Keeper Fantasy Leagues:
1 - Making The Keeper Decision - Being the Commish of a league you have to decide if you are going to make the final decision or have your league give some input on converting to a keeper league. If you have no members and are creating a new league you will be making all the decisions, but if you have a league with existing members and are thinking on converting to a keeper league. Ask them for some help and input on new decisions being made. This will make the transition to a keeper league easier and creates a stronger league with all participating.
2 - Decide on a Keeper League Format - One of the first decisions to make is what type of keeper league do you want to have. It should be a format that compliments your league style and basic rule system. There are to many types of keeper leagues to mention here. But, KFL has a tutorial on Keeper Formats & Strategies. This will give information and help to determine what type of league options are available.
Things to think about are: how many players to keep, deadlines on declaring keeper players, how you will conduct next seasons draft.
A - How many players to keep? This is purely a personal choice and the leagues choice. The tutorial above lists the pros and cons of the basic keeper league formats.
B - Set Deadlines for when you are going to start the new format or league and when keeper players will be declared. This is important to have in place when switching to this format. No owner can then claim they did not know or understand the leagues new rules. More details below.
C - Conducting next seasons draft will be one of the hardest tasks in a keeper league. There are managers out there that will let you customize draft orders making the draft easy and smooth. The Fantasy League Managers we offer have very versatile draft options. Which is why KFL uses this particular FLM for their keeper leagues. Another option is to have non-live drafts if you can not customize the draft order at the FLM you use. Conducting drafts either in person, by email, chat room or message board. Then uploading players to your FLM. I will write an article soon on "Conducting Keeper League Drafts" that will go into this subject in more detail.
3 - When Should you Convert - Now decide when is the best time to start the new keeper format. Only start a keeper league before your league conducts its draft. Team owners should now its a keeper league so they can draft appropriately. If you declare a league to be a keeper league after teams have drafter their rosters. Some team owners will not like the idea for one reason or another and will fight it and probably quit.
4 - How to Convert Existing Leagues - After deciding on the type of keeper league you are going to have and when to start. You have to convert to the new system. If you have existing members that helped with some input it will be easier to make the transition. Just like creating league rules you have to make your keeper rules official by posting and creating them at your fantasy league manager. FLMs, for the most part, will not give commishes actual options in the fantasy manager to run a keeper league. Commishes will basically have written rules that are posted at the FLM. I also suggest sending an email to each team owner and having them reply that they confirm the rules so there is no misunderstanding. Once they are posted and confirmed they are final and leagues just play the season as normal until keeper players are decided.
5 - Declaring Keeper Players - Decide on a time to declare keeper players before your season starts. This way there are no surprises when it comes time for teams to make decisions on who to keep. Most all keeper leagues have teams declare their final keepers after the season is over. Some leagues do wait until some time before the next draft. There is no right or wrong here. It is based on your sole preference. I will also write an article in the near future on "When to Sign Keeper Players: The Pros and Cons"
6 - Summarize - Converting or starting keeper leagues are basically easy to do in new or existing leagues. Just decide on a keeper format with league input, post your official rules before the draft and declare keepers after the season. The hardest part will be deciding on the specific rules that deal with keeper players. With league input, input from outside sources, the above article and links to keeper info in each Ultimate Sports Section. You should be able to come up with a set of rules that will fit your personal feelings and your leagues and add them to your existing or new league.