Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Playing for Keeps

When it comes to fantasy sports, some strategies require you to go all-out if you want them to work. One of these, which we discussed a few weeks ago, is punting a category. The only way to succeed in punting a category is to get rid of EVERY asset you have in the category. Keeper leagues, to me, are the same way. As the trade deadline for many leagues is only about a week away, if you’re in a keeper league, you’ve got a decision to make: Are you a have, or a have-not?

Of course, qualifying as a “have” means taking into account many different variables. How many teams are in the money at the end of the season, how far out of the money you are (if you’re currently in the money, clearly, you’re a “have”), and how good a shot you have at getting in the money based on the categories. Regardless, it is critical that you make this decision right now, while there’s still time to make some trades to set you up for either a late-season push, or to stock up on keepers for next year.

So, once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to make some serious roster moves. If you’re in a keeper league, there should be a flurry of trade activity in the next week. Much like punting a category, you’ve got to get rid of EVERY asset that is helping you towards a goal you’re not attempting to reach. For example:

In our league (which isn’t a keeper league, but nonetheless), the three worst teams in the league have players like Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan on their squads. If this was a keeper league, by the end of next week, these guys should all be on teams trying to win championships. What good are these guys doing on bad teams? If you’re in last place, Kobe Bryant is just sitting there wasting value. You should be moving him to a contender in exchange for guys with good keeper value. Who cares if the move is totally lopsided – if you’ve got no shot at winning this year, getting a guy with keeper value is more valuable to your team than your first-round pick from this year.

Similarly, if you’re in contention in your league, you should be offering every player with keeper value to the guys in the bottom of the standings, searching for studs. Remember, the best opportunity for trades are when players have different values for different teams. This is a perfect example of that.

So with that said, who are the guys with the most keeper value? Well, rules are different in every league. So, it’s really tough to say with different round-value rules, lengths of time you can keep guys, etc. But odds are any guy who’s has a breakout season this year is a nice keeper (David West, for example, or Gerald Wallace). Also, many rookies are going to end up having very strong keeper value, like Charlie Villanueva or Raymond Felton.

Still, as great as David West has been this year, he’s got much more value for a team at the bottom of the standings than he does for a team at the top. Just like right now, LeBron’s got more value for a team at the top of the standings than he does for a team at the bottom. West for LeBron? Only in keeper leagues.


Anonymous Greg said...

Could you explain further? Why don't I want to keep Lebron to build around. What would I have to get in return for Lebron for it to be worth it

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Hey guys, what do you think of Marcus Banks so far? I've been very impressed with him so far in Minnesota. He's putting up good numbers and minutes as well. I've got Delonte West, Kevin Martin, and Darko on my bench. Should I think about nabbing Banks? Darko's my third and last center, however...

3:30 PM  
Blogger bv said...

greg - as i said, all keeper leagues have their own rules. But most keeper leagues that i've seen have round-value rules that move from year to year. For example, if you draft a guy one year in the 14th round, you can keep him the next year in the 13th, then the 12th the year after that, etc.

What this does is makes it so that 1st round picks (and in other cases, second and third rounders as well) can't be kept, which makes them serious trade bait when they're on teams out of the running.

If you can keep a guy at his same round value, then by all means it's a different story for LeBron. Does that help?

I'd leave Banks on the wire. He's been ok, but inconsistent, and with Darko as your only backup center he's worth more to your team (i would guess). 2 other things about banks: one, he commits a TON of fouls for a PG, which keeps him off the court, and two, he's a FA after this season (i think) - i'm not sure he's in the TWolves long-term plans.

4:28 PM  
Blogger JM said...

any thoughts on Jameer Nelson?
He's getting close to being healthy and the coach promised him his starting spot back.

My bench consists of Darius Miles, Mo Williams and Kendrick Perkins.

7:13 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

I'd prefer a healthy Jameer Nelson to Mo Williams. That's if you think he'll be full-speed when he returns. I don't . . .

That said, Grant Hill could go down for the season at any time, and Jameer would be golden if he is healthy and that happens. Probably the FA in your league with by far the most upside.

3:04 PM  

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