One of the great things about Madden – and other sports sims – is how it can adjust a players rating based on performance on a weekly basis. This way, players can feel like they’re getting a more authentic experience given what’s going on within the confines of the ongoing regular season. Developers work hard every week to update player ratings and keep them aligned with each player’s current performance. While they tend to do a good job in most cases, some players seem to slip through the cracks.
It’s not uncommon for fans – and sometimes even players themselves – to get a little exasperated when looking through Madden ratings. There’ll always be an argument as to who should be ranked higher or lower at the start of the season, but when you’re two months down the road – it’s another story altogether. At this point in the season, you expect the devs to adjust player ratings accordingly and actually base them off their current performance. But for whatever reasons, favoritism, bias or just plain ignorance, this isn’t always the case. Aging stars are still ranked among the leagues best while hot handed younger guys are straddled with inconsistent numbers and inaccurate representations. For whatever reasons, it ends up happening every year. These are the top 15 most disgraceful Madden 17 ratings.
15 Jimmy Graham – 91
It wasn’t too long ago that Jimmy Graham was considered to be one of the best tight ends in football. If you’re an avid player of Madden, you’ll know that lining him up in the slot or out wide would create an instant matchup nightmare. But ever since being traded to Seattle, Graham just hasn’t been the same player. He’s always had trouble staying on the field throughout 16 games. In fact, Graham has never started all 16 games in the season – hitting his ceiling at 13. But while that might have hindered some players’ ratings, Graham is still ranked as a top three tight end in Madden, with only Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen ahead of him. He might be having a decent season, but this isn’t 2013 and his ratings should reflect that.
14 Jordan Reed – 89
From an overrated tight end to an underappreciated one, Jordan Reed has been ladled as injury prone by many critics throughout his young NFL career. The criticism isn’t completely unjustified as like Graham, Reed has never once started all 16 games in a season. But while Graham’s past successes seem to overshadow his recent struggles, Reed’s injury history is a stigma he just can’t escape. His Injury rating – 84 – reflects what the devs think of his ability to stay on the field. As it stands, Reed is rated as seventh best in Madden among tight ends. While the sample size is small, allotting Graham one of the best tight end ratings, while keeping Reed out of the top five is ridiculous as when he’s healthy, he’s just as dangerous as Graham was in his prime and more dangerous than Graham is today.
13 Jadeveon Clowney – 90
Now in his third year, Jadeveon Clowney has not developed into the kind of player most thought he would be at this point in his career. Clowney was expected to come in and be a force on the defensive line, creating havoc along with defensive standout J.J. Watt. But Clowney has struggled to stay on the field and when he has been out there, he’s made little impact. While he hasn’t developed into the kind of pass rusher he was expected to be, Clowney has at least been improving against the run. But as it stands, in Madden 17, he’s one of the top five defensive ends on the right side. You’ve got to think that the developers are basing his ratings off of potential rather than actual performance.
12 Justin Forsett – 82
Justin Forsett has had a weird start to the season. While he was expected to be the bell cow for the Ravens going into 2016, Forsett was suddenly released, then resigned, and then released again before being picked up by the Lions. Forsett is no longer a starting caliber running back in the NFL, but the Madden devs insist on making him out to be one. He’s touched the ball 44 times this year, all in a change of pace capacity, and he finds himself in the same company as guys like Mark Ingram, Isaiah Crowell and Carlos Hyde. The most staggering of his ratings has to be the ball carrier vision rating of 89, a number that seems much too generous for someone who has averaged just over 3 yards per carry this year.
11 Tony Romo – 86
No you’re reading this right. Despite having yet to take the field in a regular season NFL game, Tony Romo is still rated as a top 15 quarterback in Madden. Ask any NFL fan what they think about Romo and you’re bound to get a plethora of varied responses, especially now that rookie Dak Prescott has seemingly snatched the perennial rug from underneath his feet. Romo might just be the highest rated backup quarterback in the game. It looks more and more like he’s taken his last snap with the Cowboys. Overall rating aside, the guy can’t be trusted to stay on the field with an injury rating of 72 – just one higher than glassman Sam Bradford. With talented young guys like Andy Dalton and Derek Carr within his current range, it’s clear that Romo’s overall rating needs to be adjusted accordingly.
10 Darrelle Revis – 88
One thing you’ll notice while looking through this list is that veteran superstars are given a lot of leeway regarding their rating, regardless of their current performance on the football field. Darrelle Revis is a prime and possibly the most poignant example of this. Revis’ season so far has been abysmal. It’s gotten to the point that people are questioning whether he’s completely lost it and Revis has admitted to feeling the effects of age impacting his game. Yet he’s still one of the better corners in the game. He’s not Richard Sherman or Chris Harris level, but he’s managed to stay up there with guys like Janoris Jenkins and Malcolm Butler, two young stars who have greatly outplayed him at this point in the season.
9 Jamaal Charles – 89
Seriously, EA? This guy hasn’t even eclipsed 100 yards rushing yet and is on his way back to IR. Charles is yet another example of a veteran playmaker getting the benefit of the doubt from the devs. Charles might not be the same player now coming back from yet another season ending injury. He hasn’t showed the ability to stay on the field yet is ranked as the fourth best back in Madden. Yes, he’s ahead of guys like LeSean McCoy and Lamar Miller while being on par with David Johnson. Think about that for a second. Johnson, undoubtedly the best active halfback in the NFL right now, has not gotten any love. But Charles, an injury prone runner who boasts a shockingly decent injury rating of 87, is still judged as the player he was three years ago rather than who he is now.
8 Alex Smith – 80
Alex Smith – contrary to what his deferrers might say – is not a bad quarterback. He’s not an outstanding one either, but he gets the job done. In the NFL, he’s referred to as a Game Manager. The role itself doesn’t exactly stray away much from what it implies. Manage the clock, move the ball foreword consistently and minimize mistakes. In the real world NFL these are all very effective ways to win a game. But when you apply these to a game of Madden, things get boring quick. He shares his 80 overall rating with several unproven young guns – Blake Bortles, Dak Prescott and Jameis Winston – who despite being on the rise, lack the experience that Smith has in the league. It’s shocking to see the developers show such favoritism to certain veterans while leaving Smith out in the dust.
7 Martellus Bennett – 90
It’s been a while since the Patriots flaunted the receiving duo of Gronkowski and Hernandez, but New England seems to have once again found themselves that one-two punch they once possessed. After trading for Martellus Bennett over the offseason, the Patriots easily have the best tight end duo in the league. While Bennett is most certainly one of the most athletic tight ends out there, is it really alright to say he’s among the best? A quick look to his stats will show that he isn’t in the same class as guys like Gronk, Olsen or Reed, yet he’s rated similarly to all of them. You can do some pretty eye opening stuff with Bennett in this year’s Madden, just don’t expect to see it translate on the football field.
6 Jordan Matthews – 80
Looking at the receivers surrounding Jordan Matthews in the current madden ratings, you’d be hard pressed to find many solid talents among them. Matthews is a starting receiver in the NFL who has yet to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving. It’s not entirely his fault though, as the Philly passing game has been abysmal since he arrived. But Matthews has been the team’s lone bright spot at the position so far. He gets overshadowed by guys like Beckham and Bryant in his division, but nonetheless he deserves some respect for what he’s been able to do with the Eagles with such an inconsistent passing game. What’s worse is the abysmal catching rating they gave him. At 82 it’s worse than washed out Mike Wallace and recently converted quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who boasts an 86 rating throughout eight weeks of football.
5 Chandler Jones – 86
What’s really weird about this one is that even after putting up career numbers in New England, Chandler Jones’ Overall rating in this year’s Madden actually started off lower than it was in last year’s iteration. With an overall of 88 in Madden 16, Jones was moved down to an 82 overall when the initial rosters were released. While his rating has gone up, it’s still lower than last year. What’s worse, he saw his block shedding rating slip five points after posting three combined tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against the Seahawks in week 7. He’s had a fantastic season so far, yet sits behind guys like Sean Lee and Terrell Suggs in the ratings. Hopefully the devs wake up and buff him up a little.
4 Larry Fitzgerald – 92
At 33 years old, Larry Fitzgerald has proved that he still belongs in the NFL, even if he’s inching towards the wrong side of 30. Last year saw a revival in his career that pretty much no one saw coming. While it was incredibly impressive for a player of his age, the Madden devs seem to have gotten a little bit too far ahead of themselves with this one. Ask yourself, “Is Larry Fitzgerald a top 5 receiver in the NFL?” At this point in his career he isn’t. Yet, he shares an overall rating with both DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr, two young receivers who – admittedly have been suffering through a bit of a slump recently – are currently two of the most dynamic in the league. Fitzgerald’s ratings seem to reflect what they were half a decade ago and as much as you’d like to cheer for the old man, he isn’t anywhere near the same player some of these young guys currently are.
3 Mike Evans – 86
It’s pretty surprising to see the Madden devs continuously shaft Mike Evans in the ratings while they hand out top notch numbers to fading veterans like Fitzgerald. Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry and even Alshon Jeffery are all rated higher than the Bucs wideout. Pretty hard to imagine considering Evans has been putting up monster numbers this year. Compared to his draft classmates – Beckham, Watkins and Landry – Evans has performed above expectations this year and can be looked at as the third best receiver in the NFL this year next to Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. It looks like the developers didn’t get the message however, as Evans is on par with receivers such as Marvin Jones and Jeremy Maclin. Ask yourself who you’d rather have on your team throughout 60 minutes and you’ll quickly realize that someone over at EA has been dropping the ball on this one. Ironic.
2 David Johnson – 89
David Johnson has been playing like a man possessed throughout the first two months of the current NFL season. Johnson started right where he left off after taking the league by storm throughout the last half of his rookie year. You can’t find a better running back in the NFL right now. He’s explosive, powerful and dynamic, think of having a cross between LaDanian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk on the field. But his Madden rating doesn’t really apply to his on field ability. In all fairness to Le’Veon Bell, Johnson has just played better over a longer period of time this season. He should at least be on par with Bell at 95 overall, yet he finds himself bordering the elite tier 90 overall ratings with guys like Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy. Both are good backs, but not exactly on par with Johnson at this point in the season.
1 Danny Amendola – 82
Just like Danny Amendola himself, we end this list on a rather unsatisfactory note. The fact that the Patriots see it fit to spread the ball to multiple targets rather than focus in on a few key guys is probably the only reason he still finds himself on the team and a contributing factor as to why he finds himself with a rating of anything over 70 in this year’s Madden. Amendola has only been listed as the starter once this year. He’s snagged a few touchdowns but caught only 16 passes. It’s clear to see that he isn’t a focal point of this offense, let alone a starting caliber receiver in the NFL. Still, the Madden devs have seen it fit to place him higher than guys like Donte Moncrief, Josh Gordon and Jordan Matthews. Only in a video game could Amendola be ranked above these receivers and even then it’s a little hard to swallow.