Hellisan of Tradition Football here; today I’d like to present a bit of NCAA 10 recruiting strategy for those involved in a competitive online dynasty. I'm in a league with 12 members known as Tradition 1 - the inaugural league in Tradition Football. When it comes to recruiting I think we have a league of experts. We are a league comprised of 25-45 year old professionals so we’re not exactly expert gamers, but we are expert recruiters. It becomes very challenging to get good players in a scenario like this. In this article I’ll outline some of the things to keep in mind that will help you put up a good class.
1) Make a list of needs. I recommend keeping notepad just for recruiting notes. I’ll list some more reasons later but for here I recommend keeping a list of every position that you need to address to have a good team. In addition to positions of obvious need, look at your star players. Could they possibly leave early after the season? How about 2 years down the line? Sometimes I’ll just write down that I need 1-2 at a position, other times I’ll write something like I need a star player here. For competitive league play you need a team that’s not only stacked at the top but has depth at each position too.
2) Scout well. There are a few of us in our league that pore over the recruits not only at the beginning but several times during the season. Not everybody can or wants to do that, but I do suggest a thorough analysis of the various positions on some level if you’re looking to put together a good class. EA has implemented a system where the 2-star players can occasionally be great and 5-star players can sometimes be crap.
In this year’s game you can look at the letter grade ratings for each player in the entire draft class and have a pretty good idea of how good they are going to be. Unrealistic but hey that’s what we have to work with. I like to start with the home state and pipeline states and look for players that have my team right at the top of the list. Of these players I add the ones that will contribute to my team. This is usually a VERY short list even with Georgia. The bulk of the players in the recruiting pool wouldn’t really help me, I need the best. So usually I’ll have between 3 and 5 players on my board that list UGA as their number one team.
To look at a position quickly I recommend sorting a few times. Start with interest. Find the players that are interested in you and look through them, and add any that are really good. Then sort by overall ranking. Then sort by speed/strength, etc. This is how you find a really great 2-star or 3-star player. They won’t be ranked right at the top but they’ll have awesome physical attributes a lot of times that will give them away. Look at the ratings of these players and trust what you see. The system doesn’t lie… unfortunately. Always keep in mind you want the most talented class not the #1 class – these are often two very different things.
3) Keep a small board. I won’t break down the recruiting advisor in this article, I assume most of you know that this system is in effect even if it’s locked in your dynasty, and that you know how to use it. If you have a 35-player list it becomes very difficult to take advantage of the X2 or the insta-signs because you can’t get to everybody on the list. Another reason for this is that the recruits have “egos” to some extent. If you’re recruiting a great 5-star prospect that you think is a must-have, you do not want to have any additional players at that position on your board. They are aware of who is on there and would rather sign with a team that is only going after them. It’s not impossible, but if it’s close, it can be the deciding factor. Also with the way the classes are generally structured there’s usually a maximum of 1-3 true impact players at a position then a whole slew of guys that are at the next level. You want the impact guys. They separate the great teams from the good teams and you can always add one of the many 2nd tier options if you lose out on the impact guy.
So how big should the board be? This is a matter of preference combined with topic 4 below. There are many who would tell you to keep a board of 5-7 impact players to spend all of your time on. This makes it very hard for people to beat you on a player but at the same time then you sometimes have slim pickins later on. If the people in your league have any brains whatsoever they will catch on to your style and if they see you jump on a player of theirs after you sign one of your guys they will adjust. I’ve tried this strategy before but I usually end up with a huge board anyway. I usually go into week 1 with a large board then immediately starting cutting down after the first week based on who people are going after, who I could legitimately sign, and I settle in with a board at around 15 players, sometimes with a few extra 5-10 minute quick-call recruits that I think can help me.
When all is said and done I usually end up with a breakdown like this:
a) Players that require a drawn-out fight against other human teams. Maximum of 5 but usually 2-3. The very best players in the class and my biggest needs. Willing to spend at least 1.5 hours per week.
b) Very good players that could be gotten with around 30-50 minute calls. Usually 5-7 players.
c) 5-10 minute quick call players. Again, good players, sometimes low-ranked players that the competition isn’t high for.
If you don’t keep your board pared down like this it’s very hard to be competitive on the “must have” players.