Rule 5 draft can be a good way to pick up a player or more for your ML team. A Rule 5 eligible player is denoted on your team with a red diamond with a 5 in it. For a player to be Rule 5 eligible, he must have 4 years of pro experience, is not under contract for more than 1 season currently and not on the 40-man roster.
If you have players that you wish to keep and not expose them to the Rule 5 draft, you must put them on the 40-man roster. Catch 22, if you fill your 40-man roster, you cannot draft a Rule 5 eligible player. All roster moves are frozen on the AM cycle of the Rule 5 draft day and no roster actions are allowed that day. It costs $50K to draft a player and the money goes to the losing club.
The player pool will be generated and you will have until the PM 2 cycle 1 update to set the Rule 5 Draft settings and rank players. The draft will occur at the PM 2 cycle 2 update. At the PM 2 cycle 2 update the roster will be unfrozen and players can be assigned for the upcoming preseason game.
If you draft a Rule 5 player, he must remain on the ML roster for the season. Anything other than a trade of the player, he must clear waivers and offered back to the original club first before any other action can be taken. If a Rule 5 eligible player is picked up off waivers, he must be put on the ML roster also.
The draft settings page can be a bit awkward for first time users. There are more than 500 players in the draft for starters. You will only be able to see 500 at any given time. The function of WEIGHT allows you to see more players of this type and brings them forward in the rankings. A WEIGHT of 0 means you do not wish to see that player type in the rankings or they will be relegated to the bottom of the list depending. Making them all a 10 would be the same as making them all a 5 btw. The TARGET count is the number of players of that type you wish to draft. If you wish to draft the best available player form your board, use the ANY box for target count. BIG NOTE here: if the total target count equals 0 then you will not draft a player. The Player Rank Cutoff allows you to stop drafting players beyond that point on your board. Simply put, if you set it to 10, then no player past the tenth player on your board will be drafted. Max Salary is just what is says, no player will be selected that has a salary above that range. Another BIG NOTE: if you rank your players, then change the draft settings, then you may need to rank the players again as it resets the player pool. It will not draft more players than the open 40-man slots either.
What most GM's do is set the weights to 5 and the target count ANY to the number of players they wish to draft, set the Max Salary to 327K and Rank Cutoff to 10. Next they look at the player pool and rank the top 10 to 15 players they wish to draft. If one of the settings need to be changed after the initial rankings (most generally Cutoff), then they change the settings page then re-rank the players. To tell the truth, I normally only find about 5 or 6 players really worth drafting but on occasion have found up to 10.
Rules to draft by:
1. The player you draft should be better than the one already on the roster if you have no open roster slots.
2. The player you draft should be better than the AAA player that could take the open roster spot.