Running the ball isn’t fashionable in the NFL any more, but it is still crucial to success in Madden 20.
Less risky than throwing, handing the ball off to a quality back can still create big chunks of yards and move the ball down field in a flash.
If you want to control the clock and keep your defense well rested then having a good running game is vital, and having a back you can trust is the main thing that will help you lean on handing the ball off.
The entire hopes of your rushing offense will be on the shoulders of a few good men, but who should they be?
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Todd Gurley II, Los Angeles Rams (97 OVR)
Best Stats: Ball Carrier Vision (99), Break Tackle Rating (96), Juke Move (95), Agility (95), Carrying (94), Acceleration (92), Speed (92), Awareness (91), Trucking (84)
Todd Gurley has lit up the league since the Rams took him 10th overall in the 2015 draft. So much so that last year Gurley signed a four-year, $60 million contract extension with the Rams with $45 million guaranteed, making him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
Gurley responded with an unbelievable 21 TDs and 1831 all purpose yards for the Rams last year. His resume has 3 Pro Bowls in a 4 year career, and a 2017 Offensive Player of the Year award.
As far as looking for the player to carry your franchise, look no further than Gurley. He has the agility (95), juke moves (95) and speed (92) of a top level elusive (92) back. However, he rather impressively combines this with the carrying (94), trucking (84) and strength (75) comparable with some of the best power backs.
His Ball Carrier vision (99) will do a lot of the hard work at the line for you, and whilst his catching (68) isn’t the highest, it’s enough to be a threat down the field.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (94 OVR)
Best Stats: Ball Carrier Vision (98), Awareness (98), Agility (95), Juke Move (94), Acceleration (91), Break Tackle Rating (91), Speed (90), Spin Move (88), Carrying (88), Elusiveness (85)
Running backs rarely go as high in the draft as ‘Zeke’. The Cowboys saw enough in 2016 to take him 4th Overall and they have been celebrating that decision ever since.
Madden 20 rates Elliott as slightly less elusive (85) with speed (90) and carrying (88). However, he is stronger (81) and will often run through defenders with trucking (84). Where Elliott might be more your style would be if you needed jump (94) and catching (75) out of the backfield to make a dual threat.
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Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets (92 OVR)
Best Stats: Ball Carrier Vision (96), Juke Move (95), Agility (95), Carrying (94), Acceleration (92), Spin Move (92), Trucking (90), Speed (89), Elusiveness (86), Awareness (85)
One thing you might notice about this list is that it’s rare to see players over the age of 25. This is a position that takes a battering during a shorter than average career in the NFL. Having left the Steelers for the Jets, many are wondering whether Bell will keep up his numbers in a new city and with another year under his belt.
Bell is another dual threat and holds a lot of Steelers franchise records through his explosive and elusive style. It reflects this in the Juke (95) and Spin (92) moves. Agility (95), acceleration (92) and catching in traffic (77) only make one more excited at the thought of such a quality catching (75) HB.
Be warned though, there is a sharp decline in HB’s once they get to the 28/29/30 marker, and in a lengthy Franchise mode, you may find yourself dealing with a large contract on a declining player. Ironically, an owner of the Jets might wish to cash in on Bell’s current ability to rebuild other parts of the team.
Melvin Gordon III, Los Angeles Chargers (92 OVR)
Best Stats: Juke Move (96), Awareness (95), Carrying (93), Speed (92), Agility (92), Ball Carrier Vision (91), Acceleration (90), Elusiveness (88)
Melvin Gordon has quietly put in 4 very good seasons since joining the league in 2015. Whilst his stats don’t set the page on fire (885 yards in 2018), we can be put that down to struggling with injuries (89). He knows where the end zone is (14 TDs in 2018) and has 2 pro bowls in 4 years in the league.
Gordon has a good mix of stats for anyone new to the game. He’s quick (92) and agile (92) with above average carrying (93). His vision (91) and catching (69) isn’t as high as the aforementioned but decent trucking (78) will break a few tackles and Juke (96) moves will leave some for dead completely.
He’s not the best of the best, but he’s the best of the rest.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (91 OVR)
Best Stats: Break Tackle Rating (97) Agility (96), Carrying (95), Juke Move (95), Spin Move (94), Acceleration (93), Speed (92), Elusiveness (90), Trucking (83)
If you’re doing a Franchise league, the chances are that it will manage up to 5 seasons of glorious trials and heart stopping action. Therefore, if you want a guy who you’ll never have to worry about replacing – Barkley is your boy.
He’s only got one season under his belt since the Giants picked 2nd overall in 2018, but leading the whole NFL with 2,028 all purpose yards, it was a memorable one. Barkley was named Rookie of the Year and set multiple NFL rookie records including most TDs from 50+ yards.
You can tell EA have tried not to get carried away with some intangibles, so awareness (79) and vision (79) seem fair – but these will sky rocket with each season and see Barkley’s overall head towards the high 90s.
His agility (96), carrying (95) and moves (juke 95, spin 94) are the foundations of a player that will become the best back in the league. Barkley can do it all, strength (81) and trucking (83) will have him running over open field defenders. And catching (78) will have him taking screens all the way to the house.
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Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (91 OVR)
Best Stats: Agility (97), Juke Move (93), Acceleration (92), Speed (91), Spin Move (91), Jump (89), Awareness (86), Catching (81)
Another top 10 pick, Christian McCaffrey has proved to be a very solid player despite not tearing up the league the way some of his rivals in this list have. On the spectrum of power back to elusive back – McCaffrey is the prototypical elusive back.
His catching (81) and short route running (82) is on a par with some of the best wide receivers, and you will struggle to beat his agility (97) elsewhere. Where roster spots are like gold dust, its worth noting McCaffrey can help in the return game.
This comes at a cost. His carrying (89) is below that of his top level peers, strength (72) and trucking (54) will lead to more fumbles if you use him the same way you would a power back.
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (90 OVR)
Best Stats: Carrying (98), Break Tackle (94), Ball Carrier Vision (94), Juke Move (93), Jump (92), Agility (92), Acceleration (92), Speed (90), Trucking (89), Awareness (84)
There’s a few top 10 draft picks in this list, but the pre-draft cooler talk in offices around the world usually someone mentions; “there’s always a depth to HB’s, we should pick one up later”.
Kareem Hunt is one of the very good players who helps perpetuate this view. Taken in the early 3rd round of the 2017 draft, Hunt is one of those players that seem’s to have been in the mind for years but still only 23. He’s recently joined the Browns after personal problems hampered last season. Prior to that, he made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season with over 1,300 rushing yards.
In Madden you need not worry about the players issues of the field so we can focus on that stats. Whilst Hunt is not as fast (90) or agile (92) as some other players on the list – it’s definitely above league average.
Hunt is more of a power back and brings breaking tackles (94) and trucking (89) to an impressive carrying (98) score. I would expect him moving up to the mid-90s overall, once you can work on the awareness (84) score after a season or two.
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|Todd Gurley II||LAR||97||24||94||99||92||95|
|Melvin Gordon III||LAC||92||26||93||91||92||92|
|Mark Ingram II||BAL||86||29||89||88||88||87|
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