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The_Commish

Dynasty: How many keepers is too many?

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We're converting our two-keeper redraft league into a dynasty league with pick-trading. First-year auction,  redraft after that, no separate rookie draft.

 

My question for the seasoned dynasty folks here: have you found a particular number of keepers to be too little/too many, and had to make adjustments? If so, what were the issues?

 

We're going to have rosters of 14-15 active slots, and I was going to propose seven keepers to start. 

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It's not dynasty unless you're keeping everyone. (Which is not to say that that setup is the most competitive.)

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Not a dynasty then.... anyway I think 6/7 is good

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Ah, my apologies on the semantics there then. Just a keeper league with pick-trading, and enough carryover to not incentivize bad trades .. or at least that's the hope.

 

Previously we did two keepers, from rounds four and later only, and each year the value went up two rounds (i.e., drafted in 6th, kept for a 4th). Then we threw in pick-trading and things got dicey, nudged it around as it didn't work, things got dicier. Everyone not making the playoffs each year would trade their top guys to the playoff teams at the deadline, for whatever they could get. Like I said it incentivized making sub-value trades, because what's the worst that could happen? You're bad for a year, then back to normal, because it's better to have any extra pick than to sit on a first-rounder if you can't keep them and you're out of contention.

 

Like I said, hope is we add enough carryover, and eliminate the rounds restriction on the keepers, and we land in a happy medium. And kick off with an auction draft so everyone gets the same crack at (almost) every player.

 

What's that they say about best-laid plans, though?

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Okay, I gave it some thought and came back to give a more useful answer to the question. There is a noticeable leveling off after the first fifty-ish players. To illustrate, the 1st-ranked player is almost twice as valuable per game as the 51st, but the 51st is only worth about 25% more than the 101st, which, in turn, is worth about 18% more than the 151st. It's really those top fifty-ish players that define teams, so I would start with that as a minimum number--meaning four keepers per team in a twelve-team league or five in a ten team.

 

My next consideration would be how many players each team starts on a given night (or in a given week, depending on lineup settings). I wouldn't want the teams to have more keepers than that. For example, if your league starts eight players [PG, SG, SF, PF, C, 3x util], I wouldn't go above eight keepers. The rationale here is that an owner who is able to stockpile starting-quality players beyond his or her number of starters--and trust me, it happens in dynasty leagues--gains a significant advantage in tailoring lineups and overcoming injuries.

 

Within that range, I think it is matter of preference more than anything. Fewer keepers will make for more exciting but longer drafts, and teams that vary more from year to year, but it might have some of the same problems as your current setup. More keepers will give more of a sense of building a culture, and decisions will have longer-lasting consequences, but bad mistakes might take years to recover from. I prefer more keepers, personally.

 

One possibility that occurs to me is that you might also have conditional keepers. For example, you could have six normal keepers and two "rookie-scale contract" keepers that can be used only on players with no more than three years NBA experience.

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Appreciate the thorough answer, man. I've honestly had a good time figuring out this transition, so extra thought and information is appreciated. The big considerations have been trying to respect the planning some teams did over the last couple years (with a 1-2 year outlook) while not tipping the scales too far toward those teams for the foreseeable future, if those keepers that used to escalate will now be permanent. No one wanted to start from scratch, it didn't have to be dead even, but it had to "feel" reasonable for lack of a better word. Everyone was ready for a change, so at least the leaguemates have been amenable to some unusual solutions. 

 

If you're curious what the current proposal looks like, it's here: http://temple-of-doom.webflow.io/

 

You'll see the pivot point for everything is that one team has Giannis in keeper position, and as you can imagine they were not down with a proposal that obliterated that advantage. Had to figure out a rough system for dinging auction stacks without straight singling them out, that sort of thing. They still get a huge bargain on Gianny, obviously, but this seems to be working for everyone.

 

Happy to hear anyone's thoughts if they're just browsing around. I'm trying to see all the loopholes beforehand so we don't need to make any major, reactive rule changes for at least two years.

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One thing to remember about keeper leagues is, while its fun to 'build' a team... stacked teams can get concentrated quick if there isn't a means of diluting that talent.  The more keepers, the more concentrated talent can get. For example, if I had been in a 6 keeper league, from just starting a few years ago, I'd be going into this season with Giannas, KAT, Gobert, Kyrie, Olidapo and Otto Porter.  That's 5 of the top 20 players last year + Gobert, and that's over just a few years.

 

Draft picks become less valuable because they return lower value players, and players with more variability.  Rather the best value is in taking 'big risks'... someone who can become 'keeper' worthy, and a top keeper at that.   Its not much more than "what high risk, high upside guy, do I get in the first round or two" and if you don't get the 'right' one, nothing changes.

 

Meadowlark mentioned that the top guy is twice as valuable as the 50th.  That's a bit of an (unintentional) under statement.  Sure we could say 2 Enes Kanters are statistically > 1 AD... but 1) 2 Enes Kanters are impossible... and while I know that banal, its important.  1 Enes Kanter + 1 Devin Booker gives us a much different statistical make up (damn negative stats!).   2) they take 2 roster spots... 1 AD leaves 1 roster spot available. That's an enormous opportunity cost not accounted for.  Even an 'average' player filling in that spot means AD + average player wins 7+ cats over two 50ish ranked players.  AD + a 100ish player still wins 5+ cats on average.  AD + 150ish ranked player is still a slight edge to win.

 

While those top players do change over time... year over year they change very little.  Its still AD, Harden, Curry, Durant, LeBron, Lilliard, Chris Paul sitting in those top spots like they were 4 years ago.  But they do change.. meaning someone with a top player can add another top player... but then its hard for someone else to get a different top player, even later.

 

That's not to say 1 player will win every year... but its pretty easy to get 3 or 4 players all competing for a bunch of years straight... with the remaining 8 players needing to rebuild.  4 Years later the league may have 4 new 'top' players, and 4 new 'rebuilders', but 4 players stuck again.

 

So what we get is more keepers means a greater need to distribute that talent (say, things like salaries).  The alternative is of course less keepers. 

 

Personally I think 3 keepers is a lot... 2 keepers will help keep things relatively 'fresh' from year to year.

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We did a keeper league, where you could keep 2, but not your first round pick. If you keep a 2nd rounder, you abandon your first round pick in the next draft and this guy will count as your first rounder the year after. I like the system of not being able to keep first rounders, so that you can keep your low pick, high value players, but not just stack your team with a stupid amount of talent. So if you limit your keepers to 2 or 3, you have to actually think about what you are doing and no "end of season, I dont compete anymore, give me assets"-trades are going to happen.

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This is all great feedback folks, very much appreciated. Some of the league members actually started breaking down auction values in prep, and there's some concerns we need to backtrack and find a new plan, mostly because that Giannis value is just too low, and would immediately mess up the balance of the league long-term. That squad could potentially just overspend on some other number one pick possibility and have something like Gianny + Harden for only $110. Most of the league members are in a dynasty baseball league with minor leaguers, so they're mentally predisposed to the idea that there will be chunks of years that teams are good and bad, but that may jack things way up right off the bat.

 

I'm probably back to the drawing board on how to make this transition and not completely blow up people original strategy/asset planning, but this is all quite helpful.

 

17 hours ago, Erenor said:

We did a keeper league, where you could keep 2, but not your first round pick. If you keep a 2nd rounder, you abandon your first round pick in the next draft and this guy will count as your first rounder the year after. I like the system of not being able to keep first rounders, so that you can keep your low pick, high value players, but not just stack your team with a stupid amount of talent. So if you limit your keepers to 2 or 3, you have to actually think about what you are doing and no "end of season, I dont compete anymore, give me assets"-trades are going to happen.

 

This is cool, and I love seeing how different leagues handle these issues. We may go permanent auction draft, so one weird alternate suggestion was to let people buy their keeper(s)  in advance for full price this first year (based on some average auction values) and they get him permanently, or half price and they get them for however long they would have had him under the old system before he'd rotate out of keeper position. 

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