Sometimes, your Madden team is so stacked with backups, an injury almost seems like a blessing in disguise. After all, you had an emotional connection with your virtual backup and really struggled to put your 87 overall veteran RB in instead of your 81 overall rookie.
Other times, however, your backups are straight weak sauce. You can’t put in that backup LT, otherwise you’d be looking at drive-ending sacks every possession.
For those of you in the second situation, I have a solution: these players with low ratings that will surprise you with their play on the field. You can use this to pick up free agents or trade low round picks to teams for these guys, although a few might cost you a little.
I’m not going to pick any offensive lineman, but will give you a starting rotation around that: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 DE, 1 DT, 2 OLB, 2 ILB, 2 CB, 2 S, 1 K and 1 P.
Notably, this is as of the Week 2 roster update, and I’m only discussing Franchise mode play with them, as I don’t have MUT. And of course, as this is all about how the overall grade doesn’t matter, I won’t be giving any grades for anything. Good speed can be 95, or 87 if they play faster than that.
QB: Jacoby Brissett, New England Patriots, 70 OVR
Brissett probably won’t come cheap, but even in simulated games is well worth it. Unlike most players in this overall-tier, Brissett throws a decent deep ball accuracy wise and can actually scramble. Throwing on the run might not be the best (Read: Horrendous), and his accuracy might force some easy completions to be dropped, but he overall is a good player, and I’ve seen him but up 3,000 yards and 30 TDs in my Franchises.
RB: Kenjon Barner, Philadelphia Eagles, 69 OVR
Barner is fast, agile and elusive. While I wouldn’t trust him to run the ball between the tackles, the PA HB Swing pass and Slip Screens could make Barner an absolute stud to enhance your team should your top 2 (or in some cases 4) running backs go down.
RB: Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears, 66 OVT
Howard is a rookie who lit the world on fire during his senior season at Indiana. The former-Hoosier is a great mix, and can help in any area of the run game. Howard has decent enough speed to run outside and get away from linebackers, and is skillful in Juke and Stiff Arm. He won’t be a 5+ YPC guy, but you can get 75 Yards and a TD out of him.
WR: Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens, 70 OVR
Perriman is a former 1st Round Pick of the Ravens who possesses two things that make him one of my favorite receivers in Madden. Period. Speed, and Release. Anything other than a 9-Route is tricky with Perriman, but if you send him on a straight line, wait 2 seconds and throw the ball as far as possible, you’re in for a big play.
WR: Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings, 70 OVR
More speed from another former top pick. Patterson was lighting the world on fire his rookie year, but fell off immensely. But for some reason, in Madden, he’s just really good. I mean like making catches over people, never dropping open passes. It’s hard to explain without actually playing with him, but Patterson is just good.
TE: Khari Lee, Detroit Lions, 67 OVR
Lee is a very good receiver, but is a liability in blocking, so don’t run any tosses to his side on the goal line. Lee has above-average speed and has good hands. His blocking and awareness are low, but he makes good catches on most plays, and that makes him good enough for sure.
DE: Stephen Paea, Washington Redskins, 69 OVR
If you found this blog through /r/Madden, you might’ve noticed my Bears flair. The Bears were SO excited to draft Paea out of Oregon St. The sole reason was that he set the NFL Combine record for Bench Press, with 49 reps. At 225 lbs. Oh lawd. Don’t expect much agility, and don’t use him in a 4-3 scheme since he’s not a pass rusher, but in a 3-4 where you want run stoppers clogging up the middle, he’s your guy.
DE: Dion Jordan, Miami Dolphins, 68 OVR
Literally the opposite of Paea, Dion Jordan was a superstar in college at Oregon, and the Miami Dolphins traded up to take the pass rusher. We expected him, along with Cameron Wake, to combine for about 30 sacks a season. Instead, Jordan has had on and off-the-field issues. Luckily, none of those come into play in Madden. His athleticism is elite for most DE’s, especially those at this lower-overall-level.
DT: Andrew Billings, Cincinnati Bengals, 68 OVR
This rookie out of Baylor is another strong dude. But he also has pretty decent Acceleration which allows him to get off the blocks, use his speed to push those big guys on the line backwards, and blow up running plays.
OLB: Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers, 70 OVR
The Steelers haven’t had much luck with late 1st round picks, but Dupree is still good in Madden. He’s an athletic freak, where everything besides the attributes that don’t mean anything when you’re user-controlling him are what keep him right at a 70 overall.
OLB: Kamu Grugier-Hill, Philadelphia Eagles, 62 OVR
This is the second fastest OLB in the game. The entire game, not just among guys who are 70 or lower. He has pretty good block shedding and tackling stats, but that speed makes him so much fun to use. The only faster player is a 60 overall, but he’s a former CB, so he can’t get through blocks.
ILB: Jon Bostic, Detroit Lions, 68 OVR
Any dude whose nickname in college was “Boom-Stick” must be a stud in Madden. Good speed, good hit power, you can user a 68 overall MLB and not feel like you’re using a giant sack of potatoes. That means your solid defenders can just take care of business on their parts, and you can enjoy shoring up the weak link of your chain.
ILB: Nick Kwiatkowski, Chicago Bears, 65 OVR
Kwiatkowski is a rookie from defensive powerhouse West Virginia. Obviously, that’s a joke. But Kwiatkowski is young, fast, good hit power, good pursuit skills. He is a fun player to use, and in Franchise mode you might even be able to get him to 75 overall.
CB: Anthony Brown, Dallas Cowboys, 68 OVR
This dude is insane fast. Like, fastest CB in the game fast. He has decent press, and coverage skills. But even if he doesn’t he can make up for it with his incredible speed. Surprisingly, he’s not a good return man.
CB: Deiondre’ Hall, Chicago Bears, 64 OVR
This rookie is 6’2″, but besides that is only okay. No stats really jump off the page, but somehow he just plays well on the field. Hall has already showed promise with the Bears in real life, and his virtual counter-part has looked pretty good as well.
FS: Winston Guy, Free Agent, 69 OVR
Guy hits hard. His speed is not very good, especially for the FS position, but if a QB throws the ball high, Guy might knock the ball out. His pursuit is also good, and while he isn’t the best player on this list to use, it’s still doable.
SS: Ibraheim Campbell, Cleveland Browns, 70 OVR
My bias is showing again. I use Campbell because I’m a big fan of Northwestern in college ball. I found him very fast and quick, and if you’re user-controlling him, he can make up a lot of ground, and can be your ball hawk safety.
K: Kyle Brindza, Free Agent, 67 OVR
Brindza was a stud at Notre Dame. Now, not so much. He does have one of the most powerful legs in the game, but in order to make a 50 yarder you need the length, AND the accuracy, and Brindza’s problem lies in that. But if you think you can deal with a low accuracy score, this man will get you touchbacks and long field goals.
P: Swayze Waters, Free Agent, 69 OVR
Okay, so there are only four punters 70 or lower. Waters has good kick power. So, uh, he wins!
Who are your favorite sleepers in Madden? Do you think these guys are awful to play with?