Madden has often had a hyped up ratings system. In recent years a handful of players have had the maximum 99 OVR rating on launch, far higher than the best players in FIFA, NHL, or NBA games will see. However, Madden 20 looks set to end that.
A ratings overhaul is coming to Madden 20, increasing the spread of ratings as well as improving the tangible difference between a 91 OVR and an 89 OVR player. All of this means that the Madden 20 ratings are perhaps the most anticipated in Madden history.
The ratings are expected to drop in July, but in the meantime we are left to speculate who will top the OVR charts. This article will look specifically at the wide receiver position, and we will group the players into three categories: Elite 90+ OVR stars, the difference-makers in the 85-89 OVR range, and then the solid and reliable pass catchers in the 79-84 range.
90+ OVR wide receivers
Likely wide receivers: Antonio Brown (OAK), Julio Jones (ATL), Odell Beckham (CLE), DeAndre Hopkins (HOU), Tyreek Hill (KC)
If Madden 20 is really serious about this ratings revolution then there should only be a handful of 90+ wide receivers.
Last year Antonio Brown was the cover star of Madden 19, had a launch rating of 99, and was wearing a Steelers jersey. A lot can chance in 12 months. Now Brown is a much-maligned personality and a member of the Oakland Raiders. That shouldn't affect his standing on Madden 20 though. Brown's streak of four-straight First Team All-Pro berths was broken last season, but he still racked up 104 catches, 1,297 yards, and an NFL-best 15 receiving touchdowns.
Julio Jones just barely missed out on the max rating last year, picking up a 98 OVR, but the Falcons star continues to be one of the most unstoppable forces in the NFL. He led the league in receiving yards last year with 1,677 and for the third time in yards per game at 104.8. He's long been Atlanta's best player and that looks set to continue.
Joining Brown in the "new home for 2019" is Odell Beckham who was traded to Cleveland just before the draft this year. Beckham's on-field production has been limited in recent years thanks to injuries and the ineptitude around him, but with this trade comes a buzz of excitement that he could return to being the uncoverable beast he was in 2014-16. Beckham put up 1,052 yards and 6 touchdowns in 12 games last season.
The other two likely to hit 90+ are Houston's DeAndre Hopkins, who has undoubtedly the best hands in the business, and the pocket rocket of Tyreek Hill. Hopkins' remarkable route running and catching ability made him an All-Pro last season with 1,572 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Tyreek Hill's big play ability is already legendary, and after a 17.0 yards per catch average last year I can see him building on last years 87 OVR launch rating.
Antonio Brown: 95 OVR
Julio Jones: 95 OVR
Odell Beckham: 93 OVR
DeAndre Hopkins: 93 OVR
Tyreek Hill: 91 OVR
89-85 OVR wide receivers
Likely wide receivers: Michael Thomas (NO), Keenan Allen (LAC), Adam Thielen (MIN), JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT), Mike Evans (TB), Davante Adams (GB), Stefon Diggs (MIN)
This range is likely to be well populated as there are a number of seriously talented wide receivers in the NFL right now and regardless of any changes Madden 20 makes to its rating process there is just going to be a very busy second tier.
It's likely to start with the Saints' Michael Thomas, a ridiculous talent that caught an NFL-high 125 passes last year for 1,405 yards and 9 touchdowns. Keenan Allen is another that could be knocking on the door of 90 on launch. Playing for the Chargers he is not as well-thought of as other big market receivers, but Allen is a remarkably technical player that can create separation and rack up yards.
The Minnesota duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are also likely to be in this tier of receivers. They combined for 215 catches, 2,393 yards, and 18 touchdowns last season and have been growing together over the last two years into an incredible tandem.
One of the reasons Pittsburgh felt they could trade away Antonio Brown was the play of youngster JuJu Smith-Schuster. In just his second season in the NFL JuJu racked up 111 catches for 1,426 yards and 7 touchdowns and displayed an incredible big-play ability.
Two others that should be around here are Mike Evans and Davante Adams. Evans is not as well respected as his draft-mate Odell Beckham but can be just as destructive. He put up 1,524 yards last year on just 86 catches, his fifth-straight 1,000+ yard season. Davante Adams had an impressive 2018 too, posting career-highs in catches (111), yards (1,386), and touchdowns (13).
Michael Thomas: 89 OVR
Keenan Allen: 89 OVR
Adam Thielen: 88 OVR
JuJu Smith-Schuster: 88 OVR
Mike Evans: 87 OVR
Davante Adams: 86 OVR
Stefon Diggs: 85 OVR
84-80 OVR wide receivers
Likely receivers: Brandin Cooks (LAR), Emmanuel Sanders (DEN), TY Hilton (IND), Alshon Jeffery (PHI), AJ Green (CIN), Amari Cooper (DAL), Julian Edelman (NE), Jarvis Landry (CLE)
Another busy tier as the NFL has prioritized passing attacks and depth at wide receiver, but with the there were 27 wide receivers with an 86+ OVR rating on launch in Madden 19, but if this ratings overhaul is to mean anything they need will have to trim that number and some more familiar faces will fall down the WR rankings.
Those that don't survive are likely to end up in this tier. These are the players that can still beat coverages, win jump balls, and break games wide open, but they are just going to be less consistent and less dominant than the others.
Brandin Cooks is one of those that will fall. He was an 87 OVR on launch last year, but his limitations have really come out in the last two years as he moved first to New England and then to the Rams. He racked up 1,204 yards with LA last season, but only scored 5 touchdowns and couldn't really over-produce for the system he was in.
Emmanuel Sanders only played 12 games last year and managed 868 yards and 4 touchdowns. He's been well-ranked in Madden for a while but his on-field production, for one reason or another, has not lived up to it. He should drop this year. Alshon Jeffery is another in this camp, he hasn't posted a 1,000 yard season since 2014 and only caught 65 balls last season, so holding onto his 90 launch OVR is very unlikely.
TY Hilton is a curious case. He was an 89 OVR last year and put up 1,270 yards last year, but he has been such a one-trick pony for the Colts that he may well suffer from this shakeup. He could well come in with a 87 OVR, but I expect him to be down here.
AJ Green has long been considered an ultra-talented player and almost always gets a 90+ rating, but he has topped 1,100 yards just once in the last 5 years and has missed 13 games in the last 3 seasons. The injuries, lack of production, and his age (he'll be 31 on release) means that AJ Green could be the biggest victim of this ratings overhaul.
Amari Cooper could well have dropped down the receiver rankings but his trade to Dallas mid-season rejuvenated the former first-round pick. In 9 games with the Cowboys he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns and was quickly Dak Prescott's favorite target.
The Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is another that is likely to fall into this group after a higher rating last year. He picked up just 74 catches, 850 yards, and 6 touchdowns in the regular season before turning on the jets in the playoffs and posting 129.3 yards per game.
The final player in this category is likely to be Jarvis Landry. The Browns receiver is no longer the best pass catcher on his team, so his often inflated rating is going to come down after an 81-catch, 976-yard season.
Brandin Cooks: 84 OVR
Emmanuel Sanders: 83 OVR
TY Hilton: 83 OVR
Alshon Jeffery: 83 OVR
AJ Green: 83 OVR
Amari Cooper: 82 OVR
Julian Edelman: 81 OVR
Jarvis Landry: 80 OVR
Do you agree with our predictions? How do you think the ratings overhaul will impact wide receivers? Let us know in the comments below!