Pitchers and Batters, Losses, K/9, K/BB... it's fun to mix it up year to year provided that it is done early
so that players have time to make off-season moves, no team or Commissioner are attempting to slant scoring categories to accomodate their certain team setup, and all teams in the league are able to agree on a scoring method.
Method of Drafting:
We've had true Live Drafts taking place at my brother's house in Long Island, we've done drafts in AIM chatrooms, and we've done Yahoo! Live Drafts, all with varying success. The important thing to remember here is that the Commissioner must get a list of all Kept players out to all teams to have in front of them so no kept player is accidentally drafted (this is for teams in leagues without Keeper accomodations). Slow Drafts could be held, but the setup here is not Auction friendly without serious modifications (duh, right?).
The members of my league are all at least in their mid-20s with careers that keep us busy, but we did not want to move to a weekly lineup change format, so we settled on modifying the league to use no bench in 2006, and chances are we'll never go back. Given that we're a shallow league in terms of number of teams, we do have larger rosters to try and prevent the available player pool from being too deep. On top of all normal positions, we've started a MI, CI, IF, 2 - 3 Utility Players, as many as 5 Outfielders, and 2 Catchers as well as 5 SP, 3 - 4 RP, and 3 P slots with as many as 5 available DL slots (not all at the same time, but we've experimented with all mentioned and these changes have been made on a yearly basis to try and keep things fresh -- but are all good ideas on trying to deepen a shallower league -- I also know people are generally sour on deep DLs, but every single member in my league enjoys being able to stash players there [I have Liriano there as a keeper right now] as well as not be decimated by injuries for more than a limited period.)
We do not hold a Minor League draft, nor are owners allowed to draft players not yet added to Yahoo!'s database, in order to preserve the integrity of the Waiver Wire and Draft Priority. A minor league system would be easy enough to implement, though. Just use any number of methods that I hope to be posted in reply to this post, if you wish to.
We use Proboards
to keep track of all Off-Season Transactions (trades, off-season rosters, league records, trading of draft picks, etc.) I strongly recommend using a forum such as this as it keeps things neat, tidy, and provides a nice reference for all league members to keep in their list of Bookmarks. Annual lists of kept players can be kept there, too, as well as serve as an off-season medium for trash talking
If you have any further questions, feel free to PM me, and I'd be much obliged to clarify or go deeper into reasoning/method. Hopefully this is worth the time you took to read it.