Draft Strategy

7 Fantasy Football Tips on Evaluating Who To Keep

In the world of fantasy football, there’s obviously so many different types of fantasy leagues that it can be hard to pick a favorite. For me, a personal favorite has to be two or three-player keeper leagues. While these keeper leagues are done in many different ways, today we’re going to take a look at the type of league where you have to give up the pick from the year before in order to keep that specific player.

Fantasy Football Keeper Advice

Fantasy Football Keeper AdviceIn the world of fantasy football, there are so many different types of fantasy leagues that it can be hard to pick a favorite. For me, a personal favorite has to be two or three-player keeper leagues. While these keeper leagues are done in many different ways, today, we’re going to take a look at the type of league where you have to give up the pick from the year before to keep that specific player. So, for example, if you drafted Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley in the first round in 2016, you’d be giving up your first-round pick this year to carry him over.

It’s pretty straightforward, but that type of fantasy football keeper league is one that’s picking up steam as the years roll on. Now, with that said, we’re going to jump right in and give a few tips to help you evaluate whether or not you should keep a player and give up the draft pick, or let him go back into the draft and keep your pick.

Base Keepers Off Top Ranking Boards

If you can’t figure out whether or not a player is worth giving up a high draft pick for, then look no further than the top fantasy football ranking boards. Simply evaluate where a player is typically going, use his ADP (average draft position) and make the call from there.

If you have a player who’s a sure-fire first-round pick, and you have to give up a first-rounder to keep him, then just lock it in. Better yet, if you have to give up anything later than a first-round pick and the player is projected to go in the first round, then don’t convince yourself against it. Which leads us to the next point.

Could You Draft That Player if You Don’t Keep Him?

This is a pretty common one that people overlook. If you have, say, Andrew Luck and drafted him in the 3rd round in 2016, could you possibly land him in the fourth round or even the fifth round this year? More than likely. In that situation, it would make more sense for you to not give up that third-round pick, and instead let Luck go, draft a stronger player in the early rounds, and then take Luck once again in the late. In turn, you’re giving up less to get the same player, and while there’s some risk involved, there’s plenty of other options if for some unfortunate reason someone jumps the gun on drafting your guy.

Don’t Overthink It, Just Do It.

Over thinking Fantasy FootballPossibly the best advice you can ever get in a keeper league of this format is to not overthink the simple situations. Is Antonio Brown the best wide receiver in the NFL? Yes. Is he worth holding on to a for a first-round pick in a 12-team league? You bet he is.

There’s no sitting back and thinking, “well, maybe if I put him back into the draft, he’ll fall to me at No. 6?” Because, well, maybe he will, but do you really want to risk losing the best wide receiver in the NFL and settling on a player who isn’t nearly as elite as Brown is? Not a chance. Obviously, Brown is just an example, but there are plenty of players out there who would fall under that same category.

Consider Who’s Going Back Into the Draft

Not all leagues will allow you to find out which players are going back into the draft until the actual draft itself, but if you can find out, then it’s massively beneficial to you. You don’t want to give up your first-round pick to keep a player who you’re on the fence about when you could put him back in and possibly get a player who you love and would do anything to have on your team. Now, in the situation where you can’t actually find out who’s being kept until draft day, you may have to do some extra research or possibly even talk with the other owners and try to get them to spill what they’re thinking a bit. It’ll take some time and research, but hey, time and research can lead to championships.

Try to Find Sneaky Keepers, But Don’t Go Crazy

What exactly is a “sneaky keeper?” It’s a player who maybe you landed in the eighth or 10th round the year before, but is likely to go somewhere in rounds four-to-six more than likely. Obviously, this will all depend on how many players you can keep, because if you’re only allowed to hold on to two or three players, then you probably won’t want to use one of those spots on a player you’d select later in the draft (unless you don’t have a better option). Play it smart, and look for ways to beat that “giving up a draft pick” system. There are a few great ways to do it, but you can’t go wrong by at least considering this option.

Can You Trade?

This piece of advice also depends on the specific type of league that you’re playing in. With that said, if you can trade, be the first person to look at the market and see which teams are open to moving which players. You’d be shocked how often you’ll find that an owner who has a top-tier player but has to give up a first-round pick, would rather move that player for someone who would cost him or her just a third or fourth-rounder instead. It doesn’t happen in every league, but you’d be crazy not to do your homework and see if you can nab one of the elite fantasy football players.

Don’t Have a Superb Keeper? Don’t Sweat It

Whatever the reason may be, we’ll just assume that this year, your keepers just aren’t great. You don’t want to give up a first-round pick for anyone, and none of the players on your roster really jump off the page and seem worth giving up that round of draft pick for. This isn’t going to happen often, and typically you’ll find at least one player, if not two that are worth giving up the pick for, but if you can’t do it, then just don’t. Instead, you’ll enter the fantasy draft with all of your picks and the option to be able to pick from the cream of the crop of what’s remaining. In many instances, you may even wind up getting a few picks within the span of the first 10 or 15 (due to other keepers). Just because you don’t have star keepers doesn’t mean your season is over before it even begins.



  1. Doug

    August 12, 2021 at Thursday, August,12

    I inherited a keeper league team in a 12 team .5 ppr format. I have 2 round 1 players but can only keep 1. The players are
    Patrick Mahomes
    Austin Ekeler
    Who is the best
    P.S… my team is pretty weak behind these 2

  2. Bruce Bauer

    September 2, 2020 at Wednesday, September,2

    Can keep 2
    D Adams
    C Godwin
    J Jacobs
    G Kittle

    Your thoughts

    • Mike Rigz

      September 2, 2020 at Wednesday, September,2

      That’s really hard without knowing more about your league. If it’s PPR I’d probably go Adams and Jacobs. But any two of those four players are good. You have great depth. Go with your gut

  3. Griffin

    August 31, 2020 at Monday, August,31

    I’m in a PPR league and I can only keep 1 player. I have Watson Chubb Jacobs and Hopkins. I’m so torn. I know I shouldn’t keep a QB or even a WR. But between Chubb and Jacobs idk what to do. Who do I keep.

    • Mike Rigz

      September 1, 2020 at Tuesday, September,1

      I’d probably keep Jacobs, but that is a tough call.

      • Shane

        September 1, 2020 at Tuesday, September,1

        Half PPR. 2nd pick in ten team league Keep Derrick Henry in the 5th or Drake in the 10th.

      • Abe

        September 17, 2020 at Thursday, September,17

        nice call

  4. Kyle

    August 23, 2018 at Thursday, August,23

    PPR league- Should I keep Hopkins in the 4th round or Elliott in the 2nd? I will lose the pick in the round of the selected player.

  5. Will

    June 28, 2016 at Tuesday, June,28

    How do you recommend comparing different keeper options on your roster, how would you measure best value?

    • Bob Talbot

      June 30, 2016 at Thursday, June,30

      What are your options? Looking at current year ADP or auction value is always a good starting point.

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