Like those above me said, you either require everyone to keep players and there’s basically no penalty, it’s just guys off the board before you start the normal draft, OR you put costs on the players. I like the cost method because it sees good players thrown back because they’re expensive (ideas like why keep Julio round 1 when I can have Chark for a 10!?)…keeps it interesting. We haven’t required keepers, but each year we’ve done this every person has realized they have to find value on their team to keep. Teams that kept only 1 guy the first couple of years realized the player pool was greatly depleted in the opening rounds.
I’m a co-commish in a 3 keeper league on yahoo and we go by cost. The site lets you set keepers and then manually adjust the round each team is keeping them in, so it’s a little bit of work but not too bad. Now the downside to this is we have about 12 of written rules in a google doc about this to prevent problems. Things like:
- Initial cost is the round they were drafted
- Each year a player is kept, his cost advances one round
- If they were undrafted, the value starts at round 10
- A player can only be kept for 5 seasons continuously, this includes if they are traded
- If you have a 3rd round keeper but traded your 3rd round pick, they cost you the next earliest round you have (a 2, or a 1)…and if you don’t have one you can’t keep them
- If you have a 1st round keeper, they always cost a 1st round
- If you have 2 guys that would cost a 1st, you have to figure out a trade to get a 2nd pick or you can’t do it
- To prevent tanking, the consolation bracket finish is the order of our draft…so win that bracket you get 1st pick, runner up 2nd, etc. then normal reverse order for the championship bracket (NFL style draft, not snake)
When we converted to a keeper league, the first thing our commissioner did was ask for help; I suggest you get a buddy you can count on and write up the basic rules you want to follow. It helps if one of you is a bit shady and tries to find the loopholes in them as well. We sat down and did this 5 years ago and have only had to add 1 rule since, which we just threw out to the league for a vote once an issue came up.
Since this kind of got dropped on your lap, I’d recommend going with the easiest approach for this year and shoring up the rules before the draft next year. Ideally start figuring out the rules you want and put it out to the league to approve before end of year. Good luck!