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When to keep, when not to keep

By Dave Holcomb, Fantasy Sports Writer

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The concept sounds simple enough. If every team keeps one player, then keep the best player from last year's squad. If everybody keeps a pair of players, then retain the top two players. So on and so forth.

It's actually not that simple and following only that mantra could prevent an owner from achieving the most important thing on draft day.

The single most vital objective in every draft is finding value. The same should go with an owner's keeper pick.

An owner will often jump at a chance to keep their best or most dynamic player. Someone in my league last year kept Robert Griffin III. As exciting as his rookie season was, he was not worth a first-round pick, and that owner went on to have his worst record in the four years of our league.

First, owners need to realize they do not have to keep a player. If RGIII is the best on the roster (boy, you need more than just advice on keepers) then do not select a keeper.

Second, owners need to find out what the keeper rules are. Most commissioners make it easy for themselves and make the keeper players each team's first- round pick (like my RGIII example). In other more involved leagues, the kept player is assigned the same or equal round value that player was selected in the previous year's draft.

Let's focus on the first situation.

So if one's kept player is automatically one's first-round pick, that player must be worth a first-round selection. More importantly, that player must also be worth whatever position one is picking in the first round.

Let's run through an example. It just so happens I have access to a championship roster from last year in my 10-team keeper league. This said owner is selecting No. 10 in the first round. Surely, he has someone worth keeping in the first round. After all, the team is the defending champion.

Below is said team's starting lineup in last season's championship game. You tell me who this owner should keep.

QB: Tony Romo

RB: Giovani Bernard

RB: Le'Veon Bell

Flex: Keenan Allen

WR: A.J. Green

WR: Antonio Brown

TE: Dennis Pitta


RB: Shane Vereen

RB: Ray Rice

I didn't list defenses or kickers because NEWS FLASH don't keep a defense or kicker.

What probably is news to you is I wouldn't keep a single player on this list. Sure, Green and Brown are an unbelievable duel threat at wide receiver and allows an owner to place a receiver such as Keenan Allen in the Flex position.

The same goes for Bell and Bernard, who are both ranked back in the top 10 running backs this year.

But remember, an owner's number one goal in a successful draft is ... value. None of these players are top 10 overall players.

Bernard has an argument to be top 10. I have him just outside my top 10 at No. 12 on my big board. At pick No. 10 though, he is still a slight reach.

Staying in the same league, let's move to example number two. Below is the roster of the team that has the No. 1 pick this year. Should this owner keep a player?

QB: Drew Brees

RB: Frank Gore

RB: DeMarco Murray

Flex: Golden Tate

WR: Julio Jones

WR: Kendall Wright

TE: Tony Gonzalez

Bench TE: Julius Thomas

Another NEWS FLASH: don't keep Tony Gonzalez. The answer again is no keeper. No player on this list is worth a No. 1 overall pick. Just like the previous roster, there are some nice players, but they do not give you great value at No. 1.

Let's run through one more example from the same league with the team picking third. Here's the roster:

QB: Kirk Cousins

RB: LeSean McCoy

RB: Pierre Thomas

Flex: Lamar Miller

WR: Victor Cruz

WR: James Jones

TE: Jimmy Graham

In this case, I would keep McCoy. He is definitely worth the No. 3 pick and actually has an argument to go No. 1.

This is a situation where an owner can feel great about being in a keeper league because said owner gets tremendous value and the best player from last year's roster.

Before your keeper league draft make sure the keeper pick is giving you what every selection should: value.

08/29 17:34:58 ET

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