Madden 18 is just a few weeks away and with fantasy football drafts starting, it’s that special time of year when we talk about football players and just how good they really are. It’s like Christmas in August, but the only present you get is highly-specific arguments that are, for the most part, hypothetical. It’s great! So let’s dive into the best players at tight end, wide receiver and running back.
You can see the best QBs and rookies in Madden 18 here.
Top 5 Running Backs
1. Le’Veon Bell
Bell is almost perfect. He has 98 Juke rating and 97 Ball Carrier Vision — the second best in the game (beaten only by Antonio Brown), and his entire stat line comes together to create a perfect offensive creation. His only knock — an 87 Truck rating, which makes him only decent at the goal line and when he needs to blast a defensive player. Other than that, run, throw, do whatever you want — Bell will be the best at it.
2. David Johnson
In my personal opinion, DJ is the best RB in the league. In 2016, he put the Cardinals offense on his back through the air and on the ground, now Bruce Arians is saying that he’ll get 2,000 all-purpose yards, LT-style. That’s real life. In Madden, you can absolutely get Johnson 2,000 all-purpose yards. His Catch rating of 76 ties Theo Riddick for the best among RBs.
3. LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy has seen a ton of action over the years, but dude still has the goods. He has a 93 Elusiveness rating and 96 Juke, so good luck stopping him in the open field.
4. DeMarco Murray
Murray had a resurgence in Tennessee after his terrible hangover in Philly, getting back to his Dallas form in the Titans’ funky offense. Murray can get it done on the ground and through the air, with only Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen and Charles Sims ranking as better all-round RB pass catchers.
5. Ezekiel Elliott
Zeke lived up to all expectations behind the brilliant Dallas O-line in 2016, now he’s only going to get better. In real life, Dallas wants to get him the ball through the air more this season, but in Madden, he has a 71 Catch rating and all other ball-catching stats are in the 60s. It’ll be best to run him and run him hard.
Top 5 Tight Ends
1. Rob Gronkowski
It’s Gronk. When he’s on the field he makes even the most passive person want to snort and tear their shirt off. In Madden, he’s nearly unstoppable with a 95 Catch rating, 94 Spectacular Catch rating, and a 96 Catch in Traffic rating. The only issue — in Madden 17‘s Franchise mode he was constantly hurt. In the real life NFL franchise mode, he gets beat up to0, but yeah, he’s the best.
2. Travis Kelce
Kelce finally stepped up and became the elite TE we all thought he could be in 2016, even with Jeremy Maclin injured. Kelce is the TE that uses the most finesse out of all the top TEs with a position-high 76 juke, but he can also chew up yards if you focus on him as your primary receiver. He won’t muscle away balls like Gronk or even (non-top five) Jordan Reed, but he’s a stud and he’s only 27 years old. Perfect as a franchise player.
3. Jimmy Graham
Graham may have the same speed as the rest of the elite TEs, but he has a high 96 Spectacular Catch and 84 in Route Running. He’s Jimmy Graham. Feed him and be happy.
4. Delanie Walker
Walker’s placement on this list has to be due to his best in class blocking. Jordan Reed or Tyler Eifert might be sexier, but Walker is a team player that will make a clutch catch on your non-TE dependent team.
5. Greg Olsen
He’s Mr. Reliable for Cam Newton, and is still one of the best TEs in the game. At 32 years of age, he’s getting up there in years, but he has a 97 Catch rating, best among TEs, and he’s the best route runner at 94. He won’t be great for a budding Franchise draft, but he’s definitely someone you want if you’re in win-now mode and want a stud. He also never gets injured. Ever. Unlike Gronk.
Top 5 Wide Receivers
1. Julio Jones
Was there ever any doubt he’d be the top rated receiver this year? I’ll just leave this here…
2. Antonio Brown
Option 1a. in overall wide receiver rankings is Antonio Brown. No one has been better than him cumulatively over the last half-decade. According to EA, Brown’s Elusiveness score and Ball Carrier Vision (98) are the highest among WRs and he can do massive damage on special teams, unlike Jones.
3. A.J. Green
If it weren’t for a few injuries bogging him down, Green could be the best wide receiver in the game. As it stands, he’s just slightly worse than Jones and Brown in every category, but if you want a big, physical receiver, Green is elite. He’s just not Antonio or Julio.
4. Odell Beckham Jr.
As fast and shifty as Brown or Jones, but with a Spectacular catch rating of 99. If you want to throw a deep bomb that will get caught with one hand while twisting in the air, take OBJ. But, his strength and loyalty to his one true love, the kicker’s net, is questionable.
5. Dez Bryant
The red zone machine rounds out the top five in possibly the deepest position in the game. Bryant is made to catch it in the end zone. He has a 98 Jump rating — the highest in the game — and he has a 97 Spectacular Catch and 97 Catch In Traffic rating. Seems accurate.
Let’s look at one of the best CATCHES in recent years as a reminder.
Honorable Mentions: DeAndre Hopkins is a 91 overall despite his horrendous play last year (blame the QBs). Jordy Nelson is a 91, Larry Fitzgerald is a 90, and Mike Evans is a 90.