Fantasy experts rank everything else imaginable, but we tend to treat keeper leagues like the way the Knicks are treating
Since keeper leagues often have more complex rules than the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, using one set of rules to establish the rankings proved impossible -- kind of like denying LeBron on a tomahawk dunk attempt. With so many different systems in place, one list cannot cater to everyone, so here is how the keeper rankings should be interpreted: If you were to start a league today and conduct a draft, the
With that said, here are
This rubric is easily the most important but oftentimes the most overlooked. Find out the scoring system and the rules for keeping players -- it's important. Some leagues use a tiered keeper system, some leagues don't let you keep players from certain rounds, some leagues don't let you keep players longer than two years, and so on. Once you have as solid a grasp on your league rules as
This is to get you mentally prepared in order to help form a plan of action. What types of players do I want in my keepers? If I get player X first, who should I take in Round 2 (such a great segue for the 1-2 Bounce article found here)? Do I want to focus on certain categories? For those who already have keepers and are drafting with a foundation in place already, how do I build upon this base? Am I missing any draft picks I need to plan around? Should I gamble on Player X? Keep asking yourself questions after each pick you make so you know what you'd like to do next and if there are any adjustments you need to make.
The rule of three -- not the one discussed in the classic film
It may seem obvious, but in the first three rounds you want to select the players in the prime of their careers, or those just about to hit their prime. You can sprinkle in a few youngsters (for example,
By paying attention to the aforementioned designations of their career paths, it is easier to assess each player's respective risk. Just because a player is on the rise, it does not mean he is guaranteed to rise (ahem,
Another way to minimize risk is to avoid reaching for young players who you feel are certain to become stars. I've reached for
This rubric could encompass the previous three but it becomes more relevant once you hit the middle rounds, usually around the 50th overall pick. Up until that time, in redraft leagues, you generally want to take the best player available. It's similar in keeper leagues, but you have to pay a little more attention as to the player's future as Rubric 4 explicitly pointed out. Once you reach the crucial fourth, fifth and sixth rounds in the draft, your best chance for success involves straying from the rankings a bit. Why? Because these are the rounds where your future keepers could come from (especially leagues requiring three keepers).
Around the late third or fourth round is when you can begin to gamble a little with younger players with stratospheric upsides. Take the players ranked 18-21 as prime examples.
There is something to be said about not forgetting the reliable veteran in keeper leagues. Too often we find ourselves jumping on youthful players simply because they are young and they could morph into a keeper after a successful season. These wily veterans often present good value in the middle to later rounds when people are reaching for the next hotness when clearly, the next hotness has extremely low odds of turning into a keeper. Again, don't worry about straying from the rankings at this point as you try to fill your categorical needs and empty positions on your roster. Players like
That would be at this point, the flip side to Rubric 7, which could also be called "Don't Draft Anyone Older Than 33." When deciding between two similar players, either very early (Rounds 1-4) or very late (Rounds 10 and on), take the younger player every time. They have a far greater chance of continuing to improve and avoiding injury versus the maxed out veteran with miles of wear and tear on his knees. That is precisely why
This one is a tough one for some people to comprehend. Do yourself a favor and let someone else take
The same goes for injury-prone players. We already discussed Mr. Glass himself, Camby, but don't forget the injury history of
Three other names conspicuously missing from the list are
A caveat here is that suspended players are fine for drafting. Remember, you're thinking a little more long term. If a suspension can get you a discount on
By the time you reach the final round or two, you're filling out bench spots, so why not gamble on a young player, especially a rookie. You'll notice that there are only seven true rookies listed in this year's list: