Ethan Norof

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Mail: Keeper League Strategy

Friday, March 24, 2017


Question 1: Better keeper to pair with Nikola Jokic: Myles Turner or Marquese Chriss?

 

There is no denying that Chriss has impressed as the season has progressed and his role has been expanded. With an ability to contribute in multiple categories and a roto-friendly game, the rookie looks like a keeper and both fantasy GMs as well as the Suns organization should be excited about his future.

 

But let’s talk about Turner.

 

The big man has the chance to be elite and already looks like the future of Indiana’s franchise with or without Paul George. Although his production has dipped since the All-Star Break, that’s a direct product of Turner running out of gas in his first season in a featured role. That’s an expectation of all young players placed in that situation, especially those like Turner that have just celebrated their 21st birthday.

 

Centers that can score the basketball, are an elite source of blocks and shoot 80% (!) from the charity stripe don’t exactly grow on trees, meaning that Turner is the play for me in this scenario.

 

Question 2: We have a re-draft league that’s been ongoing with the same fantasy GMs for 10 years. We’re now going to turn it into a keeper league. Do you have any advice for what system(s) to utilize for keepers?

 

I love this question so much.

 

I am not a fan of those leagues where teams simply pick a handful of preferred players to keep without any structure to the system. There has to be more strategy involved than that. Some like salary caps and others prefer a year-based system—i.e. an owner can only keep a player for a maximum of three seasons—but I use something now that may be of interest to you.

 

In our league, we use a round-based system in order to slot talent. Allow me to illustrate it using a fictitious example:

 

Joel Embiid is selected in Round 9 of the 2016 draft. His draft value, known as his “DV,” freezes at a nine for one season. In other words, that would make Embiid a ninth-round keeper for the 2017-18 season. So long as a fantasy GM has a selection in that round and hasn’t traded it away, he/she is eligible to keep that player. Every year thereafter, Embiid’s DV is cut in half (from nine to five, from five to three, from three to two, from two to one) and that fantasy GM can only keep the player if he/she has a corresponding pick. This way, strategy is a major factor, and both competitive and rebuilding teams can make deals to strengthen their position for the future.

 

Question 3: Which players have demonstrated enough improvement this year to be considered keepers in a 12-team head-to-head format?

 

This is another great question. I do want to mention that I’m pretty picky when it comes to keepers, especially without knowing the context behind the decision(s).

 

Isaiah Thomas: Remember when Al Horford’s arrival was going to put a dent in IT’s production? Me neither. Thomas has more than proven his place in the NBA and the Celtics better be ready to back up the Brinks truck when the time arrives. 

 

Kemba Walker: For a player who entered the NBA as a guy who people had questions about, Walker has seemingly answered most if not all of them as his game has continued to grow.

 

Nikola Jokic: The Joker’s slow start to the season feels like a distant memory, and any questions about his future are currently nonexistent. It’s clear that he’s going to be an easy top-20 fantasy talent going forward.

 

Myles Turner: Please refer to Question No. 1 for the explanation.

 

Joel Embiid: Even with the knee injury that ended his rookie season early, Embiid has to be kept.

 

DeMar DeRozan: DeRozan has long been a capable scorer, but he’s scoring more than ever, has been more efficient in the process and has diversified his game to go beyond just getting buckets.

 

Rudy Gobert: The post-hype appeal was real for Mr. Gobert, who was the most inexplicable All-Star snub of the 2016-17 campaign.

 

Bradley Beal: A stealth candidate to win the title of Most Improved Player, Beal has been nothing short of phenomenal this season while managing to stay on the court. 

 

Question 4: Skal Labissiere, Jeremy Lin or Ish Smith for the final two weeks of the season?

 

I don’t want any part of Brooklyn’s plan to massage Lin’s minutes the rest of the way after an injury-plagued inaugural year, so this is really about Skal or Ish. At that point, it’s all about categories of need because the two players are so different. Both Labissiere and Smith play four times next week.

 

Question 5: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s inconsistency is driving me mad. Should I drop him in a ten-team head-to-head league?

KCP isn’t a must-have guy in shallow leagues like this, but there has to be someone irresistible on the waiver wire—and I mean truly irresistible—for me to consider this option.  



Follow Ethan Norof on Twitter @Ethan_Norof for more fantasy basketball analysis, advice and all things Los Angeles Lakers.
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