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Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

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Old 10-03-2017, 10:21 PM   #1
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Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

A NEW APPROACH TO EXPANSION FRANCHISE IN MADDEN


Disclaimer:
This guide is based on Madden 17 but works for Madden 16 and as far as I know, 18 as well Ė Just keep in mind that some things may not work exactly the same in every game. Since Iím writing this based on Madden 17, in this guide the first season in franchise mode is the 2016 season and the 2nd season is the 2017 season. So, if youíre on M16/M18 just know that when I refer to the 2016 season it means the first season in franchise mode (2015 season for M16 and 2017 for M18). Itís just easier to explain in text using 2016 and 2017 season rather than Season #1 and Season #2.


Background: My former guide and why it wasnít working
My goal with any expansion franchise Iíve done in the past has always been to the 2001 NFL Expansion Draft but Madden is very limited in what you can do, so Iíve always had to compromise. I know what story I want to tell, but the method I have to use to achieve that in the game means I have to change the story into something very different and something I donít necessarily end up liking.

In short, for those who havenít done an expansion in Madden before, my previous method was to do the expansion draft before starting my franchise; I would use the Roster management in the main menu options to find 5 players from each team, pick the players I wanted (expansion draft) and move them all to the team I was replacing. Then I would replace the rest of the roster with free agents (and in some cases with rookies from the previous draft and who were therefore already on the roster), start up my franchise, relocate and simulate the first season and start playing games in season 2.

There were several things that annoyed me about this method and to some degree ruined my immersion.

First of all, the expansion draft happened before the 2016 season which means that either the new expansion franchise starts playing immediately in 2016 but in the wrong city and with the former teamís logo, uniform and stadium, or have all the players on my roster ęsit outĽ a full year (not being at their former teams anymore and the team I was replacing not existing anymore) before starting to play in the correct city for the correct team in the 2nd season of the franchise.

This may not be a big problem for some, but for someone like me who aims for realism and who enjoys the storytelling aspect of gaming (and Dynasties on OperationSports), it always ruined my immersion, especially in the 2nd season when I actually started playing games and was constantly reminded of my playersí stats from the previous season which in my head didnít really exist. And if I pretended that we did actually play the first season before relocating for whatever reason, I didnít feel like we were an expansion franchise so much as a team that just relocated, in which case holding an expansion draft didnít make any sense whatsoever. Just simulating through the first season pretending it didnít happened also ruins the immersion for me, especially considering how much we talk about the previous season (player stats and performances etc) as soon as we get to the offseason and pretty much all through the next one.

Because of this Iíve spent a lot of time setting up an expansion franchise in the past using my old method, only to abandon the franchise as soon as I start playing games in the 2nd season because I feel so disconnected from my franchise and my players that itís just no fun. So, I set out to find a new method and I came up with one that I really like and would like to share with you all.


Goals for my new approach
So, the theory that sparked the idea for my new method and this guide was, if you can make trades in the offseason, you can also do the expansion draft in the offseason. I was very excited about this idea but had I known then that it would take days, not hours, of testing to figure all this out, I probably wouldíve given up before even starting. It seems like such a simple idea once you figure out you can turn off the Trade Deadline in the offseason and make trades, which is why I started testing, but once you start, you run into a heap of problems that requires hours and hours of planning, failing and testing to get around. Hopefully Iíve been able to solve most if not all issues now so you wonít have to

I started out with a simple goal: hold the expansion draft after the 2016 season. I wanted to achieve this for two reasons;

First of all, instead of moving players from their former teams before the 2016 season began, the players would play for their former teams and have realistic stats and a better backstory than ęsitting outĽ a year.

Secondly, I soon realized that the 2016 season would have an impact on the players listed in the expansion draft. Now, that made me very excited as the 2016 season now not only mattered and gave players realistic stats, but it could create all kinds of storylines as to how a player ended up on a teamís expansion draft list.

I went all out, simulating one season while keeping track of an unnecessary amount of factors and numbers, which took about two full days to do, and from that experiment I could narrow down what factors really mattered and how to get through the first season in reasonable time without loosing out on too much of the immersion and storylines.

The results are what Iím presenting to you now and hopefully itíll be of some use to some of you. But before you set off following the guide, Iíve listed some proís and conís just so you know what youíre getting yourself into


PRO'S

ęCorrectĽ timeline for Expansion draft, free agency and Draft

We are an expansion franchise that doesnít exist yet in 2016 and only starts playing in 2017 since thatís when we get to play in our expansion city with our own uniforms, logos and stadium (otherwise weíre technically relocating, not expanding the league). Therefore, the expansion draft shouldnít take place before the 2016 season either. By moving the expansion draft to after youíve simulated the 2016 season, you get a more correct timeline (the 2002 Expansion Draft was in February) where players only join your team once theyíve finished the 2016 season with their former teams and your franchise is up and running.

Additionally, you get a free agency that differs from franchise to franchise instead of the same static one you use if you set it up in the main menu (although the differences from franchise to franchise arenít enormous as Madden is/seems very limited in what players are released and re-signed).

And lastly, you get the first overall pick in the 2017 rookie draft as the final means to fill out your roster and the rookies you can choose from are different each time which adds much needed variation from franchise to franchise.

The 2016 season matters: ęNo two expansion drafts are the sameĽ

Now, this wasnít my main reason to begin with, but when I realized its potential, it quickly became so! The 2016 season youíre simulating actually matters and there are several factors that Iíve found can have an impact on what players are listed by the 31 teams;

First of all, performances and injuries in the 2016 season can make changes to a teamís depth chart and consequently change who a team would be willing to give up.

E.g. if Tony Romo plays every snap in the 2016 season and leads the Cowboys to the playoffs, itís unlikely the Cowboys would want to give him away for free, especially if Prescott has not played a snap yet. Of course, I can see Prescotts OVR, but the idea is that the coaches in Dallas canít and have no idea if this guy can take Romoís place. Giving away a starting QB youíve had recent success with to gamble on a 4th round pick doesnít sound like a wise decision to me. However, if Romo is struggling in the 2016 season, either with performances or injuries, and Dak Prescott plays well, Romoís huge contract is now a problem for Dallas and a problem they most likely wouldnít mind giving away for free.

Similarly, Jay Cutler is Chicagoís starting QB at the start of the 2016 season and B.Hoyer, his backup, looks perfect for an expansion draft. However, in one of my many experiments Cutler was injured for part of the season and when he was injury free, he performed so poorly that Hoyer ended up being named the starter instead. Cutler was suddenly a backup QB with a $15M cap hit.

In other words, if I did the expansion franchise before simulating the 2016 season, I would never consider Romo or Cutler a realistic option, but not making the decision until after the 2016 season means they could be.

Secondly, teams move players around on their depth chart and donít always play them in the position theyíre listed at. For example, when looking at the Eaglesí roster before starting the franchise, it looks like they would start B.Graham (95OVR) at LE and C.Barwin (79OVR) at RE. That makes LE V.Curry (79OVR) Grahamís backup with limited playing time and someone I would potentially put on the expansion draft list. However, when I simulated through the 2016 season, I noticed that V.Curry was moved over to RE and was the starter while C.Barwin was the backup LE, despite being the best RE. This lead to V.Curry playing a lot that season, while C.Barwin got very few snaps and looked more and more like an old, expensive backup. That lead to me putting C.Barwin on the list rather than Curry.

Thirdly, in some cases a team having a poor season and a head coach being sacked can make higher rated veterans whom I would never consider putting in an expansion draft before starting the franchise, expandable if the team is going into rebuild mode. E.g. in one of my experiments the Bengals had a terrible 5-11 season and sacked Marvin Lewis. Before starting the 2016 season, the Bengals was considered a playoff team and so a player like LT A.Whitworth, rated 93 OVR, would never have been listed, but because of the poor performance it looked like they had some rebuilding to do and a 34, soon to be 35 year old Whitworth now looked expandable.

The case of Whitworth and the Bengals also points out a fifth factor; the salary cap. The other reason why I found it reasonable to get rid of Whitworth was his $12.3M cap in 2017 for a team that was already over the salary cap. If youíre doing a rebuild, even if itís just a mini-rebuild, and youíre bringing in a new head coach to do so, freeing up some cap space and getting rid of some 10+ year veterans on expensive contracts makes a lot of sense. But even if a team is not rebuilding and would like to keep all of their higher rated players, if youíre barely under the salary cap and youíre heading into an offseason where you might want to sign some free agents and you also need cap space to sign whatever rookies you draft, you might be forced to get rid of some big contracts.

Sixthly (is that a word?) during the 2016 season teams can re-sign players which can also impact the expansion franchise player list.

Now, I normally wouldnít list 90+ OVR players and Whitworth is definitely an exception in that regard, one that happened in a specific franchise, but I donít see any issue with listing 80+ players as long as itís justifiable. If the Bengals had made the playoffs and kept Marvin Lewis, I would never have listed Whitworth because he would be a key player in next seasonís push for the Super Bowl. So, it should also be noted that the only reason a 90+ OVR player was available in my expansion franchise, was because of this method

The 2016 season mattersÖ part 2!

All the players I end up selecting in the expansion draft have 2016 season stats and a backstory while playing for other teams. If I moved them all before starting the 2016 season, they would have stats, but stats I pretend doesnít exist as we werenít actually a team participating in the 2016 season and their only backstory would be that they were sitting out for a year. If I also have rookies that were drafted in the 2016 rookie draft, theyíre now players with 1 yearís experience without having played a snap. For that reason, Iíve completely ignored the 2016 season in the past and just rushed to the 2017 rookie draft with a feeling of doing something terrible I hope no one finds out about. And as mentioned, it ruined the immersion and often made me give up on the whole thing.

Having the expansion draft after the 2016 season adds SO much to the immersion that Iíll gladly spend the extra time necessary to take some notes, check out some results and box scores, the injury reports and transactions and really immerse myself in the 2016 season. Players end up on a teamís expansion draft list for a number of different reasons, as mentioned above, and their backstory, or ęroad to the expansion draft listĽ if youíd like, is created by the 2016 season. Whoever I end up selecting, I know what they did in 2016 and why they are there.

So, in my experiments all these factors have made a difference at one point or the other and the list of players I can choose from at the end of the year differs to some degree from franchise to franchise. The 2016 season storylines can have a big impact on the expansion draft and, as mentioned already, it adds SO much to the immersion!


CONíS


More time consuming

I have no idea how many hours Iíve spent on finding this method and testing to see if it works Ė weíre talking days, not hours Ė so hopefully this guide will save you a lot of time and effort. I donít know how many hours itíll take to get through every step Ė and that also depends to some degree on you and how much effort you want to put into this Ė but I know itíll be more work and more time consuming than setting everything up before starting the franchise and quickly simulating through the first season. That said, you can quickly simulate through the season using this method as well, but itíll take longer to get through the offseason since youíll have an expansion draft to do. In short, you wonít spend as much time before starting the franchise with this method, but youíll spend more time once youíve started the franchise.

If you decide to do this and you try to be as quick as possible, time yourself and share with us how long it took

ęWrongĽ player and team stats, wrong final standings

This is my main issue with this setup right now and my ęsolutionĽ so far is to basically ignore it.

The problem is that the team Iím replacing has already folded and is not a part of the 2016 season. The story is that the NFL is a 31 team league for one season but obviously you canít do that in Madden. This means that every team on your calendar gets a win, and an increase in team and player stats from games against your team they shouldnít/didnít actually play. Depending on the division youíre in, that may become a problem Ė maybe a team that wasnít on your calendar misses a playoff spot to a team in your division that got two ęfree winsĽ against you Ė and it can ruin your immersion to some degree.

Itís important to keep in mind though that even in a 31 team league, like the NFL was before Houston Texans joined, every team would still play 16 games. So itís not that they shouldnít play the 16th game (and the 15th for your division rivals), but they shouldnít be playing against you.

I think its one of those things where itís only a big problem if you make it one. As Iíve stated before Ė and I think is evident by how much work Iíve put into this and my Training Camp Guide in the past Ė I put a lot of work into adding realism and immersion into a (IMO) pretty lifeless game mode, and I did spend some time trying to figure out how to solve this in a good manner. But in the end I canít change the league standings, what teams gets to the playoffs or player stats, so Iím not gonna waste time thinking about it anymore than I already have. The closest I can get is to pretend that the teams on my calendar plays the games they should play against us against other teams. And if you think a certain team gets a win too many by this method, you can always go to that teamís schedule and simulate a win for an opponent.


Ok, enough chit-chat. Letís get to the Guide.


Quote:
Last update: Oct 5, 2017 Ė Version 1.1
Changed instructions for setting up you initial roster based on an idea from JoshC1977. Thanks for the feedback, mate!

(OPTIONAL) STEP 0
BEFORE YOU START YOUR FRANCHISE

This step is only necessary if you want to move some of the top players from the team you're replacing to different teams rather than having them sit in free agency. If you don't have any players you want to move to other team's, skip to Step 1!

1.1 Download the roster you want to use and save it as a new file.

1.2 Go to Roster Management and release only the players you want to move to other teams.

1.3 Go to free agents and sign the players you've released to the teams you want (make sure you have the right team selected in the top left corner when signing).

1.4 Save your roster and go to Step 1.



STEP 1
STARTING YOUR FRANCHISE MODE

1.1 Choose Offline and Use Active Roster. I havenít tested Cloud yet, and Preseason Rosters resets all your hard work.

1.2 Choose the team youíre replacing.

1.3 Set starting point to Preseason and create a new owner as your role.

1.4 Go to League Settings and change the following:
  • Relocation Setting: All Users Only. This is important as Users Only requires a stadium rating of 20 or less to relocate and will stop you if the team youíre replacing has a higher stadium rating than that. All Users Only means you can relocate any team regardless of stadium rating.
  • Every User Team Help option: OFF

I also recommend turning the Tutorial Pop-ups off so that it wonít force you to scout a player the first time you open the scouting screen. Everything else is up to you Ė at least for now.

1.5 Start the franchise and make a new save file. I recommend making multiple save files as the season progress so that you can go back if necessary.


STEP 2
SETTING UP YOUR ROSTER


2.1 Go to My Team --> Salaries (not roster) and start releasing players from the top of the list. Release every player until you get to players with an 68-70 OVR rating.

2.2 With only players with a 70 OVR rating or lower left on your roster, go through the rest and release everyone who has more than 1 year left on his contract.

2.3 Once you're done, the only players you should have left are players with a 70 OVR or lower and with only 1 year left on their contract. Now go through the different positions (you can still use the Salaries screen) and see how many players you need in the different positions (pen and paper recommended).

2.4 Head into free agency and sign the free agents you need to meet minimum roster requirements (2xQB, 3xHB, 1xFB and so on).

I try to avoid any free agents that are good enough to be signed by other teams in preseason or during the regular season as I donít want to affect what the CPU does, but at the same time donít sign the worst players you can find; If you have nothing but 50-60 OVR players youíll get a lot of extreme results like 72-0 and the likes which can skew player and team stats unnecessarily. Itís better to have an average team and force low scoring losses.

Every free agent you sign now are players youíre gonna get rid of as soon as the 2016 season is over. So, if thereís a free agent you really like, donít sign him now but wait until after the 2016 season and hope heís still available



STEP 3
SIMULATING SEASON #1


3.0 (Optional) Set XP sliders to 0
This is only for the first season. The idea is that if you use any roster file with player updates based on the 2016 season Ė like the last official roster update for instanceĖ they shouldnít get an extra seasonís worth of progress and development on top of the updates theyíve already received.

In season 2 however, you can set the XP sliders any way you like. I use and highly recommend TDawgís Madden 17 XP sliders

3.1 Preseason Week 1
Go to My Owner ó> Stadium and select Relocate. If you donít have the option to Relocate, you most likely have the wrong Relocation Setting selected. Head to the League Settings under Options and change it to All Users Only (or Everybody if you want other NFL teams to be able to relocate as well).

3.2 (Optional) Preseason stats
Simulate to week 4 of the preseason and check out statistics. The reason you have to check the stats here and not after week 4 is because as soon as you simulate to the regular season all the preseason stats disappear.

3.3 Regular Season Week 1
Make a new save file here. At this point weíre going to simulate week by week all the way to Week 17 Ė but DO NOT simulate PAST week 17! While doing so we have several tasks to do:

Weekly Tasks:
  • Skip the weekly training. With XP Sliders at 0 itís pointless and youíre getting rid of all these players anyway.
  • Go into you team schedule and force a win for your opponent. You can, as far as I know, force wins for several weeks at a time, but just to be safe, I do it on a weekly basis.
  • Starting week 3 you can scout rookies. Since I donít know who my head coach is going to be yet and because I find it more realistic that a scouting team would at least know something about the vast majority of rookies in the pool, I usually unlock the first skill of as many players as possible. If you only have the default 175 scouting points, you can use 165 of those on unlocking the first skill of 11 players and then pick one player who looks intriguing and unlock his second skill. I never unlock the third skill Ė see Extras: Other House Rules for more information.

(Optional) To Do Every 4 Weeks
I do a short summary after every 4 weeks, (week 1, 5, 9, 13 and 17), where I go through whatís happening in the league. This is to add immersion and to look for storylines that could run throughout the season and impact the expansion draft. But Iíve set this to optional because itís not something you have to do.

Things I check are:
  • Team standings and player stats
  • Injury Report (and Depth Chart in case of injuries to starters)
  • Transactions, especially trades

Additionally I like to check some scores to see if there are any upsets, any big wins or performances worth noting. Especially if a starter has showed up in the injury reports, I go to check when he was injured, who took over and how he performed. You can put as much time and effort into this as youíd like or you can skip it altogether. Find what works for you.

(Must do) Unique events
Reg.Season Week 5: Choose city
Reg.Season Week 6: Choose Team Name
Reg.Season Week 7: Choose Team Uniform
Reg.Season Week 8: Choose Stadium



Once youíre in Week 17, create a new save file.


STEP 4
WEEK 17: EXPANSION DRAFT Ė PART 1
Creating The Expansion Draft Player List

4.1 Why Week 17?
Before simulating to the playoffs, weíre going to create the list of players we can pick from in the offseason expansion draft. There are multiple reasons for doing this in Week 17 of the Regular Season rather than simulating past the playoffs or even simulating TO the playoffs first. If you're interested in why, its under the spoiler. If not, just skip to 4.2. It's not very important.

Spoiler



4.2 The beauty of the Salaries Screen
Even though its called Salaries one place and Team Salaries another, the Salaries/Team Salaries screen is brilliant for creating the expansion draft list and in my experience itís much better, easier and faster to work with than the Roster Management screen on the main menu which I used in my old method.

The information you need when finding players is; Position, OVR, Age, Salary and Years Remaining and itís beneficial to be able to go through a team position by position. On any other screen, sorting through all that information easily turns into a scroll/click fest (OVR and age all the way to the left, years remaining all the way to the right with every single attribute in between and so on).

On the Salaries screen however, you have all that information available right next to each other. You can sort by years remaining and go through all the positions one by one, and all the information you need is right there in front of you without the need to scroll You still need to view the player card or go to a different menu to see a playerís season stats, but hey, it wouldnít be Madden if you had easy access to everything from one menu, now would it?

4.3 Finding Players
Go to My Team ó> Salaries and find players for the expansion draft list. As for what players you can and cannot list, thatíll change a little depending on how the 2016 season played out but here are some basic rules, based on the 2002 expansion draft:
  • Each team must list 5 players*
  • No Kickers or Punters
  • No players that are set to become a restricted/unrestricted free agent after the 2016 season
  • Only 1 player with 10+ years of experience can be listed
  • No players who went on IR in preseason can be listed. Now, teams donít seem to list players on IR no matter how long theyíll be out for, so my rule is to not list anyone who have long term injuries, period. This is also because having players who in week 17 are out with injury for more than a week or two will cause problems in step 5.

*For some teams itís just impossible to find 5 players I find realistic to list and who fulfills the above criteria so in that case Iíll just list as many as possible and leave it at that. Donít overthink it too much.

Additionally, I add the following of my own rules;
  • No Rookies
  • No players under the age of 25*. At the same time, try to avoid players who are 33-34 or older (except QBís who play much longer), or any player who is likely to retire after the 2016 season.
  • No players with less than 3 years experience (they will be listed with 2 years, the 2016 season being the third)

*If a player has 3 years of experience after the 2016 season, it's ok if he's younger than 25.

As for how good the players can be, I prefer to look at performance, team need and salaries over OVR. As mentioned in the Proís list, many factors can come into play here and decide whether a player should go on the list or not and I let those factors decide rather than following a maximum OVR number set in stone. Also, by using these factors instead of an OVR number, youíll get a list of players based on that 2016 season however it played out and it will most likely look different from franchise to franchise, which I think is a good thing.

Just remember that at the end of the day this is your franchise and your expansion draft and you should follow (or not) any rule you decide is right for your franchise mode and not limit yourself to my or anyone elseís rules. As long as YOUíRE having fun, my opinion on whatís realistic and fun and whatís not shouldnít matter at all. So do your own thing!

4.4 Creating a list
Create a list of every player including the following information:
  • Player name
  • Position
  • OVR
  • Age after 2016 (so if he's 30 now, write 31)
  • Current team
  • Cap hit in 2017 (not 2016)
  • Years remaining on his contract after 2016 (so if it says 3 now, write 2)

Once the list is complete, go to step 5.


STEP 5 Ė THE FINAL STEP!
SUPER BOWL WEEKEND: EXPANSION DRAFT Ė PART 2
The Actual Expansion Draft

5.0 Why the Super Bowl Weekend, and some Draft Rules
I ran into some issues when trying to do the expansion draft at the Re-sign stage (week after the Super Bowl) in that several players were missing from their teams. I know some of them were traded (because I had left the Trade Deadline to OFF due to some testing) but a few were just missing and Iím not sure where they ended up. Probably free agency but I couldnít see from the transactions screen that they had been cut either. So, at the end of the day it was just easier and less messy to do this a week earlier

When it comes to the actual rules for the Expansion draft, I again follow the rules of the 2002 expansion draft as I find that both challenging and more realistic;
  • You have to pick either a) a minimum of 30 players or b) a minimum of 38% of the 2017 salary cap in contracts. The salary cap in 2017 is $160M unless it changes from franchise to franchise, so you would have to pick players that would chew up at least $60.8M. What I like about this rule is that it forces you to either sign 30 players, leaving less space for free agents and draft picks, or you have to take on some big contracts that arenít so easy to get rid of.
  • When youíve selected a player from an existing team, that team gets to remove one player from the list. If you select a second player from the same team, that team gets to remove the remaining three. However, a team is not required to do so and can leave all their players on the list and available for selection (itís up to you whether they do so or not). In that case, youíre allowed to select a maximum of three players from the same team.

5.1 Select the players you want from the expansion draft list.
For every player I pick, I will double check that my opinion of this player and why heís on the expansion draft list is still legitimate and that it didnít change during the playoffs. Put all of the players youíve picked on their own list (an excel/numbers spreadsheet is helpful as it can calculate your total salary cap for you as you go along) along with what team they came from. Youíll need this later.

5.2 Taking Control
Once youíre done drafting players, and this is the time consuming part, take control of every team youíve selected a player from. You donít have to take control of all 31 teams, just the teams youíve selected a player from. Important: Choose Existing Owner as your role and don't make any changes in the settings menu at that point.

5.3 Change the following settings
After you've taken control of all the teams you need to trade with, go into Options ó> League Settings and change Trade Deadline from ON to OFF and Trade Type to ęEnable HumanĽ. This is to make sure YOU can make trades, but the CPU canít (since itís after the trade deadline).

5.4 Moving players
Next is to move the players youíve selected in the expansion draft to your team. After doing 5.3, The Trade Center is now functional so use manual trade to do so. I find the easiest way to do this is to trade one of your expansion draft selections for the lowest rated player at your roster with an expiring contract. That way the player you trade away will be immediately cut by the other team as soon as you simulate to the offseason. Repeat for every player youíve selected in the expansion draft.

If you run out of players an expiring contract you can edit your playersí contracts to a 1-year contract first. If you're on Madden 16 and can't edit contracts, there is a work around;

What you do is trade your 1st round pick (cause thatís the most easily accessible and easiest to remember) for the player youíve selected AND the other teamís 1st round pick. Then immediately set up a 2nd trade with the same team, just exchanging the 1st round picks. Note; If one of the 1st round picks is missing when you try to do the 2nd trade (which is a bug and happens quite frequently in my experience), back out of the Trade Center and then go back in. Both picks should appear now.

5.5 Make sure you have all your draft picks
Go to My Team ó> Roster and the Picks screen to double check that you have all of your own picks for 2017 and 2018 and no other picks than that. You are an expansion team and havenít had any chance to make any trades yet, so your own picks are the only picks you should have. At least in my opinion. A lot of the other teams have other teamís draft picks, which is fine, but if you are currently holding any other teamís draft picks or if you are missing some draft picks that you should have, follow the same procedure as point 5.4 (and point 5.2 if necessary) and make the necessary trades.

Tip: While at the Roster screen, write down not just what team you need to trade with and what round, but exactly which pick it is (#133, #72 and so on). In the Trade Center you can only see the Round and the number, not if that pick originally belonged to a different team or if itís your own. So, take notes to save livÖ time!

5.6 Reset the settings
Go back into League Settings and turn the Trade Deadline back ON and, if you prefer to have the CPU make trades, enable all trades.

5.7 Cut the rest
Release any remaining free agent so that youíre left with just the players you selected in the expansion draft. If all your remaining players are on expiring contracts, you can skip this step and as theyíll be released as soon as you sim past the re-sign stage.

If you have players on your roster you canít cut because theyíre injured you can either wait it out and then cut him when heís back (recommended) or if you just want to get rid of him right away, go to Options ó> League settings and turn injuries and pre existing injuries off. Cut the player(s) and then turn injuries and pre existing injuries back on. The reason I donít recommend this method is because itíll remove all other injuries in the league as well, which I donít really want to do.

5.8 Clear Cap Penalties
Go to Options ó> User Teams and for every team youíve traded an expansion draft player from (not the teams you took control over to do step 5.5 if any), click on that team and Clear Cap Penalties. The reason for this is that when a team trades away a player with a signing bonus you receive that player without having to pay the signing bonus, but the team you traded him from are stuck with a cap penalty they, according to the 2002 expansion draft rules, should not have. Also clear your own cap penalties if you have any as you shouldnít have any at this point.

5.9 Retire the Other Owners
If you donít use 32 team control and you donít want to be in control of any other team than your own, select each of the other owners, go to Options and Retire. You have to do this for each teams separately.

For the final step, simulate to the re-sign stage (the first one after the Super Bowl)

5.10 Add back the signing bonus
The players youíve selected all have a lower cap number than you wrote down in Week 17 because their signing bonus is missing (except if they had no signing bonus at their former team). Head back to My Team ó> Salaries. With your expansion draft spreadsheet with the 2017 cap number of each player selected in front of you, click on a player, go to Edit Player and go one to the left (or all the way to the right) to the playerís contract screen. Here you can see his 2017 cap salary. Go down to Signing bonus. As soon as you start adding to the signing bonus the total cap hit should go up. Keep increasing it until the salary cap number on the bottom matches what you have on the spreadsheet. Then click Back, save the changes and youíre done.

In some cases you wonít get it perfectly accurate and the salaries may not look exactly like they did at their former team, but get as close as you can and that should be good enough.

Madden 16 users:
Spoiler



Important: Update on Madden 18
Two technical notes about the experience on M18 from JoshC1977:

Spoiler


And that, as they say, is that.

And if you've made it this far, pat yourself on the back and color me impressed

You should now have a roster with only your expansion draft selections. They have all played for other teams in 2016 and have correct stats and a backstory as to how they ended up on your team. Your franchise has just come into existence and are ready to take on free agency and the rookie draft and get ready for your first season in franchise history.

I hope this guide has been easy enough to understand, but please feel free to ask if anything is unclear. I truly hope this guide will give you a new way to do an expansion draft and give you many extra hours of franchise mode.

Feel free to post any comments, suggestions or criticism. And remember to have fun!



Extra: Other House Rules
Spoiler

Last edited by tubaSimulator; 10-13-2017 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:18 PM   #2
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Re: Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

This is really a tremendous read and idea. I definitely plan on giving this a try on M18. Thank you very much for posting this!
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Old 10-05-2017, 05:10 AM   #3
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Re: Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

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Originally Posted by JoshC1977
This is really a tremendous read and idea. I definitely plan on giving this a try on M18. Thank you very much for posting this!
That's great and thanks for the kind words! I haven't been able to test this in M18 yet so any feedback on how it works out for you is appreciated
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:13 PM   #4
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Re: Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

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That's great and thanks for the kind words! I haven't been able to test this in M18 yet so any feedback on how it works out for you is appreciated
I like your process (in theory) a lot...but, there is one tweak I can offer (which will work on previous versions too)...

Creating your year 1 roster file outside of CFM is OK; but it is a rather annoying process because of the positional requirement prompts that don't let you cut guys until you fill the position up more. So, you're stuck going back and forth between signing and cutting....ugh....

My suggestion is this.....
  • Start the CFM in preseason.
  • If you want to move any high-level players on your base team roster to create franchise 'storylines' before cutting the remainder, start by engineering trades here. Totally optional step, because the CPU-controlled teams will for sure compete to sign all of your leftover guys.
  • Cut all your remaining players (you won't get a prompt that you don't meet minimum positional requirements)...you can just blaze through this all at once.
  • Reset cap penalties for your team
  • Sign your crappy Free Agents for the Year 1 sim
There is also a huge advantage doing it this way, those Free Agents you signed will all be signed to 1 year deals.....so perfect for the expansion draft phase.....every player will be on an expiring contract (so you can move them quickly for your expansion selections and those left will just be let go)...
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:28 PM   #5
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Re: Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshC1977
I like your process (in theory) a lot...but, there is one tweak I can offer (which will work on previous versions too)...

Creating your year 1 roster file outside of CFM is OK; but it is a rather annoying process because of the positional requirement prompts that don't let you cut guys until you fill the position up more. So, you're stuck going back and forth between signing and cutting....ugh....

My suggestion is this.....
  • Start the CFM in preseason.
  • If you want to move any high-level players on your base team roster to create franchise 'storylines' before cutting the remainder, start by engineering trades here. Totally optional step, because the CPU-controlled teams will for sure compete to sign all of your leftover guys.
  • Cut all your remaining players (you won't get a prompt that you don't meet minimum positional requirements)...you can just blaze through this all at once.
  • Reset cap penalties for your team
  • Sign your crappy Free Agents for the Year 1 sim
There is also a huge advantage doing it this way, those Free Agents you signed will all be signed to 1 year deals.....so perfect for the expansion draft phase.....every player will be on an expiring contract (so you can move them quickly for your expansion selections and those left will just be let go)...
Hmm, I like that idea I'm about to start a new expansion franchise Ė I have only done test runs for a week now so I'm ready to finally PLAY this darn game! Ė and I will definitely test this!

If it works out as well as it sounds like it will, would you mind if I include your method in my original post? You'll get all the credit of course
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:34 PM   #6
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Re: Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

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Originally Posted by tubaSimulator
Hmm, I like that idea I'm about to start a new expansion franchise Ė I have only done test runs for a week now so I'm ready to finally PLAY this darn game! Ė and I will definitely test this!



If it works out as well as it sounds like it will, would you mind if I include your method in my original post? You'll get all the credit of course


Absolutely, no credit needed...I'll be paying close attention to your findings


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Old 10-05-2017, 04:42 PM   #7
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Re: Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

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Absolutely, no credit needed...I'll be paying close attention to your findings


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I found a solution based on your idea that works really well. The only thing I changed was in regards to any players you want to move to different teams. Doing trades in franchise mode is a bit of a time consuming method when you have to take control of other teams to do so and I've experienced not being able to take control of other teams as their owner if I've already done so once in the past (the option is greyed out with a padlock on it...?) That could potentially be problematic in the offseason when I need to take control over several teams.

Anyway, it was very quick and easy to go to Roster Management in the main menu and only release the players you want to move to different teams and no one else (in my case that was only 2). You shouldn't run into any roster minimum requirements when you only release a few players and you can then go to free agency and sign those players for their new teams immediately.

Then for the rest of the initial roster, I followed your method although I put in a small change where I instead of releasing every player, kept any player rated 70 OVR or lower with only 1 year left on their contract. That way I didn't have to release or sign as many players which saved a bit of time.

Thanks again for the feedback! Setting up the initial roster is a lot quicker and easier now
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:44 PM   #8
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Re: Guide: The Season 2 Expansion Ė A New Approach to Expansion Franchise

Just wanted to say thanks to you 2 guys for these write ups. This will make my new Houston Oilers Expansion alot better than just moving the Chargers and being stuck with all there players.
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