Football Strategy and Tips

Like any game, it can take some time to learn the ropes. But here a few things to help you get off to a good start in the football sim leagues:

Football has a small sample size

Unlike the other sports on this website, football is a hard one to generate simulated outcomes based on stats due to the small sample size of a football season. Understand going in that football is going to feel a bit more "random" than the other games because of the short season.

Understanding which stats matter

There are a lot of different players and stats in football. It can be hard to identify which stats matter the most. First off, AV is used in a variety of ways for all players, so consider it relatively important. Here's a breakdown by position:

QB: AV can impact big plays and also QB's ability to burn a blitz. Completion rate helps determine accuracy. Distance per throw can factor into average recpetion. Sacked rate factors into sacks. Rushing stats matter when the QB scrambles and also factors into how often he runs. Touchdowns can play a minor role, but touchdowns are mostly going to be a result of game flow. Passes per game is going to impact fatigue. If you have a QB who didn't throw much, you'll probably want to make sure you run more.

RB: AV can impact big plays. Yards per run is going to impact the runner's average. Touchdowns can impact runners ability to get into the endzone in the redzone. Pass-catching stats impact recpetions same as a WR or TE. Runs per game is going to impact in-game fatigue.

WR/TE: AV can impact big plays. Yards per catch impacts average reception. Targets and receptions impact volume. Touchdowns can impact ability to make a play in the endzone.

K/P: AV is not a factor. Average punt distance and field goal success rates are the important stats. Keep in mind, kickers will almost never be able to make a kick beyond their longest field goal. Coaches won't let them try unless absolutely necessary.

PR/KR: AV can impact big plays. Touchdown returns factor into odds of a TD. Average per attempt factors into average return. (If a returner had few attempts, they will be treated as a non-returner and perform rather poorly.)

O-Line: AV is the only stat here - it's used to help runners get yards (or lose yards) and in some cases to prevent (or allow) sacks. The average lineman in history had a 6 AV, so you ideally want as many players at or above that as possible.

Defense: Most leagues will draft defensive units, and in that case, the team's average yards allowed can impact the opponent's rushing and passing game. The team's sack rate, INT rate and fumble rate is also used. Points allowed per game can impact the opposing team's ability to score. (If a league is NOT using defensive units, then a best-guess is used based on the squad's players.) Individual QB Hits and tackles for loss are also factored in.

Manage your running game

Aim for your RBs to run as much per game as they did in real life. You can ensure your backup enters more often by adjusting the setting on your Strategy page. Also, you can make sure your starter comes out on third downs by setting a unique depth chart for your 3DRB (third down running back).

Manage your passing game

Try not to let your QB throw more than he did per game in real life. If you don't have a pass-heavy QB, aim to load up on workhorse runners.

Don't forget defense

Defense is half the team, after all! Having a good unit can help slow down the opponent and give you a better shot at winning.

Understand Fatigue

Coaches will automatically sub players in and out, keeping your team fresh, but you do have to worry about your QB and RB. For the QB, once he passes his normal attempts per game, he will incur a 15% penalty. If you find your QB regularly going over, you may want to run more. For your RB, the penalty is more severe. Once he passes his attempts per game, his effectiveness drops 50%. For this reason, you'll want to make sure you rotate your backup and utilize a 3DRB when necessary.

Study the winning managers

This is a key concept. Watch the managers who win a lot and who have been playing the game for a while - they've likely learned a few tricks, so copy some of their strategies.