We often have many questions on how to start a keeper league. Questions range from what website to use, what rules are appropriate, and how to properly set up and maintain a keeper league. Below are the most common questions we get asked:
What website should you use?
The most common website used to run a keeper league is Ultimate Footy.
Ultimate Footy is an AFL Fantasy Draft website, but unlike the official AFL Fantasy Draft site, it offers complete customisation of leagues. This means you can adjust list sizes, set the number of players and positions on the field, adjust the scoring systems, implement your own lockout rules and more.
Why does customisation make it ideal for running keeper leagues?
The most useful feature is the ability to preset draft picks. This means that after your first year, you can assign ‘keepers’ to picks in the draft. So if you want to keep 20 players per year in each team, you can assign the last 20 picks of the draft to the players each coach wants to keep.
There are also a number of other features that make Ultimate Footy ideal for keeper leagues. Some of these are:
The ability for the commissioner to make changes to lists and edit teams – ideal for using rookie lists or mid-season drafts.
Customising fixtures, allowing lower placed teams to have a better chance at making finals
The ability to turn off the waiver wire so coaches have to use the players they have drafted.
How do you actually ‘keep’ players?
Let’s say you want to have the squad size in your league set to 40, and you want to keep 20 players each.
At the end of the first season, save all your team lists into a spreadsheet and allow coaches to choose which players they want to keep.
When Ultimate Footy opens the following year, you assign the last 20 draft picks for each team to their chosen keeper players. This will take the kept players out of the draft pool and will auto-draft them to each team when the draft starts. Then you run the draft as normal, taking your new players in the first 20 rounds.
How do you set it up?
To set up a keeper league in Ultimate Footy, you don’t have to do anything different to setting up a normal draft league. There’s no setting you need to choose to indicate you want to create a keeper league.
You just set up a normal draft league, and the following year assign each teams keeper players to their last picks in the draft.
You are essentially ‘hacking’ Ultimate Footy’s draft website to work the way you want it.
How do preseason trade periods work?
When conducting trades outside of the season (for example, your league may have an offseason trade period) you will have to record them in a spreadsheet or document.
In our league, we have a spreadsheet (locked by the commissioner) with every coach’s team in it. When two coaches want to trade, one coach emails the commissioner with the trade and the other sends a follow-up email confirming it. The commissioner then makes the change on the spreadsheet.
When Ultimate Footy opens, the changes are reflected in the pre-set draft selections that auto-picks the keepers for each team.
What happens if someone in your league quits?
Ultimate Footy gives the league administrator the ability to re-assign the log-in to each teams account. So if someone quits, you can find a new league member and assign new log-in details for the new league member.
What rules should you use?
This is completely up to you, but it’s important to choose rules that work for your league and that you will be able to stick to. From experience, some league members will get angry if rules keep changing from year-to-year, so make sure they’re set in stone from the beginning or give a seasons notice if they’re going to change.
During the week, we asked our listeners what advice they would give to people starting their own keeper league in 2020. Check out some of the best responses below:
Don’t have deep teams. It makes coaches play for more immediate success which creates a more competitive team.— Bagles (@Bagles4) December 7, 2019
Make draft picks tradeable
Draft to win the premiership right away. Preferable age of players to draft would be 22-27. Still got plenty of years in them but ready to score well for you straight away. I drafted too many young players and gave up on winning the flag in my first season.— Dan Kay (@DanKay101) December 6, 2019
Make it a cash league… and I’m talking $100 yearly entry fee. Better chance of getting people in for the long haul— Brisbane Bears (@Brisbane__Bears) December 6, 2019
A comp with Less coaches that are dedicated is better than a comp with more coaches that aren’t— BRENNAN (@wanchorm8) December 6, 2019
Make 1 person in charge via a vote, give them a deputy and let them make the calls on the issues that will arise.
Punch up in the banter. Bagging battlers isn’t funny
Get all the rules, positions, list sizes, keeper numbers etc. correct up front because they have a big impact on how players are valued. If you do need to change them you must give sufficient notice (at least an entire season) so keep this in mind.— James (@JamesPlaysFS) December 6, 2019
Assume coaches will cheat and set rules to avoid disaster— Crispy Pig Skins (@SkinsPig) December 6, 2019
Choose your league coaches carefully…………. very carefully.— DoubleD (@TheDynastyCoach) December 6, 2019
And have the gonads to kick out inactive coaches. They will kill your league.
Don’t ever, ever be afraid to trade. Go hard. Last two years I’ve finished first after H&A and traded out first T.Mitch and now Grundy. Should still make top-four again next year and more importantly I’ve got 6 picks in the top 18 for our draft (including pick 1). Just. Go. Hard— Beepster (@Beepster3) December 7, 2019
Do you have a great tip for those starting a new keeper league in 2020? Let us know in the comments below…