If there is any one particular aspect about EA Sports beloved Madden game that gets its hardcore fans whipped up into a tizzy, it’s the player ratings. By all accounts the franchise usually nails it. Even if they initially miss the mark, the development team is constantly adjusting player attributes throughout the entire season with weekly updates. Those NFL player ratings remain in a constant state of flux during the entire NFL season. Yet every year, those initial out of the box ratings seem to get a rise out of fans, and there is no reason to think Madden NFL 16 will be any different when it arrives next month.
Naturally, ratings are subjective. So it’s understandable how they are always under scrutiny. Even the players themselves chime in from time to time. The Madden development team doesn’t shy away from the criticism but rather they encourage the debates and are always eager to listen to any feedback. As the development team moves towards a more authentic and true to life experience having spot-on player ratings play an ever greater role. As a result, we decided to take a closer look at some of those ratings from Madden NFL 15 to see which players are deserving of a significant rating upgrade. Likewise, we wanted to take a look at some players whose ratings need to take a big hit.
***Keep in mind the ratings posted are the initial out of the box ratings when Madden NFL 15 dropped last August***
Players On the Rise
Justin Forsett (Madden NFL 15 Rating 74) – We see Forsett’s rating rising at least another 15 points. It sounds like a lot for a guy who was an NFL journeyman prior to the 2014 season, but Forsett had a phenomenal year. He set career highs with over 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season. Sure he turns 30 this October but he still has plenty of mileage left in those legs and there is reason to believe he will have yet another good year for the Ravens. For that reason we believe Forsett should get a healthy rating boost in Madden NFL 16.
Odell Beckham Jr. (Madden NFL Rating 75) – This one is the no brainer of the group. Madden NFL 16’s new cover athlete made an amazing splash last year for the Giants. Not only did he make an immediate impact, he grabbed the NFL by the throat and didn’t let go. His 75 rating is almost laughable as we see that rating rising 20 points. Despite missing some time last season, he still finished with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. For rookie, that is incredible. Out of all the players in the league OBJ could easily get the biggest rating boosts and nobody would complain about it.
Travis Kelce (Madden NFL Rating 74) – We went with Kelce as he is one of the more underrated young Tight Ends in the league. Looking at his numbers from last season alone Kelce’s rating should rise another 10-15 points. After Gronk and Jimmy Graham, we could easily see Kelce emerge as one of the best Tight Ends in the league. He is a focal point in the Kansas City offence and should be a nice ‘buy low’ guy when you draft your Madden NFL fantasy team next month.
- Golden Tate (84) – Just look at the year he had last year, Tate’s rating should rise 5-7 points.
- LeVeon Bell (82) – Bell was a stud last year, he’s established himself as a clear mid-90’s player.
- TY Hilton (85) – Luck’s biggest threat is going to see his rating rise well into the 90’s this season.
- Kelvin Benjamin (71) – Could have easily made our top three list and we will likely regret not putting him in there when the game drops next month.
Players On The Decline
Michael Crabtree (Madden NFL 15 Rating 89) – In 2012, Crabtree looked poised to be an NFL superstar when he raked in 85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns in his rookie season. Then he tore his Achilles prior to the 2013 season. Since then he has shown some flashes but bottom line he has not been the same player since the injury. Last season he posted 68 catches for 698 yards and four touchdowns which was awful for an 89 rated player. Things don’t look to get any better as he signed with the Raiders in the offseason. We expect a significant rating drop for Mr. Crabtree, maybe in the high-70’s range. Ouch.
Jason Witten (Madden NFL 15 Rating 93) – We don’t see Witten’s rating dropping significantly but definitely out of the 90’s. Realistically he should be rated low to mid 80’s given the year he had least year and there is no question he is in the twilight of his career. The once elite Tight End is no longer considered a Top 5 player at his position. He will still see his share of catchers but his speed and acceleration ratings alone should see a steep drop. Witten, your 90 rated Tight End days are over.
Josh Gordon (Madden NFL 15 Rating 93) – One of the NFL’s most troubled players had an amazing 2013 but suspensions and his lacklustre play when he returned to the gridiron should see his rating plummet. There is no question Gordon has the talent but until he gets his shit together he should be nowhere near the 93 he was rated in Madden NFL 15. In February, Gordon was suspended without pay for at least one year for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. We would not be surprised if Gordon isn’t even included in the game. And that is sad for the once 93 rated player.
- Percy Harvin (90) – All sizzle and no steak; Harvin’s ratings need to come back down to earth and into the mid-80’s range.
- Brandon Marshall (96) – We still consider Marshall elite but barely. After last season we expect a 5-8 point drop off.
- Doug Martin (89) – We see Doug’s rating dropping like rock, somewhere in the low-80’s or even high 70’s.
- Peyton Manning (98) – Old man Manning is no longer a 98 player but a solid 90-92 is not out of the question.