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.