This article is part of our The Long Game series.
Whether you've played in keeper leagues before, or are joining an existing league for the first time this season, the one wild card that can make a total mess of all your preparation is inflation. In re-draft leagues, most players will end up with salaries around their projected auction values. In keeper leagues, particularly ones with structures that are very prospect-friendly, projected auction values are only useful for letting you know what pitifully small returns you can expect to get on your auctions buys. If you aren't ready for what's to come, participating in an auction with high inflation can make you question your life choices, or at least your sobriety, when you find yourself throwing out bids that might have seemed absurd just a few hours before.
The thing is, though, you still have to spend that money. While paying inflated prices for stars is bad, it's even worse to sit on the sidelines and not buy stars at any price, instead trying to fill your roster with players getting "reasonable" salaries. That's a sure-fire way to leave a large chunk of your budget sitting on the table unused, and to ensure that you aren't competing for a title this season.
Before I take a look at the best ways to navigate the inflation minefield, let's take a look at what inflation actually is, and how to calculate it for your own league.
Calculating Your Base Inflation Rate
To calculate the base inflation rate, add up the total salary