While Madden Ultimate Team and online play have been a big draw for players, the chance to take control of your favorite team and lead them to the Super Bowl has always been the biggest appeal of Madden, and it is no different this year.
But if you aren't a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles or New England Patriots, how can you build your way to the Super Bowl? It may take some time, but here are the tips and tricks you need to find success in Franchise Mode.
Salary Cap Management
If you are a team that has very little cap space, like the Jacksonville Jaguars, then getting to grips with your salaries and cap hits is vital. Even if you have $30+ million in cap space you should look at how your spending breaks down.
Building a strong team in the NFL requires a lot of depth, in Madden it requires a good starting lineup and depth at the right spots. Overspending on backups that rarely see the field or make little impact is a real problem when it comes to managing your salary cap. If you have a player on a big contract that simply doesn't touch the ball regularly or see a lot of snaps, then get them off your books via trade or simply by cutting them so that you can use the money to retain the impact players.
Teams will be in shotgun with three wide receivers, one tight end, and one running back for the most part. This means that spending a lot of money at positions like linebacker is not a good idea. You will have just two linebackers on the field for most of the plays, and while you need cover for injuries and 3 or 4 linebackers for goal line and short yardage situations, to a certain extent they can be almost anyone. This is also the position you should control more often than not, and so splashing out a huge contract on a superstar is unnecessary. As great a Luke Kuechly is, his $7.73m per year could be better spent on help at cornerback and offensive line where the CPU will do the majority, if not the entirety, of the work.
If your roster needs a huge overhaul, such as the Buffalo Bills or Miami Dolphins, then don't be afraid to spend a season purging overpriced players from your cap. Tanking is rare in the NFL, but it can be an effective strategy in Madden, where things like player morale and fan happiness are far less important. Players like Robert Quinn and Kiko Alonso, who offer very little and eat up cap space, should be dumped so you can get their future salary off your books and free yourself to make better signings in the future.
Know Your Style
In the end, success in Madden comes down to the games and racking up wins. You should get to know how you like to operate and build your roster accordingly. There's no point in paying a lot of money to receivers if you love to line up with two tight ends and a full back and run the ball. Equally, if you only ever pass to receivers and running backs, then paying big money to a tight end is a waste.
You should create an offense that fits your quarterbacks talents. For example, if he is super accurate on short throws but doesn't have great arm strength then it is no good having a receiver corps that is all deep threats and lacks a Julian Edelman or Jarvis Landry-type of underneath pass catcher. If you love to hold the ball and chuck it deep then trying to do that with just slot guys will be a fruitless task.
Understand how you play the game and then mold your roster to fit, don't try to adapt your game to the strengths of the roster.
New to Madden 19 are offensive and defensive schemes. These are effectively team philosophies, such as Vertical Power Run or Tampa 2, that define how you want your units to play. Each player has preferred schemes for their skill set, and getting a good match between the scheme you run and your personnel really helps. Oddly, changing schemes doesn't lock you into a playbook or play calling type, so this has no real effect on gameplay. What it does is give an XP boost in training to players who fit the scheme you have chosen during training.
This means that scheme fit players develop faster and can improve more quickly, allowing you to improve the overall quality of your roster. If you can combine some quality veterans with talent and scheme fit younger players, then you can have a team that grows into a contender very quickly.
This comes back to knowing your style as well. It is no good giving yourself a 3-4 defense if you play better out of a 4-3, or setting your offensive scheme to Multiple Power Run when you really excel in West Coast Zone Run offense. Set your scheme to fit your playing style, then build the roster to fit it.
Drafting well is a quick path to success. Just ask Seattle, whose entire run to back-to-back Super Bowls was fueled by their performance in the 2011 and 2012 drafts, or New Orleans who nailed the 2017 draft and were a dominate force because of it.
In Madden, draft day can end up being rather anti-climactic. Trade offers are often poor, and it is very easy to get caught reaching. There are many ways to maximize your chances of drafting a quality player in Madden. The best one is simply to use all of your scouting points every week. Start by unlocking the first stat for as many players as possible. If that stat is a B or above then go ahead and unlock the second one. That method should carry you into the postseason when the Combine stats become available. If they have good test scores along with two stats of B or more, then go ahead and unlock the third one. If they have had some headlines about them during the year too, then they are likely to be good players.
The combination of good Combine results and good scouting stats should lead to you drafting impact players even into the late rounds that can help your team. Thanks to the rookie wage cap they will be cheap, meaning even more cap space to sign free agents and improve the rest of your roster.
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