THT Fantasy Mailbag

Welcome to the THT fantasy mailbag. If you’d like your question to be answered in the next mailbag, please send it to

My friends and I are starting a fantasy baseball league, but we are arguing over the settings. We previously did a standard 5×5 roto league, 10 teams, 5 keepers, 22 starters (we did MI, CI, 5 OF, 9 pitchers) and 25 roster spots. It fell apart and we want to redo it now with 12 teams. We want to add on more keepers and roster spots, is 12 teams 10 keepers 30 roster spots too much? Some people are worried that 10 keepers means too many players are tied up, and may mean people who are bad one year will stop following.

I argue that more keepers gives the worse teams a lot of space to actually rebuild, and that more roster spots would also be necessary to do that. So I guess more specifically I am asking am I wrong? I feel only 3 bench spots isn’t enough with more keepers, but is 30 spots too much, and does 8 keepers work better than 10? When we did 5 is was such a tease, I’m worried 8 will be similar. Please shed some light on this.



Preferences are idiosyncratic, so it is hard for me to tell you or your league-mates what to “like.” But we can shed some light on the implications of having so many roster spots and starters and also so many keepers.

First the roster spots: This is really up to you and your friends. I would say that I think you are at or near the outer limit of starters and roster spots. If you were to add a few more starter spots, you would start running out of regular players to start at those positions. The marginal player would have very little impact on your team’s overall performance. (If each team’s “last” player never gets an at-bat, it is like he never existed.) The same goes with roster/bench spots: if you have really large benches, then you can pick up and hold a lot of players and a team is never forced to ask itself whether it likes player A more than B, since it can have both. I think eight bench spots is enough, especially since you have so many starters.

On the keepers: I am not sure how more keepers, everything else equal, means easier rebuilding. To take an extreme example from another sport, the NY Knicks have been stuck with contractual “keepers” for a while and look how long it is taking them to rebuild. A losing fantasy team is more likely to have lost because of a bad or unlucky first through fifth pick than from a later round pick. With a lot of keepers, it is tougher to recover from these mistakes in later years.

– Jonathan Halket


I’m in a league and we are working out the kinks regarding our prospect draft in a dynasty league. One of the major road blocks is trying to figure out whether we should do a snake-style draft or a non-snake draft.

This is the second year of the league and the first year for the prospect draft.

What do you think is the most fair and efficient style to draft?



I’ve always been a fan of the snake draft simply because it is the most fair. In a straight-style draft it is round after round of the same team getting the higher pick and it gives too much of an edge to the higher picking teams.

Tebow or Not Tebow, a Visualization
When it comes to the Mets' famous minor leaguer, it's not just will he get major league time, but should he.

If you are only using this draft to fill out rosters, meaning it is only a few rounds long, then a non-snake draft would be fine. But if this draft is creating entire squads of minor leaguers, then your league should definitely use a snake draft. To much emphasis is placed on order in a non-snake draft otherwise.

– Paul Singman

Dear THT,

I’m in a 10-team keeper league where we are allowed to keep 8-10 players every year. We are also allowed to make offseason trades in which roster size (either gaining or losing) does not matter until we name our keepers. I plan on keeping Miguel Cabrera at first; Ian Kinsler at second; Alexi Ramirez at short stop; Alex Rodriguez at third; Carl Crawford, Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp in the outfield; Chad Billingsley and John Lackey as starting pitchers; and Jose Valverde as a relief pitcher. I will be letting go of Hunter Pence, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright, Kerry Wood and Jonathan Broxton. I have two questions …

(1) Do you agree with my 10 keepers?

(2) Would it be a good idea to make three-for-one trade offers with maybe one of my keepers and two potential throw backs for the likes of Mark Teixeira…for example Pence, Verlander and Valverde for Tex? Another trade I’ve been offered is Crawford, Verlander and Wood for David Wright …

Any help would be appreciated …

Chris Holmes


It looks like you’ve done a good job putting together a reasonable list of the 10 best keepers. I think you could make an argument for either Wood or Broxton instead of Valverde, but Valverde probably has the least injury or job security risk. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Verlander bounce back and outperform Lackey, but again you’re going with the safer pick, which is generally a good idea.

You have to view any players you don’t plan to keep as completely expendable. If you can give up several of them along with one keeper in return for a better keeper, you should do it in a heartbeat. Since Verlander and Wood aren’t on your keeper list, you’re basically getting the opportunity to upgrade from Carl Crawford to David Wright at no cost to you. That sounds like a great deal to me. Go for it!

– Alex Zelvin

Print This Post
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Don’t you have to factor in that the guys you trade that you intended to throwback may be kept by your opponent?  So you would be helping to strengthen his team before the draft even begins.

Thanks for answering my question, I’m Ben.  We’ve decided on 27 bench spots, giving 5 bench spots instead of 3, and I agree with you 8 would seem to be too much or at least be on the brink of what’s acceptable.  I never realized the importance of a team needing to ask itself the importance of every player on their team.  It would be meaningless having players on your bench who may not ever serve a purpose. I’m starting to open up to the idea of 8 keepers being better than 10 with 12 teams.  I feel I’d rather… Read more »