Building Your Team Roster: Part 1: The Basics

by Dean Chambers

In most cases when you join the league you don't have the best overall talent in the league, on your roster. But here's the dirty little secret many of the internet's most successful coaches know: you don't need it. Many times the team with the best overall talent doesn't even win the league championship. So instead you'll want to get the best talent, through trades or in college leagues recruiting and training your players, that fit your style of coaching.

The main point I stress here is get the players that work for you, and your coaching style. I've seen many cases where the "team loaded with monster players" comes open and a coach switches to it, expecting to suddenly win more games, than only finds he wins no more games because the so-called monster players don't match his coaching style.

Rather than looking at the overall numbers, go inside the numbers and figure out what works for you. If you rely on running the ball much more than passing, you need the big time players at RB, and need them with as much in key ratings as possible, such as SP/AC/AG/ST/EN and all 8 ratings if you can get it. And then you'll be needing FBs and/or TEs that are good blockers. And a great OL too. If you pass a lot you'll need very good receivers and a great QB. And probably still have good enough RBs, but maybe not as good if you chose to be a more running oriented team.

I always stress the importance of EN at all positions except your kickers. Yes, even at QB, EN is important. The low EN QB has less arm strength later in the game. And less AG, less HA, etc. Your star QB with 50 EN becomes a scrub QB in actual playing ratings later in the game. Ever notice how that low EN QB seems to blow the 4th quarter drive that would have won you the game? Exactly, remember the importance of EN on your QB on draft day.

And next you find quality vs. quantity is always a concern. And EN is key here too. I've found a player with 85 plus EN plays nearly the entire game and hardly ever gets injured. So he and 1-2 others like him only need maybe one perhaps 2 quality backups. But an OL full of 65 EN players that are otherwise solid will need about 3-5 quality backups. It's your choice, sometimes depends on what you can get when drafting and trading. If you have four very strong FBs with 60 EN and you substitute them quite often, they can be as good as having 2 very solid FBs with 80 EN that cover you for the whole game. But in my experience I've found there's nothing that replaces having at least one RB and one or two WRs with high overall ratings and solid EN, and similar kind of talent to lead on your defense as well. While having a couple superstar players on your team is no guarantee of winning, it sure helps.

Once you work out and develop your coaching style and determine what kind of players will make your system work, actively pursue those players. Draft for them on draft day and always be willing and able to trade for them. Many other coaches value different ratings then you do, so in many cases you can trade with someone else in such a way that it literally improves both your teams. I did this in once case where I trade a TE with 85 ST and high EN for a TE with 92 SP and 88 EN, because I wanted a TE to catch the ball, the other team wanted a great blocking TE. We both improved, and got players that fit our systems. Trading doesn't have to be one coach taking the other coach for a ride. Even mutually beneficial trades are possible. Seek a trade with the coach who runs the opposite kind of coaching style than you do. That slow but strong safety that you have little use for might be worth trading for the fast but weak safety the other coach has no use for.

As you improve your roster over time, and get the kinds of players that fit your system, you'll find yourself winning more games, and having more fun. After all that is what we all strive to accomplish in our various leagues.