Depth Chart

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[edit] Offensive Depth Chart Guide

[edit] Quarterback

The only thing to keep in mind here is the dropoff from your #1 to your #2. In some cases where the level difference is 5 or 6, or even more, it's best to just not put your backup QB on the depth chart so he doesn't play. Other than that, it's pretty straight forward. If you have a rushng QB and regular QB, put them both on the regular depth chart and Qb1/QB2 and set the QB depth chart energy to 1/1, so they can both set tactics.

[edit] Halfback

You want bread and butter from your #1 back but remember right now it's key to have similar types of backs that both fit your gameplan. Having an elusive and power back can cause problems at the lower levels when the power is slow and the elusive has no strength. You only really need 2 RB's even if one is a return man, you may need 3 if you have a return man and an 80% running offense.

[edit] Fullback

You don't need a backup fullback because on 3 wr sets he comes out of the game and with half decent stamina he can play all his 50 or 60 plays easily at a high level. It may be worthwhile to use a backup TE here so he gets some plays as well because the TE is in a similar situation.

[edit] WR

This is the tricky spot on offense. If you have 3 very good receivers then the slot one (#3 on DC) will get the best stats typically. This is not a reflection of your receivers but more of a reflection of matchups. In this case you might want to rotate them all through the various top 3 or 4 positions assuming they are equal or close to it.

If your WR's are not equal and you have say 1 superstar then don't just put him in the slot. It may work in some games but if another team sees it and moves their best CB to #3 then you will really be in a big hole. Keep this guy at the #1 spot and hope you can feed him the ball a lot while you look for other receivers. If you have a "bad" slot guy getting better stats and complaining about playing time put him in the starting lineup and he will not perform well at all, you can then move him back to the slot based on "bad" performance.

WR 1/2/3/4/5 This is only useful if you want to lock a particular player into that spot on the field. If you only place 1 player at the WR3 spot that means everytime a slot play is called he will play in the slot, you can still use him as a regular sub for the 1 and 2 receiver sets but anytime there is a #3 receiver he will take that spot.

I don't think it is wise to use these as your main means of setting things up, the regular DC accomplishes the same thing just a lot simpler to use. This is only really useful if you wish to lock a particular player into one receiver spot.

[edit] TE

Having a backup tight end is reasonably important and if he's a good blocker you can play him at backup FB. If he's a good receiver use him as your 5th or 6th WR.

[edit] LOT

Your best pass blocker should play here because he'll go up against the faster DE's. It's also worth noting that putting your OT with the lower strength on this side is fine because he won't need it as much against the pass rushers high on agility and speed

[edit] LG

You can put your weaker guard at this position and use him against the better pass rushing defensive tackle. Normally the defensive tackle will have good strength but not as much as the nose so it's a good place to hide a guard. Alternatively you can put your better guard here and use him to demoralize the defensive tackle opening up lanes for your rushing attack later on in games.

[edit] C

Usually responsible for double teams the center is rarely left to do his own thing. Having some speed at center can help as well because if he gets a pancake on the nose tackle he can get downfield to take out a linebacker as well. He does play on the punt team so again his speed will come in handy to get downfield and hit the return man.

[edit] RG

This guy is responsible for playing against nose tackles. He often gets help from the center so you can hide your weaker guard here however having a pancake specialist here can demoralize the nose tackle which in turn will hurt the defenses ability to stop the run.

[edit] ROT

Put your best offensive tackle run blocker here. He'll face stronger DE's than the LOT and won't need to pass protect quite as well as the LOT. This is also a spot you can hide a bad offensive tackle because the TE will help him in the rushing attack.

[edit] Defensive Depth Chart Guide

[edit] RDE

This is where you put your pass rush specialist. He gets one on ones most of the game and rarely has to play the run.

[edit] Nose Tackle

Put your strongest defensive tackle here. This guy gets double teamed a lot and if he can keep himself upright will really help wear out the offensive line and stuff the running game. If you are always playing better offensive lines than your d-line put your weak defensive tackle here and sacrifice him to pancakes in this spot allowing your other defensive tackle one on one chances.

[edit] Defensive Tackle

The nose tackle post covered a lot of this situation but you want your better pass rusher here. You don't need to put a super strong guy here if he has no other skills as well.

[edit] LDE

You want a run stuffer here as most teams rush to this side right now it's really important that he's strong enough to not get pancaked. If this guy gets pancaked then the OT can move downfield and knock a linebacker out of the play which will open up huge holes in your defense.

[edit] ROLB

This guy should be your fastest linebacker. He needs to move the most to make plays as runs goto the opposite side of the field from his starting postion. He also plays in dime packages (the 3-2-6 Dime) and sometimes gets called on to cover a WR, TE or HB.

[edit] MLB

Not the traditional football middle linebacker. There are two schools of thought here. Jed has a walking aura for a MLB and Tim Harper has a fast MLB with great base stats and no specials. This linebacker will only get a lot of tackles against power running backs but most teams have elusives and most teams run to the outside so you don't need your best linebacker here which is the traditional thought.

[edit] RILB, LILB

I don't personally play the 3-4 so will keep this limited here. The general ability is triggered randomly between the two so it is still good practice to have two generals here if at all possible. I'd also have one that is better at blitzing than the other but don't be afraid to send both on blitz plays with more favour to the blitz specialist.

[edit] LOLB

Your best linebacker should play here. This guy IS your teams leading tackler and run stuffer. He also has to cover the tight end in most passing situations. The problem with playing your best linebacker at LOLB is that against passing teams he won't play as much because he subs out for nickel and dime packages. The solution to this is simple, either play him on specials teams or play him as the primary backup for MLB and ROLB so he's on the field as much as possible.

[edit] CB

Similar to the wide receiver situation the nickel will usually get thrown at more and get "better" stats. If you have 3 good corners rotate them through the starting lineup. If you only have 1 or 2 good ones then leave them as the starters and if the #3 guy playing nickel says he should start based on his stats give him a start against a team you know you can beat. You'll then show him that he's getting stats based on the DC position and I'm sure he'll be happy to move back to #3.

Don't be tempted to put your best corners anywhere but starting based on their stats it's not worth it, stats for a corner really don't mean anything other than they got thrown at a lot in 90% of the cases.

CB 1/2/3/4/5 This is only useful if you want to lock a particular player into that spot on the field. If you only place 1 player at the CB3 spot that means everytime a nickel or dime package is called he will play in the nickel spot (#3), you can still use him as a regular sub for the 1 and 2 corners but anytime there is a nickel or dime call he will take the nickel spot.

I don't think it is wise to use these as your main means of setting things up, the regular DC accomplishes the same thing just a lot simpler to use. This is only really useful if you wish to lock a particular player into one defensive back spot.

If you know a team has a particularly dangerous slot receiver this is a reasonable place to cover him, just be careful of if they move him around a lot. If you see he is the only player in the #3 receiver spot on their DC then you can use your DC to set a fast or agile (whatever type the receiver is) on him for all plays he is in on.

[edit] FS

Fairly straight forward but keep this guy off special teams he needs to not be tired so you don't get burned deep. He won't get many tackles or picks on a good team but don't worry he's still doing his job well in most cases. On a bad team he'll probably be second or third in tackles.

[edit] SS

Same thing as the FS position except you can expect more tackles out of this spot. If you have a great run stuffing FS don't hesitate to put him at the SS spot and put your pass defending SS at FS the loss of skill for a positional change isn't a big deal at all. This guy needs to be good against the run because a missed tackle will usually end up in 6 points for the offense.

[edit] Using WR/CB 1-5 Depth Charts

Originally posted by Bort

The WR and CB slot will function just like it used to, as long as you don't fill in WR1, WR2, etc. If you have an unfilled WR1, WR2, CB1, CB2, etc slot, it will take from the WR/CB slot. If you fill in WR1, WR2, WR3, WR4, and WR5, guys in the WR slot will never see the field.

What that fails to mention is that you need more than 1 player at each position. If you only have one WR1 they will be in every play that has a WR, resulting in a very tired WR.

If you don't understand it then it's probably best to just use the normal WR/CB depth charts.

[edit] Custom Slots

Custom Slots are new in season 6. They allow you to choose exactly who is on the field for certain plays in your offensive AI.

To use them first you have to put players in the slots on the depth chart. You don't have to use all of them, you could just use RB1 and leave RB2 empty, for example. You can still use the normal HB, FB, and TE depth charts, too.

Next you need to select which custom slot to use in the offensive AI outputs, as seen in the screenshot. There are three choices, the normal depth chart for that position, custom slot 1 and custom slot 2.

Examples of why you'd want to use the custom slots.

  • If you have a power HB and a speed HB maybe you'd want to use the power HB on inside runs and the speed HB on outside runs. So put the power HB at RB1 and speed HB at RB2. Then in the AI output for inside runs select RB1, and for outside runs select RB2.
  • If you have a receiving TE and a blocking TE you might want to make sure to have the receiving TE in on pass plays and the blocking TE on run plays. Use TE1 and TE2 to do that.
Custom Slots on the depth chart
Custom Slot options in the offensive AI

[edit] Out of Position Penalty

Only Bort knows the exact penalty for out of position players.

  • For some positions it's a small hit, like any of the Offensive Line (C, G, OT), and any of the Defensive Backs (CB/SS/FS).
  • Other positions are switched fairly often with success, like TE/WR, HB/FB, DE/LB.

[edit] Related Links

Personnel/Tactics FAQ

Defensive Depth Chart Guide

[edit] External Links

The ultimate guide to offense and defensive depth charts by flames54

Fix for CB's/WR's not getting good rotation by Tim Harper

Owners guide: Optimal number of players at each position

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