2016-07-08 12:15

Chapter 09 - The lottery of the draft
Version 1.2.0 - 03.07.2018

The draft is not only a cheap way to get probably good players, it's also a chance to build the future of your team.
Don't expect to get THE great player(s) in your first draft, or later. The amount of really good players can be counted with one hand or maybe two per draft. Sometimes you do get a player which could be developed into a great player if his physicals don’t cap too early, but that’s a lottery.
The quality of players available from the physical point of view seems to become better since season 23 or 24, so you might more often find a good player now than a few seasons ago.
For the first draft overall, depended on your starting date, you might not have much time to prepare and you will very likely lack all the essential tools to judge the players the way you will do or like it in seasons to come.
You will very likely not have coaches, maybe no scouts and even not really a clue which position is needed most at that moment.

The very first draft:
For beginners I can only give the advice to look for physicals, INT, TW, EXP and age. Use Traits if you like as decision maker, if two players are quite equal, but that does not happen often.
Useful positions for the start are Linebackers and Liners, if available.
Don't go too much on QBs, they do lack most of the time at some areas and are not essential at the start. My opinion.
Keep in mind, that this is NOT real live football, where you need a leader on the field. You are the leader and the engine does simply simulate the games based on players skills and coaches CPs. No leadership needed. You do need players with good skills which do make an impact early and which you need in big numbers. LBs and Liners. Most of the time even the OLs do not come with the physicals the community wants them to have, so you will most likely get the best bang for your buck on LBs and DLs on your first draft.
That doesn't mean all other positions do suck, it's just the case that not often do really good ones pop up. Defense liners and Linebackers do come it bigger numbers, so chances are good there are some really good ones in the draft, while RBs or SFs as example are not that often and therefore can be not always top level.
The rule of thumb for beginners is probably to take the best player available in terms of physicals, INT, TW, EXP and age (means the younger the better).
If that's a RB, fine, a QB, nice and a LB is also great.
Be aware that the physicals are a lottery in terms of caps.
You see only the value you have him scouted (or downloaded as csv-file), but that value can be red capped, yellow capped or uncapped.
In general can red caps happen with 35+ value, yellow caps can happen with 30+ value and everything less is for sure uncapped, but you will not know their caps until you train their physicals high enough to reveal them.
What can happen is that you pick a player in the first round with good physicals and the hope he will get them higher trained and he is all red capped and you do draft a player in the third round with obvious not so good physicals but the do turn out to be uncapped or only yellow capped and when fully developed the physicals do turn out to be better than the first round player has. Keep in mind that this takes time, sometimes several seasons, so the younger the better. A 23 year old prospect which does need physical training will never become a star on a matured roster. Before you can switch to develop his A-skills he has to train his physicals up and worst case is, that he is 25 at the time he can proceed on the A-skills and is 3 to 5 seasons behind a Youth Academy player or a younger draftee.
With no guarantee there seem to be some “rules” regarding physicals.
If both are 45+, it’s almost sure both are capped, if one is uncapped it will cap soon.
If one is 45+ and the other 35+, it’s also almost sure the higher value is capped, and the lower value is a gamble. Can be uncapped, yellow capped or even red capped.
If both are 35+, there is a chance for at least one being not capped, eventually both. Big gamble.
Values below 35 do have a big potential for not being yellow capped. Those players will have to be trained for some time and can have very good physicals. Still a gamble.

A word on EXP
Experience is highly regarded in the community and some do see it as the major factor, even higher than physicals. For sure it is a factor and the more the better. Whether you want it to be your major deciding factor is up to you.
You will find in the draft a various range of players with different EXP values.
What you should keep in mind is, that a player with low EXP will need a lot of time to gain that EXP (means he needs to play a lot of games) so if you like an older player because of his physicals and other skills, be sure he has a good EXP value, because he will not play as many seasons as a young player of age 19.
On the other hand it is possible to draft a low EXP player, but be sure he is young, since he needs time to develop into the player you want him to be. The problem here is, that most of the time those players do need also time until they are on the level to play in the regular team, so for several season those player might only play friendlies and BOT games.

Where you pick each round:
Your position to s e l e c t the player is determined by your team results in the season before. This is basically the NFL rules, means the worst team in the league gets the first pick each round, the second worst the second pick of each round and so on. The playoff teams are sorted by their playoff rounds (so wildcard exit, divisional playoff exit, conference championship exit, Bowl) and inside the playoff rounds based on their league results to sort them. The Bowl winner is the 32nd (means last) teams to pick.
You find since season 24 or 25 a hint on the draft list page, stating you drafting position without taking the playoffs into account.

A word on tanking:
Some teams do like to lose on purpose from time to time, sometime with “relaxed” game settings, which means they will play not really good and those games do often end 100+ points in margin.
They are aiming for a good draft position and very often do relegate then to “win” the league a level below and do aim to come back to the old level with a better team.
There are not many teams which did this really often and not many did really dominate after such a tanking season.
The reality is, they do have one boring season losing every game in the league, getting one to three good players (with a high chance of only 1 or 2 of those are really good in the long run), having another boring season to win every game and do come back to the old level with a crappy low level trophy in their case, a few players ready to play in 2 to 3 seasons and still face 80% of the old teams which did frustrate the manager 3 seasons ago so much that they decide to tank the next season.
Does this sound like fun?
Everybody is free to do what they think they have to do, but tanking won’t help you in the long run. Good management will do that.
Since season 25 there is also a penalty on tanking. If the system finds a team guilty of tanking, it gets a raise in the warning level, which will be visible on the office page of that team.
Once you did reach level 3 or higher the team does lose income from home game ticket sales.
At level 6+ the team will lose it’s draft positions in the draft.
After the draft a team will be reset to level 0.
Keep that in mind, if you still like to try such a strategy.

To be fair, I think nobody has anything against restructuring a team, even selling most of team and play with the new, likely weaker setup. Losing then with best effort is part of the game and is also (very likely, I don’t have insights in the mechanics, but as far as I know it only looks for stupid tactics like Punt on purpose and relaxed settings and other setting which lead to instant losses) not penalized. So if you like to ‘start new’ do it honest and play still with best effort.

The draftee list:
Many managers do have many ways to value the draft players and do the sorting on the 96 player list.
Each league has its own draft, and it will be done AFTER season rollover, so you do sort a list during season X and the draft happens in the 1st real time week of season X+1, based on the results of season X and the sorting you did during season X or prior the draft in season X+1.
If you won the league or got promoted otherwise, you are already part of a different league, but will pick from the same pool of players your former league opponents do also pick from. Same is valid for relegated teams.

The draft is done over 3 days, each night-u p d a t e one round, which allows you to adjust your sorting after round 1 and 2, if needed. During each round the list is frozen, so no changes are possible then.

If you are lazy, you can even skip the initial sorting AFTER player a maximum of 32 players and do the sorting for the second round before the second round starts and sort max the next 32 players then, and the rest before round three. If you know your pick position exactly (like #1 or #10) you can even stop sorting with this approach after you did sort a number of players equal your round (like 1 or 10 players), because your team will pick at that round and what comes after that on that round day is not important to you.
This might save you some time (but sometimes not much, the later you pick), because for sure there will be players take, which you did not sort for that round, so the next day you only have to sort less than a maximum of 32 players and will find some of your sorted players left on the list.
Depended on your selected player in the former round you might have to adjust the sorting for the next round.
You will have to find your own rules to value the draftees, based on all skills and parameters available. I will give you some examples at the bottom of the section, but whether you use that or do develop something on your own is yours to decide.

The round marker:
Be careful with the round-marker (1st round, 2nd round or 3rd round) you might fix the player to, because the sorting mechanism does work quite unique.
The engine does look first for a round-marked-player marked for that specific active round and will take the highest sorted player (with the lowest sorting number) available out of that group.
If no player was found available or marked that way at all, the engine now looks at all players without a round-marker. Players with a round marker for already done rounds are interpreted as not marked also. Out of that pool the highest sorted player available is taken.
If still no player was found, the whole draftee list is taken and the highest sorted player available is taken.
That means players with a 1st-round-mark and a high sorting might get ignored in 2nd round, if there is a player with a 2nd-round-mark on the roster, even if the 1st-round-marked guy is sorted higher on the overall list.
The 1st-round-mark does lose his status in 2nd-round and is interpreted as any-round, which makes the highest sorted player marked with 2nd-round the most desired player to take in second round.
Same is valid for 3rd-round-marks.
Got lost?

Here is an example with 6 players:
Player 1 - 2nd round
Player 2 – 1st round
Player 3 – 3rd round
Player 4 – any round
Player 5 - 1st round
Player 6 - 2nd round
At the 1st round, the Player 2 would be taken, since at that stage the algorithm does look at 1st round marked players first, then at any round players and if that all doesn’t work, the engine takes the sorting of all remaining players. Player 2 is available and marked as 1st round, so he is taken.
Now we come to second round and the engine is taking a look at the 2nd round marked players first, then any-round marked and then all others based on sorting.
Player 1 is the highest sorted with marked 2nd rounds, so he is taken, even if Player 5 is marked 1st round. That 1st round marker is interpreted as any-round, so the player is not in the mix at the start.
At round 3 is Player 3 taken as highest sorted 3rd round guy.
Now let’s play what if.

First round:
Assuming the same sorting and Player 2 was taken by some other team? Player 5 is taken at first round, because it’s marked that way.
Assuming Player 2 and Player 5 are already gone at first round? Player 4 is taken, because it’s the only one not marked for a round and is available.
Assuming Player 2, 5 and 4 are taken at first round already and you pick next? Player 1 is taken, as highest sorted rest players.

Second round:
Assuming player 1 is taken? Player 6 is taken as highest sorted player with 2nd round mark.
Assuming player 1 and player 6 are taken and you pick next? Player 2 is taken as highest player sorted without a round marked. The 1st round marker is interpreted as any-round in round 2!
Assuming player 1, 6 and 2 are taken and you pick next? Player 4 is taken as highest sorted with any-round marked. Player 5 is also an any-round player, but sorted lower.

Third round:
Assuming player 3 is taken? Player 1 would be chose as highest sorted any-round marked player, since the 2nd round marker is interpreted as any-round.

I hope that helps to get the picture.

I did skip the marking a long time ago and decided to go straight sorting 1st to 96th, all marked with any round.

There are some ways to use this system to ensure a single pick based on position, age or whatever feature is desired.
I will take an example with the QB-Position.
You know you like to have one and you did find 5 players worth a shot and since you pick at #5 you are sure you get one of those 5. You do also want just one of those players and in round 2 and 3 you like to have other players and hopefully not one of the remaining 4 QBs.
Sort your 5 QBs based on your system and put them to lowest spots on the list, so #92 to #96 and mark them first-round and NO OTHER player gets a first-round marker.
On draft day the engine will look for first-round marker and will find at pick #5 a list of 1 to 5 QBs with that marker and will s e l e c t the highest sorted player. Assuming it was #91 sorted and the others are still available, in second round the engine will look for second-round-marked players and if that’s not available for any-round-marked players. Since the remaining QBs are sorted on the last spots, they will get very likely ignored (if you did not mark all other players third round ;-) ) and you will get a different player. Same for third round. You still might end up with one of the QBs (depended on your pick position and how many players you did put at the bottom) in this example it’s impossible to get one of those, since at third round there are still 32 players left, those 4 QBs are down below sorted and you pick at #5.

But try the system yourself it might be useful for you.

As advice to get the best picture for your upcoming draft, here some tips.

Your coaching strategy is a major factor for evaluating players.
If you have a high CP-AC on one position, almost every player will become very good in the main skills over 7-10 seasons on that position, regardless of his TW.
If you lack an AC on another position, a high TW is essential to get at least a bit of performance out of that guy on that position, if you don't have other strategies regarding training and coaches.

Do define, which parameters, like Age, INT, TW, EXP, Skills, Talents and so on are you most desired parameter set and how much they should be worth it and then try to get the best player based on that set.
Many do create nasty formulas to calculate that one single value for sorting the players, for example simply adding or multiplying all desired parameters in some form and then selecting the player with the highest sum as the most desired.
Some do weighted functions on several of parameters, like 90% STR for OL and the rest 10% is simple the blocking skill, both summed up and that's that.
Others do build value clusters like STR > 40 -> 50 points, STR > 45 -> 75 points and for every STR-point extra another 10 points get added. A trait gets 50 points and so an.

The best way to sort the players regardless of the evaluation is by calculating their actual und future skill value on each position.
How that?
Scout each player’s values and make a calculation playing "what if" on each player for each position.
So "what if this QB is trained as DL with my coaches until he hits the age of 30", or whatever the age or limit is, you set.
You will have for each player than some kind of value to work with on each position and when you start looking for the needed position, you will see that not every existing player on his current position in the draft is the best choice to fill that position.
Sure, the best ones will have very likely on that position also a high value, so they won't be lost or gone, but there will also be some players which might be only 5th or 6th choice by default on that position (without deep evaluation I mean) and it can be that this player drops to 64th or deeper spot on that position, if you calculate ALL players career development potential on that position.
Example: You need a DL and there are 5 which are great in all aspects, clearly the 5 best players of the whole draft in physicals and all other parameters.
The 6th and later players on DL do have physicals somewhere in the 30s and do have bad TW. So if you need a DL, they are not the best choice, if they are the only ones left.
You have to pick as 30th, because you had a quite good playoff run and at the time you do pick it's very likely those 5 great liners are gone.
So, do you pick the 6th best, if available?
If you did play "what if" for all players, you know now, there are maybe 10 other players, non-DL, which will have better values as DL at the end of their career as that cursed 6th DL in the draft, but they are at the moment RB, WR, LB or maybe QB.
Yes, they will take time to get them in shape, but they might have already some skills trained you need and you only have to train 1 or 2 skills on top and with great TW and with already given great physicals, they are maybe a few season not really a DL, but after a few season they do catch up and turn into that player you always wanted.
If you don't play "what if" you will miss those players.
The strength of that game is that you can switch players quite easily, so use it as an advantage.
With the new enhanced training progress the switching and training players into a certain position comes even more easy than before season 30. It will still take some time to build for example a DL out of a TE prospect, but with the right AC this will happen much faster than in the past.

Mathematics for draft evaluation:
I did promise some examples and here are some.

Lifetime training value minus physical training:
Assuming you did make some lifetime training calculation I did describe in the training chapter, you have already a formula to calculate the lifetime training effect on each position for each player in the draft. You would also have some sort of weighting on the skills, so you know already on which level the player might be you start training him now!
For the draft this has to be adjusted. At first he will be one year older when you draft him (assuming you did scout him in season X and not prior the draft after rollover to season X+1). That’s a lot of less training. Second you have to calculate some form of physical training. A player with STR = 35 and SPE = 35 will very likely not be capped and they need training on the skills, which is training the other skills don’t get.
So you need some sort of guess how much training will be needed until they cap and start the real skill training. You get set up goal skill values for SPE and STR to be minimum for that position and you can calculate the difference to the current values and you can even calculate the number of trainings needed to reach that goal. No you have to take those trainings away from the life time value and you have a rough estimation and you can compare all players on that position. Some might already have the STR and SPE skills, so they start the real skill training now and others might need one or two seasons of physical training to get to the desired values (if not capped before, in that case you have to decide what to do with the player). Some might be older and some might be younger.
This can shift the lifetime values big way.
The problem here is that you are leaning on guesses regarding estimated physicals and this might not always be the right case. But since an uncapped player WILL lose training time, it’s a matter of how much you do subtract in average. You will have drafties fitting to that, some will cap earlier and get to skill training earlier (or will be sold, because they did not fit into the strategy then) and some will cap later. It all depends on the level you assume as needed and wanted and the gaps between that value and the current value.

Weight functions
Another possibility is to mix the skills up based on a weight function including all parameters.
For that you need some kind of scoring for every parameter and because the values are different (like AGE and TW, one is between 19 and 23 on draft day, the other between 1 and 50), you might need functions to have them on the same level.
Assuming you would like to have all between 0 and 100, take AGE with 100 being 19 and 23 being 0 you need some sort of 100 - (AGE-18-1)*25. Take TW_100 = TW * 2. INT_100 = INT *2, Talent with TAL * 25 and maybe Traits as 100 if Trait is available and 0 otherwise.
Then you could make per position a physical value formula, for example for OL you take (STR * 4 + SPE )/5 *2 to value STR four times bigger than SPE. Or you leave SPE out completely. Your decision.
At the end you have all players with a physical score between 0 and 100.
You can do the same with the skill sets the position needs also, like BLO, FOO, POS; VIS and AGI on OL and bring those onto a scoring value of 0 to 100.
Now you can add some sort of additional weight for the final score, like 90% physical, 5% skills and all other skills maybe just 1% to 2 % each, all summed up.
Finally you have a value of some kind to judge every player on every position.
The problem here is, that you do mix stuff up, even with such high physicals weights as in the example. Imagine a low physical OL, which have high skills in all other fields. Even with that weight function it might happen that a basically not wanted players gets a higher rating than a wanted one, because things are mixed together.
So to have a method which does avoid shortcomings you have to think smart what you really want.

forward to Chapter 10 - The long way to become RZA Transfer Tycoon
back to Chapter 08 - Manage your Youth Academy roster

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