Fantasy Football Mailbag: Monday 8/1/16

How should you handle keeper decisions entering the year?

Fantasy football research never stops, and offseason news can really complicate things, especially when coaches talk up second- and third-string players. That's why we're starting up a fantasy football mailbag.

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Making keeper decisions isn't always easy. Having a stud or two to pick from is generally a win-win, but when do you draw the line between that star and a solid value for a late-round pick?

Things can get messy, but we should always start by breaking down value. The first place to look is at average draft position (ADP), and we'll go to Fantasy Football Calculator for that information.

As far as keepers go, you don't necessarily want to spend a first-round pick to keep a borderline first-round talent such as Dez Bryant, even though he's a stud, but if you can keep DeAndre Hopkins for a third-round pick this year (where he was drafted in 2015, on average) -- or a second-round pick if you have to jump up a round for the keeper penalty -- that's a different story. Hopkins was drafted 3.08 on average in 2015 but is up a full two rounds at 1.07 in 2016.

To widen the gap a bit more, we can use Allen Robinson as our example. Robinson was the 6.03 pick in 2015, so he could cost you a fifth or sixth, but he's a borderline first-rounder this year (2.03).

By comparison, Bryant went 1.09 in 2015 and is going 1.12 in 2016. That's almost the same price as Hopkins' and Robinson's 2016 cost, but the cost to keep each is wildly different. In any scenario, we're keeping a stud, but it's not the same trade-off at all, making Robinson by far the best choice.

What if you aren't dealing with just stud picks, though? What if you're faced with Robinson for a fifth- or sixth-round pick or Donte Moncrief (5.08 on average this season) for a late-round pick (he was undrafted on average in 2015)?

In terms of value, it's hard to justify keeping Robinson given how much value we're gaining by keeping Moncrief, a fifth-round talent this year, for nearly no cost.

Moncrief is less certain than Robinson and Hopkins and isn't yet a stud, but if you can jump on such a screaming value and still have access to some Round 1 or Round 2 talents in your draft, that's a potential league-winning move.

The bottom line is that you shouldn't be afraid to forgo keeping your best players if the cost isn't beneficial to you and you have better alternatives and that you shouldn't be looking to keep late-round talent just to keep your early picks open for the draft. Let value dictate your decision.

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