New football season, new Madden, new arguments about the horrendously unjust rating of your favourite team’s star player, and how biased EA is for boosting the stats of a dastardly rival’s free safety. Such debates have become as entrenched in series tradition as quarterbacks dropping back 20 yards to sling Hail Marys, and a fresh campaign would be mind-numbingly boring without them.
Still, at least you don’t have to fork out 55 bucks/dollars/Euros in order to participate in the debate, because GR has done the groundwork for you. Below you’ll find Madden 19’s top five players at every position, from the league’s Rodgerses and Wilsons to its Linders and Colquitts. Note that live rosters mean these stats may change as the season progresses, but all are correct as of Tuesday 6 August 2018. Let the furious arguments commence. Just please, please remember not to hit-stick the messenger…
1=. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), 99
1=. Tom Brady (New England), 99
3. Russell Wilson (Seattle), 92
4. Drew Brees (New Orleans), 91
5. Matt Ryan (Atlanta), 89
How to separate the surefire Hall of Famer wearing five Super Bowl rings from the elite QB who filled Brett Favre’s shoes with barely a blink? By, uh, not separating them at all. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are two of just seven players who score the maximum Madden 19 rating of 99, with Russell Wilson and Drew Brees also sneaking into 90+ territory. Just missing out on the top five: Ben Roethlisberger (88), Cam Newton (88), Philip Rivers (87) and Andrew Luck (87).
Half Back (HB)
1. Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh), 96
2. David Johnson (Arizona), 93
3=. Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas), 92
3=. Todd Gurley (LA Rams), 92
5. Devonta Freeman (Atlanta), 91
There were rumours that the Steelers’ workhorse might sit out the entire season after being franchised for the second year running, and you wonder whether EA might have been tempted to drop his ratings had that been the case. But it’s stuck to its guns following the news that Le’Veon Bell is likely to play in week one, meaning Cardinals’ rusher Johnson has to be content with a runners-up spot following a 2017 campaign cut short by wrist surgery.
Full Back (FB)
1. Kyle Juszczyk (San Francisco), 84
2. Patrick Ricard (Baltimore), 78
3. James Develin (New England), 76
4. Anthony Sherman (Kansas City), 75
5. John Kuhn (free agent), 74
The traditional full-back role has become close to redundant in the modern-day NFL: as a result, the fifth-rating player at the position, former Packers bruiser John Kuhn, is still without a club going into the 2018 season. That said, you’re well set in this area if starting a franchise as the Niners, Ravers, Pats or Chiefs.
Wide Receiver (WR)
1. Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh), 99
2. Julio Jones (Atlanta), 98
3. Odell Beckham Jr (New York Giants), 95
4. DeAndre Hopkins (Houston), 94
5. AJ Green (Cincinnati), 93
GamesRadar isn’t often wrong, but it turns out our tip for the Madden 19 cover – Jay Ajayi – was a little off-target. Instead it’s the man we ranked as seventh most likely (oops!) who graces the packaging this year, and once that news hit the wild there was never any chance of Antonio Brown scoring less than a 99 overall. He follows in the footsteps of Odell Beckham Jr, who graced the box of Madden NFL 16.
Tight End (TE)
1. Rob Gronkowski (New England), 99
2. Travis Kelce (Kansas City), 95
3. Jordan Reed (Washington), 94
4. Delanie Walker (Tennessee), 93
5. Greg Olsen (Carolina), 92
Following all the will-he-won’t-he dramas of Rob Gronkowski’s potential retirement, the five-time Pro Bowler is back for (at least) one more year – and is rewarded with the maximum available rating by EA’s braintrust. Behind him sit a quartet of fantasy-football favourites boasting plenty of red zone threat, making tight end one of the most stacked positions in franchise mode – and Ultimate Team – this year.
1. David Bakhtiari (Green Bay), 97
2. Tyron Smith (Dallas), 95
3. Trent Williams (Washington), 94
4=. Jason Peters (Philadelphia), 91
4=. Lane Johnson (Philadelphia), 91
Take note of those two Eagles names in joint fourth on the above list: as you’re soon to discover, the entirety of the Super Bowl champs’ offensive line makes it into the top five at their respective positions. Lane Johnson is the only right tackle afforded a spot here, which won’t be a surprise if you’ve ever read/watched/inhaled The Blind Side.
1. Zack Martin (Dallas), 96
2. David DeCastro (Pittsburgh), 95
3. Brandon Brooks (Philadelphia), 93
4. Marshal Yanda (Baltimore), 92
5. Andrew Norwell (Philadelphia), 91
EA clearly favours right-siders when coming inside from offensive tackle; Andrew Norwell, another Super Bowl winner, is the only left guard to grace this particular fab five. 2014 first rounder Zack Martin has made the Pro Bowl in each of his four NFL seasons, and became the NFL’s highest-paid guard in June upon signing a six-year, $84-million extension in Dallas.
1. Travis Frederick (Dallas), 96
2. Rodney Hudson (Oakland), 95
3. Jason Kelce (Philadelphia), 92
4. Alex Mack (Atlanta), 90
5. Brandon Linder (Jacksonville), 89
Jason Kelce rounds out the complete set of Eagles offensive linemen who make their respective top fives, but you’ll note that divisional rivals Dallas come out well too – center Tarvis Frederik joins tackle Tyron Smith and guard Zack Martin in the 90+ club. Brandon Linder is far from a household name, but has become a solid stalwart of the Jags’ offense since being drafted in 2014.