Sneaky keeper-league pickups 

September, 27, 2012
It was late in September 2010, with only a few days left in the season, when in my oldest fantasy baseball keeper league, I signed Atlanta Braves rookie reliever Craig Kimbrel. Of course, I didn't know then that Kimbrel would become fantasy's top closer and perhaps the NL Cy Young Award winner, but I took the shot, made him one of my 12 keepers in that league for 2011, and that has worked out exceedingly well. It wasn't the first time I had done this, nor the last.

With less than a week to go in this fantasy season, here are players perhaps available in your league who warrant consideration before it's too late to sign them. Perhaps you don't need an extra keeper or two, but if you have room, why not plan ahead and add now? March, or whenever your keeper deadline is, is months away, but it's always good to have options.

Mariano Rivera, RP, New York Yankees: Let's start at closer, where even in keeper formats, chances are pretty good the greatest reliever in history is available. Is Rivera a good keeper? Well, I'm taking the over on 35 saves from him in 2013. In truth, no closers are great keepers if you're allotted only three to five selections. But if your last keeper looks weak, add a closer. It's not just Rivera; I see saves for Brian Wilson and Joakim Soria next year, and it's possible Ryan Madson finds a ninth-inning role somewhere as well. Also, take a look at current veteran, healthy relievers such as Jonathan Broxton or Brett Myers, who could find closer jobs during the winter.