This series of posts form a detailed guide to my Madden 17 CFM Scouting Tool, which can be downloaded from this location:
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Data Input
- Part 3: Scouting Tips
- Part 4: Blue Chip Criteria
- Part 5: Red Chip Criteria
- Part 6: Off-Season Planning
- Part 7: Draft Day
This post explains some of the techniques you can utilise to maximise “bang for your buck” with your scouting points. The tool will tell you who is and who isn’t worth scouting further very early in the scouting process, so you can save your points and spend them better elsewhere. Some positions are heavily dependent on combine stats to help judge whether or not they should be drafted, and should therefore be ignored until after the NFL combine to conserve points. Other positions are assessed more heavily on skills than physical attributes, and can be scouted during the season. However, most positions do rely at least partially on combine stats before the tool can know for sure whether a player is a blue chip, red chip, or scrub. So keep in mind you might not truly know how your draft is shaping up until as late as Week 2 of FA in the off-season (which is when the combine happens).
While it would be tempting to wait until after the combine before scouting, you lose half of your unused points after every week, so unless you spend them throughout the season, you’re going to be very limited in the number of players you can assess before the draft.
So without further ado, here are my tips to maximise the value you get from the Madden 17 CFM Scouting Tool.
Before You Begin…
Expert Scouting Package
But the most important thing of all and your number one priority at the start of a new CFM should be buying the Expert Scouting package for your Head Coach. This gives you additional points to spend each week, which is crucial for covering as many players as possible with the tool. The combination of expert scouting and this tool should allow you to cover all of the potential blue chip players in the draft class that are projected to be drafted, assuming you’re targeting players that fit your defensive scheme in the OLB, DE and DT positions, anyway.
Your Scout’s Speciality
If you can, you should make sure you have a scout with a specialty O-Line. You will be spending more points unlocking O-Linemen’s attributes than players at any other position during the season.
The alternative to an O-Line specialist scout is a WR or DB specialist, since you will likely have lots of Receivers and Corners you need to scout later in the process in a very condensed time-frame after the combine stats are revealed.
Scouting during the season (pre-Combine)
Order of Positions
These are the positions you should scout during the season. If you are stacked at a particular position, I would recommend skipping it entirely and coming back to it at the very end before the draft if you have scouting points to spare. You should also only target players that are a fit for your scheme, particularly 3-4 / 4-3 pass rushers and defensive linemen.
This is the order to scout in, in terms of positions if you have no preference/areas of particular need. But if you know you have a hole you need to fill in your team for next year, feel free to scout prospects at that position early in the process.
- Offensive Tackles
- Offensive Guards
- Free Safeties
- Strong Safeties
- Middle Linebackers
- Outside Linebackers
- Defensive Ends
- Tight Ends
- Defensive Tackles
Add any players the tool says to draft or scout further to your Watch List in Madden.
You’ll probably find you have a few weeks’ worth of points to spend towards the end of the season after you’ve covered off all the positions above, particularly if you’re targeting scheme fit players or ignoring position groups. In that situation, you should pick off players from the tight ends and defensive tackles to ensure you use all of your points, though ideally these position groups would be scouted post-Combine only.
Red Chips and Blue Chips
If you’ve been following the guide so far, you’ll know about the scouting status columns and the delineation between blue chip prospects, red chip prospects and scrubs (‘do not draft’ players). When scouting, you do not have enough points to cover every blue chipper and every red chipper across every round and position. My advice is therefore to focus on finding the blue chip prospects and come back and fully scout anyone the tool says to ‘scout further – potential red chip’ later in the season if you have points to spare. When it comes to finding remaining red chips, you will probably also want to target positions of need or rounds in which you know you won’t have any blue chippers to use your picks on.
Matching your scouting to your picks
During the season, it’s important for you to understand where in each round you are likely to be picking and scout players accordingly. If your team has the league’s best record, there’s not much point scouting Early 1st Rounders since it’s unlikely any of them will drop as far as the late 20s in the first round on draft day. My advice is actually to not scout any 1st rounders early in the season, instead waiting to see how your year pans out so you know approximately where you will be selecting depending on your team’s record.
Scouting in the off-season (post-Combine) – Part 1
After the NFL combine stats become available, you can scout further position groups, but before this you should check anyone on your Watch List that the tool told you to Scout Further. Plug in combine stats for everyone on your Watch List. Keep the ones who the tool says to Draft (or scout further if their unlockable skills weren’t fully revealed), and remove any the tool says not to draft from your Watch List.
Scouting in the off-season (post-Combine) – Part 2
After that, begin assessing the remaining position groups in this order:
- Wide Receivers
When you’re using the tool, make sure you input their combine stats BEFORE you spend any points revealing their top skills. There are usually so many prospects at some of these positions (especially WR and CB) that you need to narrow it down significantly or you will waste massive amounts of points finding out that your 7th round CB’s best skill is a C- in Press.
Again, focus on revealing skills for potential blue chippers in preference to red chippers.
Don’t bother scouting Kickers, Punters or Fullbacks. You can pick these up from Free Agency after the draft. No point wasting scouting points or picks on them, though the tool will advise you who is worth drafting if you insist on scouting them.
Scouting Undrafted Free Agents
If you have points left over, you can consider scouting projected UDFAs who you can select in the 7th round. However, beware: the number of UDFAs means that even if you find one worth selecting, there is no guarantee he will appear on the selection board come draft day.
The UDFAs ‘cycle’ in and out of your scouting board throughout the season (i.e. group 1 appears in week 1, group 2 in week 2, group 1 again in week 3 and so on and so forth), so keep that in mind when scouting players.
Keep An Eye On Draft Stories
Throughout the season, stories will be revealed for random prospects within your draft class. These stories offer an indication of a player’s dynamic dev trait once they are drafted, so they’re important to keep track of. New for version 4, you can now capture the draft stories in the tool and get a prediction of which dev trait your player will have.
When and Where Do Draft Stories Appear?
Draft stories can be viewed within the News section of Franchise, which is under the League heading in the main screen. You will probably need to use RT/R2 to filter your news stories by ones related to the Draft so that you can see the wood for the trees. Draft stories appear on the below dates:
- From weeks 2-14 during the regular season. Some weeks will have no stories, other weeks will have anything up to 4. It’s completely random.
- Week 15: Heisman trophy winner is announced.
- Superbowl Week: Stories from the College All Star game.
- Off-Season Week 2 (Free Agency Week 2): Stories from the NFL Scouting Combine.
- Off-Season Week 3 (Free Agency Week 3): Stories from college Pro Days.
A lot of people forget to check stories after the regular season, but the All Star game, Combine and Pro Days weeks provide some of the best scouting info available ready for draft day.
What Might Draft Stories Affect?
Draft stories may cause some impact to following variables for a prospect:
- Projected Round: The prospect may rise up or slip down draft boards depending on stories about him.
- Overall Rating: A minor affect, but certain stories cause a prospect to get in-game attributes at the top-end of the ranges for scouted skill grades and combine measurables, while others cause them to be at the bottom end of the range. The tool takes this into account via changes to TVR.
- Dev trait: Some draft stories will change a player’s default dev trait in either a positive or negative way. You can view this in the dev trait prediction columns, and the TVR will also give a bonus or penalty based on these effects.
Anecdotally, I’ve also seen some draft stories that have an impact on Confidence, and I’m pretty certain that injury-related stories cause a decrease to a player’s injury stat too (but unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to test this out yet).
Draft stories also sometimes affect:
- Scouted skill grades
- Combine stats
So make sure you go back and check you’ve still got the right skills input for players right before the draft if they’ve had a draft story since you originally added their data to the tool!
The tool will allow you to maximise the number of prospects you are able to cover, particularly if you follow the advice in this thread. This will ensure you always have good players available to pick at any point in the draft.