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Tell me about your keeper league settings

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Tell me about your keeper league settings

Postby master_herm » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:54 am

I'm looking into starting a keeper league next year, and I have no idea where to start in terms of settings. It'll probably be 12 team mixed H2H... here are some things I need to work out:

1) How many keepers? (5 vs 10?)

2) How to decide next year's draft order (random vs. based on previous year's performance; might help keep teams competitive)

3) Any other precautions I could take to prevent player dumping at the end of the year?

Thanks for your help, experienced keeper leaguers -- tell me what works and what doesn't!
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Re: Tell me about your keeper league settings

Postby RedSoxNation04 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:01 am

master_herm wrote:I'm looking into starting a keeper league next year, and I have no idea where to start in terms of settings. It'll probably be 12 team mixed H2H... here are some things I need to work out:

1) How many keepers? (5 vs 10?)

2) How to decide next year's draft order (random vs. based on previous year's performance; might help keep teams competitive)

3) Any other precautions I could take to prevent player dumping at the end of the year?

Thanks for your help, experienced keeper leaguers -- tell me what works and what doesn't!


This is our first year doing a keeper league and as of right now, it seems to be moving along fine. To answer some of your questions though, we use 4 keepers designated by draft round value. Rounds 1-4, you can't keep anyone. After much deliberation and questions to veteran keeper league players here at the Cafe, this seemed to be a good way to go to keep the fun in the draft. This way, each year, someone has a shot at Pujols, Hanley, A-Rod, Lincecum, etc. After that, you can keep one player each per bracket: 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-23 +any Free Agent pickups. We keep our keepers only for two years after their initial draft year.

Next year's draft order is determined by the consolation bracket. The winner gets first choice to which draft slot he wants for next year. The consolation bracket runner-up gets next choice and so-on until the league champion is stuck with the last draft slot. We did this to place emphasis on the consolation bracket and to encourage teams not to fold at the end of the year. We are seeing some big trades right now where playoff bound teams are dumping some young keepers for studs for the playoff run. Nothing has been lopsided as of right now and I'm encouraged by that.

Like I said, this is our first year doing a keeper league and I found a lot of useful advice and suggestions here at the Cafe before implementing all the rules, changes, etc. I can send you our league consititution if you want to take a look at it. Just PM me with your email address.

Good luck!
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Re: Tell me about your keeper league settings

Postby Phantom » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:00 am

master_herm wrote:I'm looking into starting a keeper league next year, and I have no idea where to start in terms of settings. It'll probably be 12 team mixed H2H... here are some things I need to work out:

1) How many keepers? (5 vs 10?)

2) How to decide next year's draft order (random vs. based on previous year's performance; might help keep teams competitive)

3) Any other precautions I could take to prevent player dumping at the end of the year?

Thanks for your help, experienced keeper leaguers -- tell me what works and what doesn't!


1) Start with five keepers (limiting it to 3 hitters and 2 pitchers is a good idea as well). Starting with too many keepers can lead to teams quitting after the first year. You can always add more keeper slots as the years go by (if the players want it). Some people like to give a free keeper slot to MVPs, ROYs, and Cy Youngs, which is fun, but might simply make the rich get richer.

2) Performance based is a good idea. Draft order really isn't as big a deal as we make it out to be, but it's always a nice feeling when you're team is blowing it. If you want to prevent intentional tanking, you can always divide the finishers into tiers (this is easy if you have teams that make the playoffs and teams that don't) and randomize the tiers (kinda like the basketball lottery). Really though, at first it's probably a good idea to keep it simple, and reverse order finish is tried and true, both in fantasy and sports. Feel free to tinker if a problem arises.

3) Don't play in a keeper league? Seriously, why are people so upset by teams making lopsided trades at the end of the year? This happens in every sport, and really should be encouraged. Toward the second half of the year, teams should either be buyers or sellers and should be shopping for the best trade possible to either push their team to a win, or put them in a good future position. Trading an aging star for a young prospect may seem unfair, but really it is only unfair if the owners were colluding. Any of the other buyers had an opportunity to beat that offer, just as other NL teams had the chance to go get Cliff Lee or Matt Holliday for better prospects. Additionally, anything you add to incentivize better finishes will hurt the balance of your league. There's a reason every sports league (except maybe soccer) rewards losers.

Some further things to consider:
- An auction instead of a draft. I can't tell you how much better auctions are, but let's just say I will never draft again. This also eliminates the draft order problem, and makes keeper systems easier (via price inflation). Not for the faint of heart, but then again neither is a keeper league.
- Keeper restrictions. Are you just going to let people keep their players forever (for free)? Is there going to be a round penalty? Is there going to be a year limit (no player can be kept three years in a row?). Once again, auctions solve this problem much easier (just let players keep their draft picks for a ~ $5 inflation fee every year) but you need to have a plan.
- Are you playing for money? Without cash, keepers leagues are often boring as players will not make a push to win, electing instead to hang onto their good young players.
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Re: Tell me about your keeper league settings

Postby bigmck » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:55 pm

I agree that a Keeper League is alot more fun. We can keep up to 11 players in our league. With 12 Owners, you should only play with one league, either NL or AL. If you use both everyone is going to have all good players. Since the free agents will be good players, no one is going to bother trading. They will just pickup a player to improve their team. Use only either the NL or AL, not both.
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Re: Tell me about your keeper league settings

Postby RedSoxNation04 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:18 pm

bigmck wrote:I agree that a Keeper League is alot more fun. We can keep up to 11 players in our league. With 12 Owners, you should only play with one league, either NL or AL. If you use both everyone is going to have all good players. Since the free agents will be good players, no one is going to bother trading. They will just pickup a player to improve their team. Use only either the NL or AL, not both.

I disagree here. Yes, you are going to have teams keeping good players, but not every team is going to be in playoff contention. We had a good number of trade deadline deals go down and a deal cut involving big names put me in the playoffs. I think, if anything, you want to keep the number of keepers per team relatively low. Too many keepers and the draft loses its value and fun factor. I mean, come on, who doesn't love draft day???? ;-D
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Re: Tell me about your keeper league settings

Postby fast dogs » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:24 am

it doesn't take long for the good managers to accumulate really good keeper rosters and the disparity between the haves & have nots grows as the keeper league grows in years. We use a reverse draft order for the 1st 4 rounds, (so the winner picks last 4 straight rounds) and allow the trading of draft picks. So if a weak team has several non keeper worthy players, he can swap out his early 2nd round pick for someones later 2nd pick sorta thing. There are always a few teams having too many keeper worthy players and some having not enuf. If the loaded teams don't want to just dump them back into the pool, they can at least get a little something for them. Its a buyers market for the bad teams and helps them field a little bit better teams w/o costing too much.Limit the # of keepers, or use the smaller # you were considering, and try to make it easier for the bad teams to come back in 1 year or you'll constantly be trying to find owners to take over horrible rosters for weaker managers that drop out. The teams that did well will be back, try to provide a means for the cellar dwellers to reload each year
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