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Player Ratings Midseason Update

We just passed the midway point of the NFL season – it’s time to look at this season’s big movers.

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It’s that special time of year. It’s the mid-season Madden NFL 19 Player Ratings Awards. Cue thunderous applause.

You’re right, those aren’t real awards and nobody actually gets anything. I don’t have the time to shop or money to buy trophies. For that, I’m sorry. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give NFLers praise for their hard work just to keep their Madden rating up.

Some people say they play for fame, others for the money. But we all know the truth. These guys only play football to see themselves in Madden. All other factors are irrelevant because they don’t fit the narrative I’m going for here, so stick with me.

And we’re talking, like, legit in Madden – not your crazy-good created player. No, these are actual players in game and won’t rest until they see their OVR on the rise. For now, we take a look at some of the best players over the first half or so of the NFL season. 

First-half MVP


It seems like such a long time ago when I asked Todd Gurley for his own ratings prediction for Madden 18. All he said was “I started out of college with an 80, so if they give me anything less than that, somebody at EA SPORTS is going to have to fight me.” That season, he started as an 85 OVR, but his post-Jeff Fisher career has been kind. He’s now climbed into the mid-90s, has established himself as the elite running back of the NFL, and won the crown for First-half MVP. He wins because of his continuous ratings climb, versatile stick moves, and because I’ve just talked about Patrick Mahomes WAY too much. Regardless, it’s well deserved. 

Best First-half Rookie


The Denver Broncos’ season has been a struggle. But leave it to a rookie running back to provide the brightest spot of the season. Though fellow rookie rusher Royce Freeman has been quite admirable, it’s Lindsay that’s gone from undrafted to unbelievable. Lindsay was buried in the depth chart and started the season super low in the ratings. But he quickly climbed his way up with explosive running, totaling over 700 yards in just nine games and limited action at the start. Alvin Kamara did something similar last season, so let’s see if Lindsay can keep the ball moving. 

Most Improved Player of the First Half


Look. I had to talk about him. Mahomes has quickly become the best QB in the NFL. It’s just getting more difficult to argue with each drive. Yes, he has tons of talent surrounding him, but his level of defensive dissection is next-level right now. He sports the poise of a QB that has years of NFL experience and his cannon of an arm makes excellent use of his speedster Tyreek Hill. He’s gone from decent QB to elite, and his momentum through the ratings is proof of that. 

Those are the big mentions of the season so far. But here are some other players that deserve some recognition as we move beyond the midway point of the NFL season. 

 

Three Big Movers for QBs


Just like he does every year, Rivers is quietly having himself quite the season. His name is almost never put into the elite category, but he consistently plays at an amazing level and has always kept the Chargers competitive. He’s also snuck into the 90 OVRs this season.


While the foundation of the Rams’ offense is definitely Gurley, Goff has proven himself as a more than capable signal caller. He’s well on pace to shatter his yardage total last season and already has a whopping 20 TDs on the year. That’s behind only Mahomes with his absurd 29. 


Simply put, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a better team with Fitzmagic at the helm. The offense clicks in ways it didn’t before. The team is loaded with talented pass catchers and, for better or worse, Fitzpatrick has always shown little fear in attempting touch passes. That might not pay off all the time, but when it does it’s outstanding. A red-hot Fitzpatrick is a scary thing to watch. 

Three Big Movers for HBs


It takes out-of-this-world gameplay to perform at a level where a team doesn’t miss Le’Veon Bell. Conner’s done just that, providing the Pittsburgh Steelers an excellent ground game when he’s fed often. 


McCaffrey is one of the more versatile backs in football.  While his real-life touchdown total will always suffer since Cam Newton is his own best red zone option, McCaffrey is the best backfield passing option in Madden.


While Mahomes is putting defenses on their heels, Hunt is reaping all the benefits. Already an effective rusher, Hunt is flat-out dominating opponents on the ground. Right now, the Chiefs simply have too many weapons to account for, and Hunt is the most dangerous of them all. 

Three Big Movers for WRs


Coming into this season, the big talk was the explosive potential of Kirk Cousins throwing to Stefon Diggs. Turns out, while still very good, it’s the Thielen-Cousins connection that’s the one to watch. There’s only been two games this season where Thielen didn’t catch a TD, and only one where he didn’t have over 100 yards. 


At the start of the season, Hill was already the best speedster in Madden 19. But it became very clear early on that something else had to be done. Following Week 6, we maxed out Hill’s speed to 99. The combination of Hill’s speed with a cannon named Mahomes has made quite the sight in the NFL this season. 


While defenses fight to accommodate for the ultra-talented A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd has been stealing the show operating out of the slot. It takes a lot of success to climb up in the ratings, but for a WR to fight his way into the 80s for OVR midway through the season, that’s a heck of an accomplishment. 


Coming into this season, the big talk was the explosive potential of Kirk Cousins throwing to Stefon Diggs. Turns out, while still very good, it’s the Thielen-Cousins connection that’s the one to watch. There’s only been two games this season where Thielen didn’t catch a TD, and only one where he didn’t have over 100 yards. 

Five Players Falling in Ratings


A highly talented CB, Peters has had a difficult few weeks. He looked completely outclassed trying to cover the Saints’ Mike Thomas on Sunday. Still high enough in the ratings to be effective in Madden, Peters is tumbling dangerously fast in the ratings column. 


This season has hurt Cardinals fans in a big way. Falling out of the 90 OVRs, David Johnson remains an elite talent. Arizona hasn’t been able to establish an adequate passing game and hasn’t shown enough urgency to get D.J. the ball in space, instead just running him into the tackles play after play. Out of anyone down in the ratings, it’s Johnson that has the ability to bounce back in a big way. 


The Cowboys haven’t looked right. A big reason is that their once dominant O-line is battered and not 100 percent. The offense isn’t exactly airing it out either, leaving Zeke to face more stacked boxes than usual. He’s not plummeting down the ratings, but Zeke needs a big game to shake off the downward pull.


I know, I’ve been … unkind to Eli this year. But it’s hard to remain positive watching endless check down passes from a QB that’s lost his confidence and has won two Super Bowls. He hasn’t fallen much in term of numbers, but it does take a stagnant performance to fall when you’re already this low. 


After lighting it up as the Vikings starter last year, Keenum came into Denver to breathe new life into an offense desperately needing passing game. It’s still not quite there, despite having some excellent passing options and a better-than-expected rushing attack. Keenum can right the ship, but it’s a matter of getting everyone on the same page. 

Daniel Williams (Follow Dan on Twitter @thatDanW)


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