1) Know the “market” in your league and who you are recruiting against. Each league is different. In some leagues, the majority of players might have the mindset that no player is worth taking up 20-30% of their time on in a week and they like to spread out their time. Other leagues, usually the hard core or established leagues will know the value of a player and WILL spend crazy amounts of times to land the better players. This is what’s known as a free market. In my opinion those second level players just will not help you win unless you’re dominant on the sticks. I am not. I need a great team to win. Therefore I am willing to do whatever it takes to get the difference makers. So know your league, and know the other players in it, and you’ll have a good idea of how much time per week it will take to get a player. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised and get a great player “on the cheap.” But this can be rare.
So going back to #3 above… If you are in an extreme league where everybody was for instance spending 3-4 hours per week on the very best players… There’s no reason to have more than 5-7 players on your board. Unless you want to settle for scraps (not recommended).
2) Maximize the efficiency of your calls. Ok so let’s take a look at the actual process of calling recruits throughout the season. It’s all about two things: The total “points” (which tally as you call) and then mix in the visit result which is random. Yeah you can guarantee yourself an A- to an A+ sometimes but that A+ might get him to sign with you or just get an interest boost, or anything in between. So assuming that the random aspect is going to work out evenly in the long run you’re looking to maximize points for your real edge against the opposing players.
If you “find” a pitch you get very little points but usually find the pitches pretty quick. But the annoying thing is, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you’ll waste a lot of time and get very little points soft pitching… sometimes even angering the recruit in the process. In most online dynasties that I know of everybody has B+ to A+ at all the team rating categories so there isn’t much purpose for the “find” pitch. I have done dynasties with 1-star and 2-star teams and it’s a totally different animal – that’s not what this article is about. Most everybody in my league hard pitches right off the bat. If it’s a low point total (less than 14) they just go to the next pitch. Go back to your notepad and write down the bad pitches on these players. Don’t try them again.
In the process of pitching a high, very high, or most pitch (sometimes even above average) you’ll get a +18 to start with. For this example let’s say its conference prestige. If you stop hitting conference prestige and hit something else and then go back that conference prestige pitch is now worth +16 per “click” of time. The next time it’s a +14. Think about this in the context of maximizing overall points not just the points in a given call. Through hard selling the various good and bad pitches one person might average 12 points per click of time and another person 14 per click. Who do you think is going to get him? What if through 5 weeks they both spent 50 clicks of time on him… That’s a difference of 100 points. My general strategy is I don’t hard pitch a new topic unless I have the time to get the maximum out of the +18’s. So generally: In week 1 for instance I’ll hard pitch something and if I get a +18 I don’t go for another pitch until at least 8-10 clicks or when he stops smiling. There’s really not much use to opening up a bunch of pitches, you’re trying to get points. And maximize the efficiency of getting those points. So if you have pitches that are already opened and it’s near the end of your call use the ones you’ve already got opened. Save the +18’s and +16’s for later and maximize those during a subsequent call. Obviously there are exceptions this is just a general idea.
One thought on swaying pitches. This is something that I’ve occasionally tried but I seem to have about a 20-33% success rate with it. Yes it’s worth a nice bunch of points and conceivably you could “find” average pitches, sway them to high, and then get +18. But frankly the battles in my league are typically too intense to screw around with this type of thing. You need to maximize points from the get-go in a competitive league. So for me swaying pitches is for a desperate situation where I want to boost my point total with the +40’s they give you.
3) Be prepared and wrapped up by the offseason. I’d have liked to be a fly on the wall when the development team was discussing this idea of a bunch of new recruits right at the end of the year that pop up out of the blue. For bad commercials and bad game ideas I just wonder when the moment was that the silly majority goes “yep let’s do that.” There’s got to be a couple people in the room sitting there just fuming. But again, this is what we have to work with. The reality is, usually the best player in the class is sitting there at the top of the board in the offseason. And there are usually quite a few good players to be had overall.
Knowing this, my strategy is to have the regular-season recruits wrapped up. I want the stragglers that haven’t already signed to have a full interest bar so all I have to do is schedule the visit and they sign in week 1 of the offseason, leaving me all my time and effort to focus on these new players. Sometimes the players that attempt to leave get in the way. Always keep in mind that week 1 of the offseason recruiting is likely the only way to nab one of these great players in an online dynasty. By week 2 everybody will have as much time as they want to spend on a great recruit. By leaving yourself say 8 hours specifically for the new recruits you’ll have a leg up.