Season Long Fantasy Baseball Strategy Corner: Deep Value Keeper Approach

One of the toughest times of the year is trying to finalize your keeper selections for the upcoming season. Regardless of the league format you are in – the approach is actually quite simple.

Today, I am going to take you through some rules that I like to follow to help me make the best possible keeper decisions so that I have the strongest starting squad heading into the following season.
Once a fantasy season nears its end, it’s only natural to start thinking about what your roster is going to look like next year. Or, even better, what you want it to look like.
That’s where getting ahead of your league mates comes in. Start strategizing. Think things through from a number of different angles to get an edge. Make the best possible decisions today that will help you tomorrow so you can continue (or begin) to dominate your league.

You want to be able to keep the players that will provide you with the most value – for the least cost possible.  If you are in a keeper league where you keep ‘x’number of players with no costs or strings attached – then it is simple…

Keep your most valuable players and the players you envision will be the best for the upcoming season.  If you are in Dynasty format, generally – you are keeping numerous players on your team(if not all) – and then there really aren’t all that many difficult decisions to make.

Now – it becomes more complex when looking at auction formats – specifically ones where you keep a moderate number of players (8-12, which is common).

A few simple rules to follow for auction keepers:

1. Keep it Simple

Don’t overthink things.  Too many times people try to make their keepers well-rounded at the cost of overall value.  Your roster is at best 52.1% comprised of keepers (assuming 12 out of 23 starting roster slots in a standard league).  It is so early in the construction of your team that you really should be focused on accumulating value.  Do not sacrifice that value when you are choosing your 12 keepers.

Many times teams will try to make their keepers look the best.  They want them to be perfectly balanced categorically on paper. That really is foolish.  Use the auction for that.  If you are light on speed but have a couple extra really good arms – lock in those arms and then buy a good well-rounded thoroughbred in the auction.

If you hit last year on the young Cardinal arms and look over-stocked in pitching – don’t be afraid to keep a $1 Michael Wacha and a $6-8 Shelby Miller if you can’t get full value via the trade market.  Lock in those profits, reap the benefits through the stats you accumulate in the pitching cats – and allocate more of your auction dollars to bats.

2. Don’t Underestimate the Trade Market

This is a big one and is often overlooked.

Every league has different trade markets.  Make sure you know the types of players that garner premium returns… and if you own one of those players – DO NOT move them unless you receive… you guessed it – premium returns.

Having a cheap stud, or in some leagues a cheap stud prospect can have a value that seems infinite at times.

Do not panic if you are light on keepers and move them for mediocre to above average quantity just to round out your keepers. I’ve seen this happen time and time again – and teams that have elite long-term pieces just kill their chances before keepers are even submitted by not staying the course with their elite talent.

If you have someone who will net huge returns at some point in the season – save that chip until someone is willing to pay you for it.

3. Always Look for Value

Don’t just go down your roster and keep your most talented players regardless of cost.  Look for guys that are at costs lower than:

1) What they would go for if they were back in the auction and/or

2) More importantly, guys that are at lower costs than the value from the stats they are likely to produce.

From there – it is simple.

Choose the players that you expect will provide the most value – relative to the costs you have them for.  If you have two options with similar types of projected value – keep the one that has the better skills.  That player would have a higher ceiling and would provide the possibility of higher returns than the safer piece.

Every dollar you save is a dollar more you have for the auction – and can make the difference between securing another player that you want in the auction.

There are always going to be exceptions to the three rules posted above – but they do serve as a good guideline of how you can navigate through the off-season – specifically, through the keeper selection process.

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About Brad

Brad hates the term fantasy sports expert, so instead he is someone who specializes in NFL, NHL and MLB DFS notes and analysis. He had a 68.2% win rate in 2015 NFL cash games to go along with a 83.5% win rate for the 2014 season. For NHL he had a 58.7% win rate in the 2015-16 season for cash games and a 66.2% win rate for the 2014-15 season. You can follow him on Twitter @bradsgotmoxy.

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