Keeper Leagues: The "Post-Draft" Draft

Throughout my experiences with fantasy football drafts, I’ve noticed one thing: no matter the format of the league, when it comes time to pick the last 2 or 3 guys for a team, managers rarely make very educated selections. In a 15 round draft that lasts over two hours, rosters are pretty much set and the manager is simply looking to grab another beer or get ready for bed. Even in a more experienced keeper league this can happen. In our keeper league draft, players like Priest Holmes, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and Reggie Williams made onto rosters with late round picks. These are prime candidates for a “Post-draft Draft”.

The idea behind a Post-draft Draft is that you begin preparation for the next season right after the current year’s draft. Now that your draft is complete, depending on your league’s waiver rules, you may have 2 or 3 days to make waiver claims. Use this time period to look over the available player list for:

  1. Non-starting rookies on teams that have a need for that position (i.e. Ted Ginn, Jr. or Dwayne Jarret…even Brady Quinn if he wasn’t drafted)
  2. Second and third year players that are poised to have a decent season this year (second year receivers fit this mold, as the popular theory is that it takes them 3 years to establish themselves in the league)

Then, using your 14th/15th pick (whoever the chump was) as waiver fodder, pick up a young player with the idea that he will most likely not play for your team the entire year. This decision can net you one of the following results, none of which is all that bad:

  1. The player has a breakout season this year…You Win! Plus you get to keep him next year.
  2. He doesn’t break out, but sets himself up nicely to breakout the following season…you’re set up to keep him with a late round pick in next years draft.
  3. He’s a bust after a few weeks and doesn’t appear to be looking like someone that would make sense keeping next year…drop him and look for your next “prospect”. You dropped someone who probably won’t start for your team anyways, so it’s a moot point really.

If you had a great draft and have no one you want to drop for this cause, all the better. On a week to week basis however, you might find that one of your veteran players is not performing or is hurt and done for the year. In these cases, it would benefit you to begin scouring the waiver wire again looking for next year’s keepers. The main idea of this strategy is that you are always using your last roster spot to begin planning for next year. So even though the season hasn’t started, begin looking over that waiver wire today for the players that will bring you the 2008-09 championship!