Fantasy Football 101: To Keep Or Not To Keep..?

Embed from Getty Images

So maybe you are a little knowledgeable about fantasy football, maybe you have played a couple seasons, and you have heard people speak about keeper leagues but don’t know much about it. You might have had a really good draft last year, and are worried you won’t be able to keep some of the best producers from last year’s line up.

Starting a keeper league is a good option only when you have a solid group of managers, who are all looking for something with more strategy than the basic re-draft leagues.

What is a Keeper League?

Starting a keeper league is a second year option, where your league already has gone through a year of play. During the second year, or next draft, managers choose players that will not go back into the draft pool but will stay on their roster ’til the next year. This lets you keep an agreed upon number of players from season to season.

Now to compensate for these players, draft picks will have to be used so teams don’t have more players than the agreed positions. But before you get to that point you have to decide how many keepers you will have, and how you will decide what draft picks get used.

In general keeper leagues will keep no more than four players, though often times it is only one or two. It’s not often that even a championship league has four elite players on their team, so rest assured having two keepers can be more than enough. This is also depending on the size of your league. While I suggest not attempting a keeper league without a solid group of ten, you can get it done with eight.

Once you have the number of keepers a decision must be made on how to choose the draft picks that will be used for each keeper. One way is to just take the draft picks off the top of the draft. Everyone gets two keepers and loses the first two rounds. It’s simple.

For a more interesting approach, many league host sites will keep records of draft results. If you allow keepers’ draft picks to be dictated by the draft position the manager picked the player at the previous year, a whole new drafting dynamic can be played out. It allows managers’ draft picks used for keepers to be staggered, and if you trade draft picks during the season it adds even more spice to the process. Draft pick trades will be fleshed out in more detail in a future article.

The in-between approach would be to designate the picks to be taken based on each player’s Average Draft Position (ADP). There are many sources that stat out ADP for fantasy drafts, simply google them. I’m not a fan of Yahoo’s O-rank, but other user sites have good sources of information. To handle keepers that were picked up from waivers in the previous season, using ADP -1 position will give league managers an added bonus for being able to pick up good players off waivers. A good example of this is how Devonte Freeman was not widely drafted last year, but is expected to go in the first round this year. If a manager was to keep him, they would be allotted the bonus for picking him up.


Follow @natecheat on Twitter and join the discussion on all our Lions content in our Reddit community!

More From The Detroit Lions Podcast

About the Author

Nathan Cheatham
Nathan Cheatham grew up in downriver Detroit, and after much traveling landed in Hartford, CT. A journalism major, he has been writing news for the past four years. You can see examples of it at and contact him at A newer football fan, Cheatham became a Detroit Lions fan soon after the 0-16 season. An avid Fantasy Football enthusiast, he has been running his own personal league for nearly 10 years. Regardless of what some might say, he is convinced the Lions will have Super Bowl Victory next year!