Lamar Jackson and How EA Continues To Screw Up Franchise Mode

EA recently released a list of the top rookie quarterbacks in their annual hype train countdown to the release of Madden.  This year, they slipped up and unintentionally commented on their simulation formula for Franchise Mode.

‘Lamar Jackson could be the most interesting QB to play as in Madden 19. If you sim a lot of games in Franchise, he’s likely not the best pick at the moment. But holy hell, his base ratings make him fun…’ for more, go to the page here.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp

The issue with this isn’t that Lamar Jackson shouldn’t be rated higher or lower than anyone else.  It is simply the fact that they reference his effectiveness in Franchise Mode to his ratings.  What should continue to worry CFM players is this continuing problem with CFM being tied to overall ratings.  This would be like saying that Michael Vick would be fun to play with but he wouldn’t do much for a team in a simulation.  I’m not saying that Lamar Jackson is Michael Vick, but he is damn close.

This means that EA has not changed their formula of what is important in CFM.  It is still driven by OVR.  This means you won’t have any players that are low rated to start become anything close to superstars.  It also means that the CPU is actually at a competitive disadvantage.  As users, we are able to see certain players with abilities that we can take advantage of – speed, trucking, throw accuracy, hit power, etc.  We can turn a 6th round 67 OVR player into an absolute beast.  The CPU will either cut the player or never play them in a simulation.  Take a look at the practice squads in your Madden 18 CFM – the CPU has some BEASTS that never get a chance to play.  Many of us would snap up these players in a heartbeat.

Until EA makes Madden CFM more nuanced and less dependent on overall ratings I have a feeling we will continue to experience a rather mechanical and less organic CFM experience.

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Franchise Mode – Play The Game Or The Game Will Play You

It really doesn’t matter which sports game you are playing. The moment you start Franchise Mode you had better be ready to make some moves in your omniscient role as owner/general manager/coach/manager/player. If you aren’t controlling every team in the mode you will see the CPU make some trades and sign some players that cause you to wonder if there was a glitch in The Matrix.

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I recently started a new Franchise Mode in MLB The Show 18 with the Orioles and had planned on going through the season with the primary roster from a combination of my NoobTubeTV Roster and OSFM. Once I made it out of Spring Training I thought I was ready to rock. I was going to set up a trade block just in case a team wanted to make an offer for a few of my players. I decided to take a look at the Transactions section just to see if any moves had been made by the CPU. There were a couple… but one made me rethink my entire approach.

MLB 18 Trade Reds

The Reds traded away their top prospect, Nick Senzel. Not only did they trade their top prospect with ‘A’ Potential, but they traded him in the division to the Cardinals for a first basemen in Rangel Ravelo that is 25 with ‘C’ Potential. As much as I could chalk this up to the Reds being the Reds, I had a moment that made me realize that trying to keep my roster moves ‘realistic’ would only hurt my franchise experience in the long run. This isn’t the case if the CPU keeps trades down for the most part, but when there are big trades that involve top prospects for nobodies – it’s on like Donkey Kong!

I made my own moves soon after I saw the Reds trade. Seeing that the rumors already have the Orioles shipping Manny Machado by the trade deadline this season (in real life) I decided I would pull the trigger earlier in the season – and I would add a few other players to my rebuild of Baltimore.

MLB 18 Trade Orioles

Some of the elitists on sports gaming forums would be shouting from their ivory towers as wanna-be experts that these trades would never happen. Guess what…? They did and it has been fun as hell to play my Franchise over the last few games with this remodeled Orioles team.

I managed to trade Machado, Britton, and Davis to the Rangers for Nomar Mazara, Roughned Odor and Ronald Guzman. Yes, it was a steal when it comes to obtaining young players that I be the bedrock of the Orioles for a few years. Yes, I feel like this could happen in the real world (why not?). I then also made a trade with the Nationals to bring in a prospect to eventually take over for the absense of Machado in Kieboom. You could say realistically and be correct in the statement that I basically rebuilt my entire roster during the first week.

Yup, I did – and that’s the point. Franchise Mode is YOURS. You don’t have to abide by anyone’s rules if you don’t want to. For myself, I like to play through mine like a story. I have all sorts of different ideas for how I want to see my team develop for my initial three year contract. Everyone should have the same view on their own franchise mode. I think having some house rules is always a good idea. I do have another Franchise Mode that uses my original house rules for MLB 18 (with the Reds of all teams!) and it is a great time as well.

The point of all of this…? When you play sports games from the franchise mode perspective you have to take every moment with a grain of salt. I have had all sorts of crazy things happen…

  • 700 yard passing game by DeShone Kizer
  • 5 HR game by Carlos Santana
  • The Browns won a game

The world is a crazy place. Don’t get upset when your franchise loses its mind – roll with it and make it your own crazy world.

Madden Trade Logic Needs A Drastic Overhaul

For those of you that want to gut a team and make some trades in Madden 19 Connected Franchise Mode you are probably still in luck. The attention given to custom draft classes is something I have been praising over the last week. It doesn’t mean that other hugely important aspects of CFM have been tuned or fixed in any way. After starting a CFM from scratch with in Madden 18 with the preseason roster with a preseason starting point I wanted to see what I could get for my Browns. The team that tanked the 2017 season would get a fresh start once again in the spirit of erasing bad memories. May I say, Madden trade logic will make ANYONE into the greatest GM in the history of sports.

The first move I made was to trade away Osweiler like the Browns tried to do, but ended up eating his $16 salary in real life. Madden is where real life trade logic goes to die.

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I ended up getting a projected #2 Overall Pick for Osweiler and two running backs that I was going to release anyway. How can Madden say this is good value? You will be shocked by the next trade I made.

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This was a trade that I probably overpaid for in terms of Madden logic, but when you consider that the Browns traded away Haden last year, Kizer in the off-season and released Pryor before the season started last year for arguably the best young QB available at the time in Jimmy Garoppolo? It was a great trade to get my team a long-term answer at the most important position.

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I then made another trade that saw not only another short-lived real life Browns contract in Britt go along with a player I just signed (Milliner) and another disposable player that would likely be cut in Burgess. In return I got the projected #8 Overall pick in the 2018 Draft.

Add in a trade of Danny Shelton, Desmond Bryant and Tank Carder to Seattle for their 1st round pick to boot.

All things said and done, I managed to obtain three more 1st Round picks and a Franchise QB for a team that was projected to finish the season 0-16 in 2017. Add on to this the fact that the Browns already had a treasure trove of picks for the 2018 draft and they literally hold 15% of all first round picks as well as a QB that I would sign to a long-term deal in the off-season. It’s hard to imagine that EA Tiburon made any big changes to this simply because they haven’t talked about it yet – they love to talk about little things and they gush at what they consider their big changes (Custom Draft Classes, I’m looking at you).

I will be creating an overhauled set of house rules for Madden 19 CFM in the coming months. It will be more important than ever to set rules now that we will have the ability to see the draft classes prior to starting each season. It could potentially destroy immersion if you know all of the best players and it could really be a game killer if the trade and draft logic aren’t fixed as well.

Look for more to come as we enter Madden Season.

Draft Logic And Custom Draft Classes – Madden 19

As the news about custom draft classes hit me I could hardly stand it.  Being happy about a CFM Feature was new to me.  Any work on CFM that wasn’t surface level was something I had yet to see.  However, certain things take time to marinade and allow logic to creep through instant happiness.  Suddenly, I felt the pain of reality and the question hit me like a ton of bricks.

Have they fixed draft logic?

NFL: 2014 NFL Draft

The biggest problem with all Franchise Modes in almost every game is that they are flawed from the outset.  The user can see good players and snatch them up whenever they want to when it comes to free agency.  Once you get to scouting (what scouting?) and then the draft itself in Madden the AI doesn’t really seem to put as much thought into the most important off-season aspect as it should.  It’s generally pretty easy to find hidden gems and such in the draft through the broken scouting system (for reference, take a look at the house rules developed for Madden 18).  I have come up with a theoretical fix as we wait another two months for Madden 19 to come out.

Normal Should Be The Default Development Trait

While most of this depends on how often a development trait will change during a season, I would suggest that all players be changed to Normal as well.  This will be one of my goals in Madden 19.  I have been wishing for custom and shareable draft classes for quite some time.  While some of you will undoubtedly be looking for real-world draft classes, I will be editing and creating fictional classes for multiple reasons.  The development trait being set to normal is a big part of that. The other is that it will take away a lot of wasted time editing names, schools and such just to create a subjective rating that would be debated and scrutinized.  I will be happy to try out a few of those classes, but that won’t be my focus.

Rookies Should Never Have A Default Overall Above 84 In CFM

Rookies are unproven talent.  That’s it… period.  I will be editing my rookie classes to not only have Normal development traits, but also in a manner that will see an even spread of OVR ratings that won’t pollute the CFM with a bunch of 90-99 players by season three or four.

I will be keeping a close watch on what else is announced in regards to CFM and especially fixes to the logic engine that I fear will still see minimal effort for yet another year.

Stay Tuned

Madden 19 Franchise Mode – Only One Direction To Go

As we near the NFL Draft in a matter of days it is starting to leak out of the rumor mill that Madden will be focusing on ramping up the quality of Franchise Mode.  Hopefully this means we can expect a bit more depth in terms of how the mode is represented in a few different ways.

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Because EA is the Johnny Manziel of sports game developers.

They have tried to change how free agency works from the Auction system a few years ago to making offers before advancing and hoping the guy you wanted chose your low-ball offer.  Between bad financial logic and worse player and team logic – Madden hasn’t exactly been a beacon of realism for wanna-be GMs.

They must find a way to push gamers in this mode to eventually spend their money on veterans without looking at every 28 and 29 year old player like they are going to become Stephen Hawking at the age of 30.  Yes, there is certainly a youth movement in the thinking of NFL General Managers.  Yes, this means that drafting top talent over keeping ‘aging’ players is a common strategy.  It doesn’t mean that Madden should get a pass in making players in their late-20s and early 30s relevant in Franchise Mode.

On top of the age nosedive in terms of player ratings, the other aspect that needs the most help in Madden is the Draft and Scouting.

Scouting has quite simply been a lazy effort by the developers.  It isn’t difficult to find the superstar players later in the draft.  It isn’t hard to find the busts in the first round.  By the time you figured out the scouting dynamics in Madden 17 you were more than okay with the point reversal in Madden 18 that was supposed to make that aspect more challenging.  All you need to do is look for the first rating to be a B+ or higher and you are on your way.  It’s not rocket science… and that makes for an insanely boring experience that is arguably one of the most involved and talked about in all of sports.

They must address the lack of immersion in our experience week by week.  There is ZERO immersion in Franchise Mode from an overall league perspective.  There is no feeling for the salary cap when it comes to managing the team.  There is no excitement in Franchise Mode… NONE.  The Super Bowl has been the same stupid celebration and musical experience for years.

Madden 18 was the final straw for me as a Madden fan in a lot of ways.  It was the only Madden I have stopped playing before the Super Bowl was over.  It says more about the staying power of Franchise Mode than anything else.

Madden Ultimate Team has killed what made Madden a fun experience for those of us that don’t enjoy online sports gaming.  I am hoping that Madden 19 will make good on their chance to convince me to buy this game as a pre-order for the sake of giving my annual guides for all of you out there.

Making Your CFM Last For Decades – Team Building House Rules In Madden 17

In the words of Aaron Lewis (from Staind), It’s Been Awhile.

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In the spirit of not only updating NoobTubeTV with new and fresh things for the secular Holiday Season of Capitalism and video games during the winter snow and vortex.  I am presenting a new way to play a part of your Madden 17 Connected Franchise Mode from the Owner/Coach perspective!

This will focus on house rules I have implemented over the course of playing multiple seasons with multiple teams in CFM.  Before we get into the details of how to make a great experience more challenging and entertaining I have to give you the ‘why’.

Madden has improved in many regards as far as CFM goes.  They really have made strides and complete jumps to another level in some cases.  That said, they also have a lot of work to do with figuring out how teams deal with the salary cap and such.  By the time you reach season 4 and 5 in your CFM (2019-2020) you will start to see that almost every team is in a dire situation with salary caps and such.

One easy fix is to turn off salary caps.  I suggest not doing this simply because it’s nice to have a limitation placed on yourself during the offseason.

The other issue is that it is still way too easy to accumulated tons of first round picks and later picks as well.  On top of that part being easy it is also relatively simple to scout for players that you can draft with assurance that they will be rated 75+ OVR.  In order to preserve an ongoing CFM that will not only keep your team competitive, but also honest – here is my Madden 17 method of Team Management House Rules.

During The Season

Re-Signing Players –  Because you get a chance to make three offers during the season before you have one final chance after the season and then into free agency this rule is easy.
NOTE – This doesn’t mean you are limited to having certain OVR players on your team.  This is strictly a limit on re-signing players during the season.  This is meant to make your team stay within the same general competitive level as others and give other teams a shot at signing great players as well.

  • Any player rated 90+ is permitted ONE offer at any point during the season and you can only re-sign ONE of these players during the season.  If you have multiple 90+ rated players you must choose who you place the most value in keeping.  If they decline you then have to wait until the final re-sign chance after your season is over.
  • Any player rated 80-89 is permitted TWO offers at any point during the season.  The difference here is that you get to re-sign up to SEVEN players rated 80-89 during the season.
  • Players rated 79 and lower don’t have limits on offers.  Do what you want to here.

Scouting and The Draft

Here’s the deal.  You get to scout any players you want.  Feel free to go bonkers and even get the Scouting Perk for your coach.  The catch is that you are limited once the draft arrives.

Using the ‘Watch’ function is key to this rule and it will make the draft a hell of a lot more fun for you.  Not to mention more challenging from the perspective of adding some realism.

First, your draft picks will have limitations (This will also help you avoid weird salary cap penalties if you want to cut a rookie with guaranteed money – this can and does happen).

Scouting and Watching –

Each draft pick you own will allow you to watch a certain number of players projected in that round (prior to drafting them)

1st Round – 6 Watchable Players (2 Picks = 12 Watchable Players)

2nd & 3rd Round – 7 Watchable Players (two picks = 14 watchable players per round)

4th – 7th Round – 8 Watchable Players (three picks = 24 watchable players per round)

HERE IS THE CATCH!

  • You must select your watched players before the draft begins.
  • You only get to manually draft a player that you have watched.
  • You may draft any player from any projected round at any time.
  • If none of your watched players are available you have two options
    • Simulate the pick (you get to keep any draft pick obtained if it is traded and you must keep the player drafted for at least one season, if only on the practice squad.)
    • Trade the pick
      • You may trade this for any pick or set of picks.  However, you need to even out your pick numbers prior to Week 9 of the regular season.

You get a maximum of 12 picks in any one draft each year.

1st Round – Maximum of two picks in one draft (Never two years in a row).  If you have two picks in one year you only get one the next year.  If you find that a team wants to trade up and give you a pick you can only do it for lower round picks OR must trade the new First Round Pick to a team with one of the ten WORST records without giving them more than two picks as well.

  • If you make an Washington/St. Louis for RG3 kind of deal with a team you must count your 1st Round Picks as two picks each.  This means you lose two picks extra picks that year.  You must trade two picks two another team.

2nd Round – Maximum of two picks

3rd Round – Maximum of two picks

4th Round – Maximum of three picks

5th Round – Maximum of three picks

6th Round – Maximum of three picks

7th Round – Maximum of three picks

These rules are meant to keep your CFM fair for the CPU and fun for your own benefit.

I have had to make tough decisions and even gamble on re-signing a few players because of weak draft classes.  Usually, I roll with my Browns in Madden CFM and this year I made it through five seasons before realizing that building such a dominant team with multiple draft picks made the actual experience less enjoyable.  I had to start a new one just to keep my interest in Madden (as I don’t particularly enjoy the lag fest and arcade feel of Madden Online).

Now that these new rules have fixed my CFM experience, it’s time to start fresh and this time I will be starting with the Bills.

Happy Holiday Gaming!

Madden 17 Franchise Mode Team Guide

With only a few weeks until Madden 17 is officially released we now know the top rated players at most positions.  This seems to be more important to Madden’s online players than anyone else.  Sure, it might be nice to know these things for some sort of subjective discussion about which player is better or simply deserves a better ‘Overall’ rating.

For the rest of us the ratings that really matter are position specific as well as the ‘under the hood’ ratings like ‘Potential’, etc.  These ratings drive our Franchise Mode every season from deciding who to cut in week three of the pre-season to who will be placed further down the depth chart.  Madden isn’t friendly to developing players on the bench.  So, deciding which player you will use at QB is going to be crucial just as it will be important to look at other young players that might need to train up somehow – more on player editing to come.

Going into my first season of Franchise Mode I try my best to stay true to how my team is going through the pre-season, etc.  The problem with this mindset is the same I talk about every year.  This isn’t ‘real life’ this is your team and your Franchise Mode.  It is with that consideration that I am putting together the Madden 17 Franchise Mode Team Selection Guide.

 With that said, here’s the Madden 17 Franchise Mode Team Selection Guide

Arizona Cardinals – A team that is in ‘win it all mode’ doesn’t need a lot of work to win you a Super Bowl in the first season of your franchise mode. They will need to start looking for a new franchise QB as well as a replacement for the aging Larry Fitzgerald as he and Carson Palmer both work into the twilight of their careers.  This is one of the better defenses in the league as well and hopefully EA will make sure to update the Mathieu contract in the first update if they haven’t already.

Atlanta Falcons – For being a team that has been a middle of the pack contender in recent years they have really struggled to make up for a couple seasons of terrible defense.  They don’t have a defensive identity and Matt Ryan is looking more like a mediocre Philip Rivers as every season goes by.  Thankfully, they do have Julio Jones at WR and two decent HBs in Freeman and Coleman.  Not to mention the off-season signing of Alex Mack at Center.  This is a solid option if you like to have a couple pieces in place before starting a Franchise.

Baltimore Ravens – Speaking of mediocre and overrated Quarterbacks – Joe Flacco is both of those things coupled with being over-paid for his talent level.  It seems that if any team is almost totally in rebuild mode with money sunk into aging and overrated players this is one of those teams. WR’s are all injury prone and your HB situation is suspect at best.  Add to this situation a defense that seems to be getting by on name recognition more than actual talent – the Ravens could be a nice sleeper team to have a bit of fun rebuilding both in talent and in budget.

Buffalo Bills – The Bills have a couple great playmakers in McCoy at HB and Watson at WR. Their QB, Tyrod Taylor is a poor man’s Mike Vick. Sure, he put up some decent numbers last year, but no one building a Franchise outside of Virginia Tech fanboys is going to want Taylor as their QB of the future.  Defensively the Bills are stout.  They could use some upgrades at virtually every position, but they also aren’t bad if you want to use the saying ‘bend, don’t break’.

Carolina Panthers – Back from a loss in the Super Bowl.  The Panthers are back and this time they will have their #1 WR in Kelvin Benjamin.  They could use an upgrade at HB and it wouldn’t be shocking in my view to see them take one in the first round of the 2017 Draft.  This team is a monster defensively, even without the loud mouth that was/is Josh Norman.  Keep this team healthy and you will be in the Super Bowl again in 2016.

Chicago Bears – A team with one of the most overrated and overhated players in the league in Jay Cutler has some serious question marks coming into 2016.  Alshon Jeffery is destined to become a free agent in 2017 and the rest of the team seems to be made up of place holders with unproven talent.  WR, Kevin White and HB, Jeremy Langford could be the answer the Bears need for losing two great (albeit aging) players at those positions over the last couple seasons.  On defense they have still been trying to find an identity after losing Urlacher to retirement.  This is one of my favorite teams to suggest to anyone looking for a rebuild in a tough division that actually has different weather during the season.

Cincinnati Bengals – They are still looking like the favorites to win the AFC North.  Andy Dalton is going to be your solid and tough QB that shouldn’t get you more than 30 TDs a year.  That said, you have AJ Green, but you have lost a couple WRs in the offseason.  Still, the offensive line is good and if he can stay healthy, Eifert will make opposing defensive unit cringe.  On defense you are going to be pretty much set.  There is no such thing as personal fouls or ejections in Madden for dirty players like Vontaze Burfict – so have fun with that.

Cleveland Browns – My beloved Browns.  What can I say?  They are the consistent choice among Madden Franchise Mode junkies that want to build a constant loser into a winner.  The Browns are intriguing in many ways though.  On offense you get a chance to redeem the career of Robert Griffin III. You also get a fresh batch of WRs and Josh Gordon should actually play this season (sit him the first four games if you want to – I plan on sitting him during my Franchise Mode for that time period). The running backs are really only two-deep as Crowell and Johnson are very much ‘thunder and lightning’.  It might be worth drafting a HB in the 2017 Draft with the Browns as well.  On defense they desperately need a new SS and FS as well as someone to compliment Joe Haden at the other CB spot since Justin Gilbert looks like he might have to play nickel – if that.  

Dallas Cowboys – Somehow, the Cowboys always manage to look like a team or at least sound like a team destined to rebound from yet another season of disappointment.  This season their defense already looks like a trailer park dumpster fire.  Now they are hoping that Romo doesn’t die on the field or the like.  Couple that with having the oft-injured Dez Bryant and you would think that this team is a terrible choice.  Well, maybe in real life.  In Madden 17 with the initial rosters, this could be one of the best teams to pick if you want to push for a Super Bowl.  You will want to upgrade the defensive secondary and draft a QB or two in the 2017 Draft, but otherwise, you have one heck of a roster.

Denver Broncos – From world champions and Hall of Fame QB to riding your defense to victory.  Most people will probably make the switch to Paxton Lynch as their starter in Franchise Mode.  If you consider the fact that the Broncos have lost no one but an ancient Peyton Manning they might be a lock for most people to win another Super Bowl easily in the first season of Franchise mode.  You will want to look into drafting a new HB in 2017 and probably load up that O Line as well.

Detroit Lions – The Browns of the NFC!  Detroit lost Calvin Johnson just like they lost Barry Sanders. Now they have… well… Matt Stafford?  If there were a team I’d give anyone props for taking in an online Franchise Mode with a bunch of friends it would be the Lions.  They are a mess from the top to the bottom.  You might consider setting your 2016 season goal to 7 wins if you play with decent difficulty sliders.  You need to build this team through the draft and you will need to make sure that it includes a backup QB, starting HB and a WR that will hopefully make everyone forget about Megatron.  Good luck with that.

Green Bay Packers – If this team stays healthy they are a lock for the playoffs.  You have the obvious in Aaron Rodgers and Co.  The only thing you might want to look into at this point is getting some younger WRs and consider the possibility of replacing Clay Matthews or at least backing him up as he ages.  A new Tight End in the draft would only help matters. 

Houston Texans – One of the teams that reminds me of Madden 06.  Why?  Because you have a huge arm at QB with Osweiler and two speedsters at WR with Hopkins and Fuller.  Not to mention the fact that you now have Lamar Miller and his speed at HB.  Yeah, the Texans look awesome on paper this year.  Couple that with the obvious presence of Watt (99 OVR) and Clowney and Co. on defense… this is a scary team to face.

Indianapolis Colts – They have invested in fixing the O-Line for Luck and even signed your QB for the next half decade or so.  You will want to replace the ancient Frank Gore at HB and probably get yourself a new tall WR to help Luck out a bit more on offense.  On defense you need to figure out in which order you want to replace everyone.  The Colts defense is strikingly bad and yet somehow they aren’t talked about for their terrible nature. 

Jacksonville Jaguars – If you want the young up and coming team this is it.  They have some great young players on both sides of the ball.  A franchise QB, a tough running HB in Yeldon, two great WRs and Julius Thomas at TE.  Then on defense they have two of the top rated players from the 2016 draft in Ramsey and Myles Jack.  This team scares the hell out of me on Madden and in real life – they might just surprise everyone this year – except Jaguars fans… and me. 

Kansas City Chiefs – They are in big salary trouble and that means you will need to figure out your plan of attack.  I suggest trading away your biggest salary hogs early on and hope you can get a couple draft picks in return.  You need to get a real answer to the aging Jamaal Charles at HB and desperately need to get more WRs on this team.  For being a passing league, the Chiefs make you think they will try to win with a 30 year old HB kept together with a bit of duct tape and glue.  Their defense is high end, but will you be able to afford to keep all of them? Doubtful.

Los Angeles Rams – I’ve been through St. Louis once and that is enough for me to understand why the Rams would move to Los Angeles.  Yes, I have love for the midwest as I am from Ohio, but wow… talk about getting a team full of weapons and having them in a new shiny stadium!?  This might be the most enjoyable team to build around new QB Jared Goff and what looks like the next great HB in Todd Gurley.  You have another 99 OVR player in Aaron Donald on defense as well.  All said and done, you will want to look into investing some draft picks in WRs if possible.  Granted, with the trade to get Goff you might have to search for the hidden late round gems for a couple years.

Miami Dolphins – It’s hard to decide how to build this team.  The offense needs new players virtually everywhere.  The defense has Suh at DT and a couple other pieces as well.  In all honesty, the Dolphins are a team with a new coveted head coach and I am willing to bet that whoever takes this team will do so with the singular goal of finding a new QB to build around first and foremost. 

Minnesota Vikings – They have a great coach (which never matters in Madden) and it looks like Teddy Bridgewater might be a solid game manager at QB.  With a couple great young WRs it seems to me that you really need to find Adrian Peterson’s replacement sooner rather than later.  Then add a couple pieces to the defense and you will be fighting the Packers for NFC North dominance in short order.

New England Patriots – The Patriots are the football version of the San Antonio Spurs.  They are designed to win around two people – Their Hall of Fame cheater of a QB in Tom Brady and their (doesn’t matter in Madden) Hall of Fame Coach that isn’t actually in the game anyway.  Brady is going to be done soon.  Most Patriots users are going to try and install Garopolo as the heir-apparent.  I must ask other than Gronkowski (who is at his peak and probably passing it quickly) who else on this team is really a piece you’d consider ‘the future’.  The Patriots are a great team and should get you to a Super Bowl in the first couple seasons of Franchise Mode.  However, you are going to need to invest in draft picks early on if you have any hope of maintaining their dynastic dominance.  Who are we kidding, most Patriots users will play on Rookie difficulty and run up the score on every team.  Just joking…

Not really.

New Orleans Saints – The Saints are in a similar boat as the Patriots, but they do have a decent power HB in Ingram with good young WRs and Fleener at TE.  They do need a lot of help on defense and this should be where you focus your growth as well.  Draft for defense and try to find a replacement for Brees and you will pose a real threat to the Panthers again soon.

New York Giants – The story of the day is aging QBs.  Manning is a good one to get you through a few more seasons, but you will want to have someone behind him.  Your HB is over 30 and there isn’t much help behind him.  Two great WRs (one is a rookie in Shepard… the other is the amazing OBJ).  Get yourself some more help on an improving defense and the Giants will be a favorite for the division nearly every year.

New York Jets – The Jets somehow don’t look as crappy as they always seem like that should.  You have Hackenberg waiting in the wings and two veteran WRs in Marshall and Decker.  You also have an older HB in Forte that will need to be replaced soon.  The defense has been the bread and butter of the Jets for years and this year is no different. You will want to find a new CB as Revis ages, but focus on your offensive aging and you should be up there with the Patriots.

Oakland Raiders – The Raiders really just need a defensive backfield.  Get your DB situation fixed and this team will pose a major threat to anyone. The offense is somehow looking like a dangerous deal with Derek Carr, Murray at HB and Cooper at WR.  The Raiders are going to be a fun team to use as they are young on both sides and Kalil Mack will be the only guy you want to control on defense.

Philadelphia Eagles – If any team gets to be laughed at it is the Eagles.  You basically lost your picks for Carson Wentz.  I imagine most Eaglers users will implement him immediately rather than sitting him like they hope to in real life.  Even with that they have an HB made out of glass in Ryan Mathews and one decent WR in Jordan Matthews. Zach Ertz at TE is nothing to get excited about. Then on defense you have a steaming pile of nothing impressive.  If ever a gamer wanted to start with a team that was shredded by a former coach it would be the Eagles.  Good luck and godspeed.

Pittsburgh Steelers – As I’ve stated before. Madden doesn’t have real life things like suspensions.  This means that Le’Veon Bell will never get suspended as he should.  The same goes for his fellow pot smoking teammate, Martavis Bryant at WR.  This basically leaves the door open for people to dominate with the Steelers and their great weapons on offense – including Antonio Brown and the newly signed TE, Ledarius Green.  On defense they are a team that is still rebuilding from their dominance with Polamalu, but that shouldn’t take long in the draft.  They will be up there with the Bengals for the AFC North as long as you have Roethlisberger and a decent backup/future starter at QB.

San Diego Chargers – The Chargers drafted Joey Bosa at DE and have the pieces they need to be a threat, but they aren’t that scary.  You will want to get another WR to take pressure off of Keenan Allen and certainly must replace Antonio Gates as soon as you can.  Rivers isn’t going to get any younger either, so you might want to focus on how to fix your aging offense before this middle of the pack team totally bonks out altogether.

San Francisco 49ers – It’s a damn good thing that your coach doesn’t matter in Madden.  Chip Kelly is in San Francisco now and it doesn’t look like they are going to do much to help him improve his name.  Carlos Hyde is a great HB to have as he is still young.  Kaepernick is a Madden friendly QB as he has mobility, etc. but really, you will want to find new players at almost every position.  You might as well start with a new coach as Kelly should never have been hired to coach anywhere anyway.

Seattle Seahawks – No more Marshawn Lynch. You do still have a dominant defense and Russell Wilson and the brittle Jimmy Graham at TE.  It would be a great idea to invest in new WRs and a couple new HBs to compete with Rawls for the starting spot.  Sherman won’t be great for much longer either, so look into a couple defenders as well.  Otherwise, the Seahawks are still a team built to win it all for the next couple years – even if only defensively. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – A young team with a strong offense built around Winston.  You will want to find a couple new WRs and a TE soon.  Make sure to continue investing in your defense as you need to compete with the likes of the Panthers and Saints – that’s not fun if you can’t play defense. The Bucs are a team that should get you to the playoffs within the next two seasons

Tennessee Titans – Mariota looked good when he was healthy and in Madden he is a strong QB for a mobile/west coast system.  Invest in your O-Line to protect him and build up your lacking defense.  The Titans look like a fun team to build if you know what you’re wanting to make them into.  I suggest taking a look at what you want to do defensively and either start fresh with a new system or try and use the couple pieces they have.

Washington Redskins – It’s hard to look at Cousins as a long term answer… it’s more difficult yet to see him as a fun QB to build around.  He isn’t as exciting in Madden as he is in real life with his ‘did you like that?’ attitude.  They have a great TE in Reed, but their WRs are old minus the new rookie in Doctson.  It will be interesting to see how people build the Redskins as I think they could be one of the more interesting teams to grab ahold of and truly make into your own.