It’s all about the air attack in today’s NFL. But even though the real-life gridiron has moved away from the ground-n-pound mentality, a quality runner can still make a defense look foolish. If you’re able to combine solid stick skills with one of the Madden elite, then you’re ready to deliver extreme trash talk in some H2H matchups.
With that in mind, let’s look at the top 5 running backs in Madden NFL 18.
1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell is at the heart of the Steel City’s explosive offense. His combination of speed out of his cuts and patience behind the line of scrimmage is unmatched, giving him a 98 Juke. Only one other person in the game matches that score, Tavon Austin. Bell’s Ball Carrier Vision, 97, also only beaten by one player, his teammate Antonio Brown. He has the most consistent blocking scores of the top 5 backs and nearly all his ball carrying stats are in the 90s – his weakest is an 87 Truck rating. When an 87 is one of the “weaker” attributes, that gives you the best overall-rated RB in Madden.
2. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals’ 2016 campaign was one to forget, outside of David Johnson. Johnson not only put himself among the NFL elite, he had an MVP-level season. The team is healthier now, so look for Johnson to continue rolling and for the Cards to be an NFC threat. One of the better-balanced runners in terms of ratings, Johnson also edges out Bell with a 76 Catch rating. That gives he and Theo Riddick the highest Catch rating in the top 30 OVR RBS. Oh, and let’s not forget his Kick Return Rating of 85.
3. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
If Shady has proven anything, it’s that he can shake it. At a 90 Speed, he’s not the fastest back in the game. But combine that with his elusiveness, and he’s a difficult back to stop when the controller is given to a skilled Madden player. If a 93 Elusiveness and Juke of 96 isn’t enough to persuade you, maybe his best-in-position 96 spin move is. He’s also the best route runner of the top 5 RBs. With all of that going for him, Shady is dangerously close to cheat code status.
4. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
Murray’s short and ineffective stint with the Philadelphia Eagles was quickly forgotten. Murray showed a bit of his old form last season, and it was enough to put him in the Madden RB elite, back in the 90s with a 91 OVR. Murray’s 95 Awareness is second only to the immortal Frank Gore among RBs. He scores well as a pass catcher too, racking up mostly high 70s in catch ratings – worth noting is his Catch in Traffic rating of 78. Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, and Charles Sims III are the only better targets in traffic among RBs.
5. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Elliot was the most talented back of the 2016 Draft class, and had enough luck to play behind the Cowboys’ talented offensive line. Pair those factors up, and it only took one year for the former high school track star to crack the top five. With Speed, Acceleration, and Agility all in the 90s, Elliott has the potential for huge positive gains. But outside of his 71 Catch rating, other pass catching scores fall to the 60s. His catching skills might not be as high as the others on this list, but Elliott is a back to always keep an eye on in Madden.
Regardless of what team you’re a fan of, the Beast Quakes were some of the best plays you’ll ever see in football. I miss Marshawn Lynch. What’s that? Oh, he’s back. With who? Didn’t they move to Vegas or something? Never mind. Point is, Lynch is back and he’s on what should be one of the more exciting teams to play as this year. Lynch might not be as fast as he used to be with a Speed of 89, but he still has a 94 Truck and a 92 Stiff Arm. Bringing him down is going to be an issue.
The award for best running back core goes to the Atlanta Falcons. Seriously, it seems a little unfair to have Devonta Freeman (89 OVR) and Tevin Coleman (85 OVR) on the same team. Play as the Falcons, and fatigue at the running back position is a non-issue. They both even have solid Kick Return ratings. So, congrats on the award Falcons. The New England Patriots were the runners up after they picked up 27 RBs during the offseason. Maybe check the math on that one.