The Keeper League Recycling Bin

Long-time readers of The Guru Report know that John Hansen is a strong advocate of not only building your roster from the top down via the draft or auction, but also from the bottom up by aggresively working the waiver wire.

Although the pickings may be slimmer in certain dynasty / keeper league formats, it’s still sage advice that can pay dividends if you’re alert and willing to roll the dice.

This can be particularly true with veterans whose careers have bottomed out due to injury. I’ve speculated on several such players in a 14-team salary cap keeper league I’m in with varying degrees of success.

A couple of years ago the gamble was Carolina RB Stephen Davis as he was coming off microfracture knee surgery. I snagged himn at the FA minimum salary of $5 and despite his obvious deterioration of skills, he still paid off handsomely as a flex starter due to his 12 touchdowns.

That same year, I invested $40 of a $400 cap on the potential healthy return of Kellen Winslow Jr., coming off a broken ankle. When he blew his knee out during his motorcylcle fiasco, I waited until the regular season was underway to release him hoping to re-acquire him later in the year at a reduced rate.

Our league rules at the time stated that a released player’s free agent price tag would be his full salary the first week, then reduced by half each follwing week until he would finally be at the minimum – meaning Winslow could be had at $40, then $20, then $10 and potentially for the league minimum of $3.

I waited until his minimum salary had to be at least $10 and submitted a bid of $12, which I won. Sure it meant sitting on KW2 for a year, but the gamble paid off when he posted a Top 5 saeson last year.

In 2006 I saddled up with the IR’d Domanick Davis, again at the minimum, content to devote a roster spot to him to see if he could return to his previous form. Obviously, that one didn’t work out as well, but given Dommer’s youth and past success it was a gamble I’d take every time.

This year the player I managed to pluck was QB Daunte Culpepper – again at the QB minimum FA salary of $6 – with the idea that I’ll sit on him all year, if need be, to see where he ends up in 2008.

In this league you can retain a player for up to three years at a 10% bump in salary, meaning I’ve got Culpepper locked down for the next three years at salaries of $6, $7 and finally $8 on a $400 dollar cap. In short, it’s a good gamble. And if he returns to anything approaching his past form, it could be a steal.

Due to the pressure to win, the NFL is an “in the moment” league. Yesterday’s studs are, by neccessity, discarded to the trash heap. But if you’re willing to take the long view, you can find some hidden gold in the neighborhood recycling bin.

Category: Keeper & Dynasty Blog

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