The concept of keepers is quite unique to fantasy sports. In professional sports, every team wants to keep most of their roster intact from year to year. There are some players that won’t be back and others who will be added. But, overall, the core of the team will remain unchanged. In fantasy sports, though, you have to make a conscience decision whether to enroll in a league where you designate which players will stay on your roster.
Many fantasy football leagues have two keeper slots. Some league let you keep players for all eternity, other make you change at some predetermined interval. My current league does it in three-year cycles. This coming season is the first of a new cycle.
At the beginning of last season, I inherited Peyton Manning and DeAngelo Williams as my keepers from the team’s previous owner. I managed to draft Jamaal Charles and was going to keep him for this coming season (along with Manning). But then I found out that all keepers are being reset, which I believe to be a blessing in disguise because Manning is battling an injury.
If you get to select your keepers from the beginning (as opposed to inheriting somebody else’s problems), then they can be extremely beneficial. They guarantee you two players of your choosing before the season even begins, giving you a leg up on others.
However, they can be a detriment if you had a bad draft (or inherited a bad roster) the previous year and you’re forced to keep two players who you would have never drafted. Then you’re starting from behind (which was partially my situation last season) and it makes the roster selection that much more difficult.
I’ve participated in both types of leagues and do enjoy having keepers. Since I have a clean slate this season, I plan to draft the two best running backs I can find in the first two rounds, and then decide whether a quarterback or wide receiver warrants selection in the third round. But I most definitely make sure that the first three or so players I pick are keeper worthy because, when you’re in a keepers league, you don’t have a choice.
And that’s how I address the keeper question.