By Mickey Martino

*Writers note: This article is written primarily from my perspective as a WR, as animations and attributes are valued differently for every position, there may be a notable difference in how severe taking an animation over attributes will affect your build. However, it should remain constant that choosing to upgrade your attributes over taking a high animation and to a lesser extent a low animation is the smarter move for your rookie contract.

When I joined the SFL, I was enthralled with the idea of animations. I can honestly say I put more thought into the animation I took when I got drafted than my overall build. However, if I got the choice to go back and redo my initial build as a rookie I would probably completely change how I built my player. I wouldn’t take a single animation for my rookie contract and I am writing this as a potential guide for rookies who are unsure what build they may want. For now, and in the future.  

Before I go into my math and why I believe taking an animation with your rookie contract is a misstep, I want to explain that this is most definitely a long term move and most players won’t get the opportunity to utilize what I’m going to lay out. Some players may have to take major cuts and some of the moves they made will effectively be for nothing. Regardless, I think it is worth looking at.

I’m going to use my own build here as an example and go over what I missed out due to my slight obsession with making sure I had an animation.  I got drafted at an 85.17 overall, this put me at Silver and at one of the highest signed players in the draft. I ended up settling on this build.

I could have ended up with a much more balanced and well rounded player if I resisted taking breakaway burst.  Over the course of my actual season through progression, I gained another animation (Route God), a +3 to primary which became +1 to run route and +2 to catch and a +5 to consistency.  If I went with a pure attribute build with my draft contract, I could have ended my rookie season with an even higher overall. Let’s look at what my build could have been if I neglected Breakaway Burst and pumped up the attributes.

Look at how much of a difference it made. I got +10 to agility, +5 to run route, +10 to jump, +10 to catch and a +13 to consistency. While this likely isn’t the most optimal build, it would have been a build I should have been ecstatic to have. Simply by abandoning Breakaway Burst, I gained a total of 25 primary attribute points and 23 secondary. 48 total points from simply dropping an animation.

Let’s move forward and look at how I can exceed my current build. The only thing I currently have that my hypothetical player doesn’t have is 2 animations that I can regain over the course of the season. Since I’m still a silver player, I can regain Breakaway Burst after Week 5 which will put me at a 90.66 overall. We’re not even halfway through the season and I’m already gold and only 1 point of value behind my current real overall. SInce I’m gold, I’ll need to take 6 weeks to get Route God again; this is unfortunate since I’ll have an extra week of progression that will be wasted but that’s fine. By the end of the season I will be 96.15. This is nearly 5 points higher than my end of season build.

Even if I chose to go to to a team and keep my full build, I would not be able to gain those 48 points for multiple seasons. Gaining 25 primary attribute points would require 4 seasons and 3 weeks into the fifth season of nothing but progressing every 4 weeks at a +2 to primary points I missed out on and an additional season and a half to gain all the secondary, which totals to about 5 and a half seasons of playing nothing but catch up. To put into real world terms, this would take nearly 3 years to make up for my mistake.

As you can see, the time it takes to gain an animation from progression is absurdly quick compared to how long it takes to gain a similar values’ worth of attributes. Going back to my base 85.17 as a silver, waiting 4 weeks to progress and upgrading my primary attributes would only lead to a .57 increase to value. Waiting an additional week however and taking any high animation works out at a 5.49 value increase.

So for all the rookies out there, don’t make the same mistake I did and get tempted by an animation. You can get that animation and end up a much better player with a bit of patience. And while it is likely you will have to make cuts to your build to accommodate teams salary caps in future seasons, it is much easier to trim around small .19 value losses per attribute point as opposed to a massive 5.49 loss for having to lose a animation.