The Best Players At Every Position That Will Lead Your ‘Madden 18’ Franchise To The Super Bowl

Madden 18 is here, and after you work through Madden Ultimate Team and the surprisingly great Longshot mode, your Franchise awaits. But there are few things worse than being years-deep in your Madden franchise as a perennial 4-12 team with your expensive, core players another year older. Winning is everything; no one wants to be the New York Jets of their own digital NFL fantasy. That’s just some weird, masochistic stuff right there and you deserve better.

So we’ve worked through nearly a dozen drafts then simulated six years into the future to find out the consistently great players that you need to get on your squad. The formula is simple: We know doing well gets you XP. It also gets your franchise cash to re-sign those players that are improving. We also know that there are many ways to draft the fantasy franchise of your dreams (or fantasies). What if you have a top pick or a mid-round pick or, god forbid, a late pick? Through these many simulations, I’ve distilled the mountain of information Madden has given me down to these methods of drafting:

  • The “Good O-Line, Crappy QB” method
  • The “Take Whoever Is The Best Available” method
  • The “Go Young Or Go Home” method
  • Draft Elite CBs To Start Or Die A Death Of A Thousand Papercuts” method

Each one of these drafting methods will provide a contender within five years, but the Good O-Line, Crappy QB method proved to be the best. Past round 8-10, the formula is pretty much: Overall + Age + System Fit = Draft ’em. Build for a system once you’re out of the first 8 rounds or more. Before that, build the best starting lineups you can. You’re not going to get everyone on this list, the young players go fast, but a strong core of players will elevate you to greatness.



You’re going to see some obvious players here, and young QBs go early, but Mitch Trubiskey and Deshone Kizer both had multiple seasons in which they became elite, and Kizer had four simulations in which he ended up as a 99 (!!!) overall. This is a thin position, and if your strategy is to tank early, don’t take any of these guys. You can win right away with Mariota and Carr, but you must, must, must pair them with an elite O-line and at least one great WR or two medium-quality WRs and one great pass-catching TE.

  • Dak Prescott
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Mitch Trubisky
  • Derek Carr
  • Dashone Kizer

Running Back

Wait on running back, then wait some more. Yes, you could absolutely assemble an elite offensive line and then be a run-heavy team, but, you don’t need a young, amazing running back to run that system. You can draft an HB, develop one behind your great offensive line, and more. Just make sure you get at least two decent running backs and have them share the load by putting a decent blocking/pass catching back in as your 3DRB.

  • Todd Gurley
  • Duke Johnson
  • Dalvin Cook
  • Leonard Fournette (He ended up at 99 OVR multiple times)
  • David Johnson (But he gets injured often)
  • Jordan Howard
  • Melvin Gordon
  • Christian McCaffery
  • LeVeon Bell
  • Zeke Elliott

Wide Receiver

You must, must, must get at least one 85+ WR on your team to help your young QB grow. If you wait, you can go with multiple 80-ish WRs, but it’s best to have at least one receiver that’s close to elite to keep defenses honest and your team’s XP flowing. Some of these guys (the obvious ones like Cooper and Green) will go in the first 2-3 rounds, but the Diggs’, Colemans and Merediths of the world should make it to roughly round 6-8. Get at least one of the below.

  • DeVante Parker
  • Davante Adams
  • AJ Green
  • Amari Cooper
  • Chris Godwin
  • Stefon Diggs
  • Mike Williams (Chargers)
  • Corey Davis
  • Brandin Cooks
  • Tyreek Hill
  • Cameron Meredith
  • Jarvis Landry
  • Corey Coleman
  • Michael Thomas
  • Devin Funchess

Tight End

If you can’t get an elite WR, building out a modern NFL team with a great pass-catching TE will serve your young QB well. Everyone deserves a safety net, so draft one of these guys to develop your offense.

  • Tyler Eifert (He lasts a long time in drafts and will get injured, but he’s a solid player to wait on)
  • Eric Ebron (If only for his high run blocking rating)
  • Jimmy Graham (He doesn’t drop below 86 OVR even 15 years into his career)
  • Hunter Henry
  • OJ Howard (By far the best young TE to get. He never dropped below 95 OVR in any of our many simulations.)
  • David Njoku
  • Travis Kelce
  • Austin Hooper

Offensive Line

O-line is the third-deepest general position in Madden 18. You’ll see some seriously high-quality players that you can get well past round ten, but keep in mind a lot of them are getting up there in years. If you use the good O-line, crappy QB method, you need at least two of these players to anchor your line and protect your young QB that you’ll end up drafting a year or two into your franchise.

Keep in mind, many of these players can be shifted along the line, so don’t fear drafting multiple right guards. Draft any of these guys with confidence. Oh, and check out this offensive line glitch.

  • Mitch Morse
  • Ali Marpet
  • Pat Elflein
  • Cody Whitehair
  • Travis Frederick
  • Ryan Kelly
  • Zack Martin
  • Brandon Scherff
  • Ali Marpet
  • Jack Conklin
  • Ryan Ramczyk
  • Taylor Lewan
  • Taylor Decker
  • David Bakhtiari
  • Cam Robinson
  • Ronnie Stanley
  • Forrest Lamp
  • Andrew Norwell
  • Shaq Mason


Defensive Ends are the second-most deep position when building a franchise, but it’s worth getting at least one elite edge rusher to disrupt the opposing QB. The following players will do you well for many years to come. The urgency surrounding filling out your DT position depends on your scheme (3-4 or 4-3).

Defensive Ends

  • Leonard Williams
  • DeForest Buckner
  • Joey Bosa (Consistently ended up between 95-99 in every simulation, but will be gone by round 3)
  • Jordan Willis
  • Frank Clark
  • Taco Charlton
  • Jadaveon Clowney
  • Solomon Thomas
  • Danielle Hunter
  • Kenny Clark
  • J.J. Watt (He gets hurt often in Madden 18)
  • Chris Jones
  • Myles Garett
  • Danielle Hunter

Defensive Tackles

  • Malik McDowell
  • Aaron Donald
  • Eddie Goldman
  • Danny Shelton
  • Fletcher Cox


The most shallow, but also the most important position by my estimation in Madden 18 is the cornerback. You must get one of these players in the first five rounds of your draft or you’re going to be stuck drafting nothing but CBs for years to come.

  • Marshon Lattimore
  • Chris Harris
  • Marcus Peters
  • Eli Apple
  • Tre’Davious White
  • Jalen Collins
  • Malcolm Butler
  • Darius Slay
  • Chidobe Awuzie
  • Marlon Humphrey


  • Keanu Neal
  • Jamal Adams
  • Karl Joseph
  • Landon Collins
  • Harrison Smith


Try to solidify your D with at least one quality MLB that is surrounded by young outside linebackers. The better your linebackers perform, the more their stats will rise in later years.

  • Luke Kuechly
  • Khalil Mack
  • Jaylon Smith
  • Kwon Alexander
  • CJ Mosley
  • Myles Jack
  • Vic Beasly
  • Shaq Thompson
  • Raekwon McMillan
  • Solomon Thomas