The most frustrating part of fantasy football has to be the zombie owners. The owners that either never had the requisite interest to follow their team, update their lineup weekly, check trade offers, etc, or simply lose interest midway through the year. It can be difficult to ensure that every owner in a league will stay engaged and check his team. Some guys, even those who have the time and are pretty cool, will jump at the chance to join a league, but then will, for whatever reason, either choose not to or forget to check their team during the year. Even though playing those teams is basically a guaranteed win, it’s ultimately not ideal, nor is it fun, to play against owners that are not engaged at all.
What is not as hard though is creating conditions that keep owners active throughout the year. The more common issue that arises is a team starts out the season poorly, or is eliminated from playoff contention by midseason, and then that team’s owner stops checking. It’s understandable for an owner to stop caring about his team if and when his team is eliminated from the playoff chase. If a team is 1-6, then yeah, I get it.
But a keeper league is one way to keep everyone involved in the league.
How? It’s simple, really. Each team in the league selects three players on its roster to keep for next season. How does that keep every involved? Say a team has been eliminated from playoff contention. And just for to create a hypothetical scenario here, let’s say that team has some older players that are having very solid seasons in the current year. Well, that team might consider trading its 31 year old solid starter for a 24 or 25 year old up-and-coming player that the other team has no intentions of keeping anyway. It is away of keeping the bad teams thinking about the future. They can start building their nucleus for next season, getting a young core of keepers for next season, and beyond. And teams that are in the midst of the playoff chase that need an extra push can look to dump their young assets for players will help now.
Envision another likewise scenario. Maybe a team out of the playoffs is looking to next season already. They might trade 60 cents on the dollar for someone who is very good, but injured at the time. Think Percy Harvin. What if there’s an team that’s 6-2, with three very solid keepers already, but a giant hole at quarterback, and Percy Harvin on its bench. You could consider trading your fairly average (though still a major upgrade) quarterback for Percy Harvin, with the intention of keeping Harvin for next season.
This setup allows for more strategy and creative thinking. Owners can think ahead to the future, craft their nucleus for next season, and have a more long-term approach to their team.
There are endless hypothetical scenarios that one can envision. The system isn’t perfect, but it at least aims at keeping as many owners in the league active as possible. And isn’t an active league the best type of league?