So, You Want To Transition To a Keeper/Dynasty Format?

I’ve gotten a couple of similar questions over the last year or so, and they all really boil down to the same topic: transitioning a league from a redraft format to a keeper/dynasty format. And frankly, I’ve wanted to dive into this area for a while now since I haven’t really found anything clear or helpful about making the move. So here we are. As you probably can guess by both the name of this site and most of the topics I write about, I greatly enjoy leagues where you keep players from year-to-year; however, I do also play in my fair share of redraft leagues and they provide a different type of challenge.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who play in redraft leagues, whether it’s online or with your friends, where the topic of adding keepers has been discussed. It seems like there’s always one or two owners in every league who bring this topic up–and depending on how the rest of the league feels about it, it could be the right move. But you want to do it the right way, and that means making everyone comfortable with the transition. So here are some pointers if you’re looking to take your league to the next level:

1) The Will of the People

There are plenty of things which are brought to a vote over the course of a league, and most of them are relatively minor items that can be decided by a simple majority. This is not one of them. When the topic of adding keepers to an existing league, I really believe that the voting process must be decided by a super-majority. That means more than two-thirds of the league has to vote in favor of the switch. So if you have a 12-team league, that means nine owners or more must be on board. And for something as major as this, it is appropriate for the commissioner to make sure that everyone votes.

On top of that, be prepared to lose an owner or two in the process. Some people just don’t want to play in a keeper format, even if it’s a league with people whose company they really enjoy. You may think that the format is the greatest thing since Fernando-mania, but it’s not for everyone.

2) For the Love of All That Is Holy, Don’t Change Formats Until After the Next Draft

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re going to make the transition, make sure that the next draft you have after the vote is one in which ALL players are available. Anything less than this is completely unfair to everyone. All owners need to ability to form their own strategies in the draft which kicks off your new keeper league. I cannot stress this enough. And on top of that, give everyone at least a couple of months notice before you do it. Give people who haven’t participated in this type of format extra time to think over their strategy and how they view players in this new context.

3) Ease Into It

It may seem like a great idea to just roll straight from a redraft format to a full-on dynasty format, but realistically, it’s not the best thing for all of the owners in the league. Some people may be keeper/dynasty pros from other leagues that they play in, but the league has a better chance of sticking together for the long haul if you ease into it a bit.

Here’s an example. Say the goal is to eventually have a league with 25 major league keepers and 10 minor league keepers. In the first year post-vote, let owners keep 10 players; then build from there. Here’s a potential schedule for the steady climb:

2013 – Current season; play out as a redraft
2014 – Draft from scratch; each owner keeps 10 players at year-end2015 – Each owner keeps 15 players at year-end; After season, hold a 5-man minor league draft
2016 – Each owner keeps 25 players at year-end; After season, hold another 5-man minor league draft

This way, at the end of the three years, you’re there–and all owners have had a chance to grow with the format, making for a more enjoyable experience all around.

4) The Keeper Price Tags

There are many, many ways to decide on keeper price tags from season to season if you’re not planning to transition to a full-on dynasty format, and it partially depends on how you draft your league. So for that reason, we’ll break this into two sections–

The Snake Draft

The first decision you need to make is whether there is going to be draft pick compensation for keepers. That means whether or not you lose a specified draft pick for keeping a particular player or if everyone just drafts in a standard format after all keepers are announced. If you tie a keeper to a draft pick, you then have to decide the scale at which it increases and whether you want to put a cap on who can be kept. I’ve been in leagues where the rounds move at a snail’s pace from year to year (one round at a time) and I’ve been in leagues where they move quickly and get capped (for example, you can’t keep any player with a 1st or 2nd round price tag).

My preferred solution here (if you’re keeping ten players or less and want to attached compensation to it) is to make it the round prior to where the player was drafted in the previous year, with that number increasing by five in the following two seasons, and three every year after that. Yes, it’s not perfectly straight forward, but it accomplishes two things — it rewards the great late pick and it prevents an owner from keeping a player without serious repercussions for a long time. Here’s how it breaks out in a real-life example:

2013 – Owner drafts Jose Fernandez in the 24th round
2014 – Owner can keep Fernandez at the cost of a 23rd rounder
2015 – 18th rounder
2016 – 13th rounder
2017 – 10th rounder2018 – 7th rounder

And that’s an extreme example, given the initially low draft slot. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with just having a straight keeper format and not losing any draft picks for keepers. And most importantly, vote on all of this stuff–owners want to have a say in the direction of the league, so don’t form an “exploratory committee” or have this dictated down from on high. Let it be a democracy.

The Auction

In an auction, the prices give an easy frame of reference to keep players. Again, my personal preference is to do something similar to what I drew out in the draft section. For this example, I’d go with no increase from year one to year two, and then a $5 increase each season. So if you got Wil Myers for $7 coming into the season, you’d be able to keep him at $7 next season, before his price increased to $12, $17, $22, etc.

5) For the Love of All That is Holy, No Trade Vetoes

Again, a very self-explanatory topic as we wrap this up. Trade vetoes are a bad enough idea in a redraft format, but in a keeper/dynasty format, they’re insane. I wrote many, many more words on the topic earlier this summer here, so if you want to read another diatribe, check it out. I’m not going to say it much better than I explained it in that post.

Those are your five most important steps in building your redraft league into some sort of keeper format. If you have any stories of a league you were in that made the jump, please share them in the comments–everyone can learn from real-life experiences, whether positive or negative. And if you have any league-specific questions, feel free to send them to me via e-mail through the site (there is a link on the homepage for that).

Follow me on Twitter at @dynastyguru.

The Author

The Dynasty Guru

The Dynasty Guru


  1. Jake
    July 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Love the site, need some urgent Dynasty league advice. Do I make a trade of Matt Adams, Brad Miller, and Jake Marisnick for Noah Synderrgaard and Andre Either. I am in contention now and I have Pujols at 1st, Rollins at SS with Xander and Correa waiting in the wings. I also have BJ Upton at CF and Cespedes with eligibility there. Eithier would be a short term depth fill in at CF, RF. I have Beltran starting in right with Soler for the future. Thanks for the help!

  2. Matt P
    July 25, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I offered Pence and Hultzen for CarGo, it was accepted and vetoed. I feel like quitting. I’m in first, 16 team h2h league, first year of it… don’t know anyone in it, joined online. Would you consider quitting or just wait until you get over it? The 2nd place guy got him for Puig, Boggaerts, and Taillon

    • July 26, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      I understand and can see both sides. One, you don’t want to give up a good team in a league you probably like. But two, vetoes are terrible and it causes unnecessary stress. There’s no right or wrong decision there.

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