Here's one complaint i have with your proposals ben/omar:
what if someone doesn't have 3 or 5 guys they want to keep? do they start the draft at the same time as everyone else with less picks? do they get to draft additionally out of the pool of available guys before the real draft starts? this is my main beef with that simple proposal, really my only objection. if there's essentially a penalty for having such a bad team that you can't find 3 to 5 guys to keep, then the rich will immediately, permanently be richer, right?
i take your point that we would not in fact need a dry erase board. it would be cool though if we could all wear blazers with our team logos on them.
My View on Evolution
ben, you articulated my fear of andy's plan, which is that the yahoo stats are slightly weird and seem best suited for a straight 5x5 league. here's yet another idea: you can keep a guy at the level you drafted him at for one year. anyone who is a multi-year keeper then becomes a first-round pick, essentially. (in the case of multiple first round picks, you lose the highest remaining round, obviously). you can keep people forever, with the stipulation that, of course, every multi-year guy costs you your highest pick left. in the event that you pick up a guy off the waiver wire then want to keep him, he by default counts as a 10th round pick. should you want to keep multiple waiver pickup guys in a given year, you lose your 11th, 12th (n+1) round pick. this seems a sensible compromise on omar/ben/andy's plan. after that first year (and we can argue over whether the 10th round is the right spot), the guy becomes a multi-year keeper just like anyone else, costing the highest remaining pick.
this way, a waiver-move or very-low round pick of a very good guy has some lasting value (rewarding you for your smarts), but eventually loses that value, while you can still retain the services of the guy in question, as a sop to the idea of loyalty to a specific fantasy nation-state on the part of say, boof bonser or yusmeiro petit. this meets the usual test of reasonability, which i define as "could the commissioner keep track of all of this from year to year using one 8.5x11 sheet of paper?" yes he could. print out the draft, print out the finished rosters at the end of the year. set a date by which GMs must announce their keeper (preferably one week before the draft for drama and crazed preparation) . on the end of the year roster, write down the draft round a player was taken, for waiver guys put 10. The only thing I don't think I covered here was: number of keepers. i like a max of 5 as a compromise. but maybe others have opinions as well. I would add that we need to freeze rosters from roughly October until a month before the draft, for sanity's sake, but we can then trade guys at will in the preamble to the draft.
At 2006 draft, Pete takes ~25 guys.
Before 2007 draft, Pete protects Round 2, Round 4, Round 11, two waiver pick-ups for five.
At 2007 draft, I lose picks 2, 4, 10, 11, 12.
Before 2008 draft, Pete protects two multi-year keepers, his 2007 1st and 2nd round picks, and one waiver pick up from 2007 roster.
At 2008 draft, I lose picks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 10.