Last week’s question: Can the cost of a keeper go down?
My column for Week 14
featured a question from a reader named Michael, who wonders whether
the cost of a keeper can ever go down. The price of players in
his league has traditionally 1) been lower than ESPN’s auction
cost despite 2) increasing by 10% over the previous year’s
auction price in that league.
Michael anticipates that Saquon
Barkley’s auction ESPN auction price in 2021 will be lower
than it was in 2020, so he poses a reasonable question: Should
the Barkley owner be able to keep the RB at a discount, or should
he still be expected to pay the 10% premium (even though that
would likely result in Barkley being the only player in the league
whose keeper price is greater than the ESPN auction value)?
Much as I liked the question, I didn’t collect much feedback
that engaged the nuance of Michael’s problem. Bart’s
take was typical:
Rules are rules. If your auction league increases the price
of keepers by 10%, then the Barkley owner can either pay 10%
more [in 2021 than he paid in 2020] to keep him or designate
a different player as a keeper. There’s no way he would
get a special discount in my league just because some website
hung a lower price tag on him.
I didn’t hear from anyone who advocated a discount for
the Barkley owner, but I still enjoyed the thoughtful case that
Michael made for tweaking his league’s system. I also enjoyed
hearing from Mark about the rules his league has implemented on
keepers to add excitement to the final 6 rounds of his draft while
capping the duration on keepers in such a way as to prevent one
freakishly lucky pick in the 18th round from determining a team’s
destiny for the next decade.
What we do on keepers and have for several years is that the
12th round is the first round that you can draft a keeper (we
have 18 rounds in the draft). Round 12 becomes fun as managers
take shots at rookies or injured players. The owner with the
last pick in the draft gets the first pick in the 12th round,
so there’s a small reward for having the last pick in
the first round. The rules are you need to keep the player on
your roster the whole year; if you drop or trade them you can't
retain them in future years.
We also decided that you can only have a keeper on your roster
for 3 years (meaning you can only retain keepers for 2 years
beyond the year in which you drafted them). We call it the Kurt
Warner rule as someone in our league was a big UNI fan and drafted
Kurt in the 18th round and then had him for 5 years. Each year
you can retain up to 3 players but they move up 2 spots in draft
order. So if you drafted X in the 14th round this year, you
could get X in the 12th round next year and 10th round the year
One other rule is that once they hit the 10th or 11th round,
that is the last year you can keep them. So for example Kyler Murray was the first 12th round pick last year, and the owner
kept him in the 10th round this year and next year Kyler goes
back into the regular draft pool.
Other examples of 12th round picks this year were Tua, Justin Jefferson, Debo Samuel, Damien Harris, & Jerry Jeudy. I
took a shot on Darrell Henderson in the 17th round this year,
so I have to decide next fall if I keep him in the 15th round
or let him go back in the draft pool. You can keep 0-3 players
I wish Michael the best of luck with his keeper Sa-quandary,
and my thanks go out to everyone who wrote in--especially Mark
(since his detailed take on his league’s approach to keepers leads
us neatly to Jeremy’s question below).
This Week’s Question: What rule sets your league apart?
Jeremy has some interesting ideas that might be worth exploring
to make his league unique, but he’s eager to hear from other
readers who have implemented unorthodox rules successfully.
He’s currently considering a “Hindsight is 20/20”
change to his league that would permit owners to retroactively
adjust their lineups if a bench player outscores a starter (but
only once per season):
Each team has the option once per year to switch out
a starter for a bench player. Decision has to be made by Tues
at noon and submitted to the commish. At noon commish will reveal
which teams used their hindsight option. After that scores will
be updated accordingly. Commish and weekly opponent would send
their decision to a third party.
Although I find this proposal fascinating, I’m not sure
what to make of it. I can imagine weird forms of collusion coming
up that would involve teams using their mulligans not when it
would be in their own best interest, but in order to impact
the playoff picture for friends.
But then again, the pressure to use these mulligans early in
the season--when everyone is still jockeying for a playoff spot--could
realistically be high enough to prevent such incidents from
occurring. In other words, I would have to try this for myself
and see how it works out to have a real sense of whether it’s
a great idea or an eternal headache. If anyone out there has
tried anything like this, I’m sure Jeremy would like to
hear about your experience as much as I would.
Jeremy is also considering a “holdout rule”:
This is for keepers only. In the week after keepers are confirmed
and before the draft, all owners that opt in will have their
keeper(s) name written in a piece of paper and put into a hat.
If your keeper is drawn, he is considered a holdout. The keeper
will be ineligible to play the first three weeks (weeks 1-3
regardless of injuries or anything else) unless the owner agrees
to renegotiate their contract. For the player to become eligible,
the owner agrees to make the keeper price $10 more which will
be taken from the next year’s draft cash. If your keeper
is not drawn, you get all your keeper fees draft cash returned
to you (just the added keeper fee, not the player value fee).
Whether you like this idea or not, I hope you’ll give
Jeremy points for creativity. Even though a random drawing is
obviously based on luck rather than skill, it adds an element
of uncertainty and gamesmanship that is likely to appeal to
a lot of fantasy enthusiasts.
If you have any “outside the box” rules such as the
ones that Jeremy is considering, please share them with me in
the comment section below or via email. And even if you don’t
have any ideas, please
let me know why you think Jeremy’s proposals would or
wouldn’t work in your league.
Survivor Pool Pick (Courtesy of Matthew Schiff)
[Editor’s note: Those of you with experience in survivor
pools already know how hard it is to get these picks right week
after week. The fact that Schiff has only missed one pick in his
top slot 15 weeks into the season is a testament to the general
soundness of his approach and one more reason I’m delighted
to have featured his analysis in this space for many years.]
#3: Tennessee over Detroit: 8-6 (Bal, KC, az, sf, LAR,
min, was, PHL, PIT, GB, mia, NYG, LV, no)
Is there a better running back in the NFL than Derrick Henry?
He leads all backs this year in rushing and gives Tennessee such
an edge at that position that they arguably have the most fearsome
foursome of skill players (including Corey Davis, A.J. Brown,
and Jonnu Smith) at the disposal of any QB. The Titans lead the
AFC South and should cement a playoff spot this week when the
Lions visit (most likely without Matthew Stafford under center).
Combine that with Kenny Golladay not being available and a Detroit
defense that has been giving up more than 25 points per game,
and you can pencil this in as your lock of the week.
#2: LA Rams over NY Jets : 9-4 (ind, AZ, TB, BAL, sf,
MIA, LAC, KC, NE, CLE, min, sf, sea, GB)
This late in the season, it makes an awful lot of sense to pick
any team that is playing one of the three or four worst teams
in the NFL. Why? Because those teams are competing for the number
one draft pick in the following draft. This year, the Jets are
0-12 with a high likelihood of getting Trevor Lawrence as the
#1 pick in April’s draft. Do you need any other reason to
choose the Rams? Well, if that wasn’t good enough, the Rams’
defense dismantled the New England Patriots--and should easily
do the same to Gang Green. This is the chance for the Rams to
take control of the NFC West--especially with their rival Seahawks
facing a Washington team that has a chance to win its own division
(the NFC East) by upsetting Seattle. Look for the Rams’
Aaron Donald to sack Sam Darnold at least twice in this event,
with a possible pick-six thrown in for good measure.
The Steelers have lost two straight, and the warning bells are
going off. But if you need a team to help you “get healthy,”
the Bengals without Joe Burrow is a formula to fix what ails you.
While the Bengals are far from a “guaranteed win,”
these teams are definitely at different levels. I don’t
believe that the visiting team covers the spread, but they should
have more than enough to stay in the hunt for home field advantage
in the AFC playoffs.
Mike Davis has been writing about
fantasy football since 1999--and playing video games even longer
than that. His latest novel (concerning a gamer who gets trapped
inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms) can
be found here.