Who Not to Keep
It's never too early to start thinking about keepers for next season. When the time comes to select keepers, fantasy owners need to weigh the upside of the player with the league penalty for keeping said player. In many leagues each player kept will cost the team a draft pick. In addition to losing a pick ,I've seen leagues charge a fee to each keeper. Also, most leagues allow teams to keep a certain number of players and in some leagues players kept have to be at different positions. Before deciding who you're going to keep, read through your league rules and make sure you understand the penalties for keeping players. After you've figured out how many players you can keep and what they'll cost, you need to review not only your team but every other team in the league. Write down the players you believe each owner will keep. This will help you to find the best player(s) on your roster to keep.
Below we've come up with a small list of players who could be keepers in some leagues, but in many we feel these players should be allowed to fall back into the draft. Just because a player on this list is on your team doesn't mean you shouldn't keep them. If he is the best player you have then by all means don't be a fool and cut him. On the other hand, if you've got a few good players and can only keep a couple then you may want to think twice about keeping these guys.
QB Peyton Manning, DEN - Solid/Safe Pick
Keeping or dropping Peyton Manning will be the hardest decision for fantasy owners this season. If Manning returns this year and puts up the type of numbers we're accustomed to seeing then you're a fool for letting him go. On the other hand, if Manning returns and he doesn't have a good year then you're a fool for keeping him. The good news is Peyton will be playing this year. The big question is just how well will he play in Denver? This will be the first time in Manning's career he'll suit up for a team other than the Colts. Coming back from a neck injury, playing for a new team, new coach and in a new offense is a lot to gamble on to keep Manning on your roster. At this point there are just too many questions surrounding Manning for me to feel comfortable keeping him on my roster.
QB Michael Vick, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
Before we get into why I'm not a fan of keeping Vick, let me say I believe he is still a top 10 quarterback but I'm not sold on keeping Vick if I'm going to lose a draft pick. When Vick returned to action in 2010, he played in 12 games, threw for 3,018 yards with 21 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. When the 2011 draft came around many owners jumped on the Vick bandwagon picking up Michael in the early rounds. When the dust settled his 2011 numbers where good, but no where near what fantasy owners had hoped. This year I anticipate seeing a similar performance to 2011. Vicks' numbers will be good enough to make him a starter, but not quite good enough to make him a top 5 quarterback. Vick will be 32 when this season begins and I hate to say it, but he's not getting any younger. You will likely be able to find a quarterback who will post similar numbers to Vick's in your draft. There is no reason to keep Michael and lose a draft pick.
RB Reggie Bush, SF - Solid/Safe Pick
For the first time in Reggie's NFL career he ran for more than 600 yards in a season. Not only was this the first time he ran for more than 600 yards in a season, but Bush hit the 1,000 yard mark in just 15 games. This performance may be enough for some fantasy owners to want to keep Bush for the coming season. The fact still remains Miami's backfield is a two back offense. Bush may receive the lion's share of the load, but he will not be the every down back fantasy owners want as their primary back. Daniel Thomas is going to get 150 carries that could have gone to Bush if he was their only back. Reggie will be a nice second back for fantasy owners this season, but he's not the type of back owners should be keeping.
RB Fred Jackson, BUF - Solid/Safe Pick
Jackson's 2011 performance came as a suprise to most fantasy owners. When the season began nobody thought Jackson would have the potential to finish the year as a top 10 fantasy back. Some fantasy owners may be thinking about keeping Jackson this year because had Fred's season not been cut short he would have been a top 10 back last year. That's all fine and well, but taking a look at Jackson's career numbers should be all fantasy owners need to stay away. Not to say Jackson's career numbers aren't good, they're just not keeper type numbers. In addition, Fred will be 31 this season and we all know that a running back's performance tends to decline once they reach 30. Couple all this with CJ Spiller stepping up his game last season and Jackson quickly becomes a back fantasy owners should shy away from when considering who to keep.
RB Michael Turner, --- - Quality Backup
At 30, Turner is hitting that age when running backs' performances start to decline. In three of the last four seasons Turner has carried the ball more than 300 times. That's a lot of hits to the body and as backs get older all those hits take their toll. I'm not ready to say Michael won't be a 1,000 yard back, so don't go thinking he's not going to be a quality second back this season. I'm just not sure fantasy owners should keep a back who will likely finish the season out of the top 10.