How Do You Build Your Madden Franchise Team?

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So I have to thank @donny_moore, one of Madden NFL 10’s designers, for inspiring this post. As I monitor my twitter feed he is constantly inundating me with his awesome updates about all the last-minute changes to the madden roster and about his epic games with @raczilla. So if I got a little over board here, blame theme. Last year I told you that Madden wasn’t just a video game, it was a way of life. So when I say I am a hardcore Madden player I mean it, but what I love most is franchise mode. I love the wheeling and dealing, the evaluating of talent, deciding whether we need to win now or build for the future. When it comes to this I am anal. I never thought I would admit this anywhere but I actually spend the first few hours once I get Madden just setting up my franchise and building my team, I literally might not actually play a game the first day I get it.


Lots of people just go about their franchise all willy nily but not me, I study the league, my team, and what I am trying to accomplish and then I set about building my team. So I used to always start off with my favorite team but these days I usually pick a team that isn’t so good and then I work to make them the best in the league.

There’s something that just appeals to me about the dedication to the underdog that makes Madden so fantastic. It’s a real sense of you against the world, and whether you’re taking on your friends over PSN or Xbox Live (hopefully using the latest Broadband technology to maximize your online gameplay) or taking on the AI, it’s a real achievement to see them triumph. I suppose what really motivates me is that sense of achievement.zkgmad1044

Phillip Rivers might be just young enough to keep, maybe.

When I first attempted to write this I realized that after I was at 5 paragraphs and I had only covered like 3 positions I realized that wasn’t going to be the best format and so I had to rethink my approach. I am a huge madden fan and have been for as long as I can remember, ever since I got my first copy of Madden, it was Madden 92 and there was only burst, spin, and hurdle but boy was hurdle effective lol. So as the game grew and they let you do more and more I got even more into the game and with the introduction of franchise mode a few years back well the game hasn’t been the same for me since.

When it comes to Madden for me, Franchise Mode is where it’s at. I know lots of people love to play online but not me, nope, building my franchise is where you will find me. Seems like everyone has their own strategy for Madden Franchise Mode, but I wanted to share with you mine and then hear yours.

When it comes to building my Franchise I have a couple of basic principles I always follow:

  • No one is untouchable for the right deal.
  • Always try to get younger.
  • Don’t hamstring myself by doing deals that even though they may be good for a season, will cost me dearly when it comes time to pay those cap penalties.
  • Don’t get tied up with the names, the ratings are all that matter.


Collecting DB’s in the mold of TP ain’t a bad idea.

The four principles always hold true and if you follow them you will be as successful a GM as me, I mean people can say what they want to about playing the game and I will be honest I am probably middle of the pack as far as skills but when it comes to running a franchise I am second to none.  Here are my thoughts on how to build a team that is formidable and more importantly sustainable because how many of you have made so many deals in year one that cap penalties made it nearly impossible to even continue year 2, come on we have all done it.


QB– The quarterback position is really important and your style of play will determine what type of QB you choose. Personally, I like a mobile QB so I am looking for someone like a Pat White or maybe a Josh Freeman type player. Usually your QB will be the highest or one of the highest paid players on your team.  If you are starting with a team that has an established QB like the Colts or Pats, then you have an interesting opportunity because no matter how great Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are they are getting a little old, and you gotta ask yourself are they your QB’s of the future and that answer is no. My recommendation trade them now while their value is high and you should be able to get a good solid young QB and a few other good players and/or high draft picks for them. If you wait then you are just going to have to watch their skills and value decline as they age and remember that just isn’t how dynasties are built.

RB – The running back position has one of the shortest averages as far as length of career and you have to treat it as such. To me to when it comes to running backs, I need two types a speed back and a power back. This has only become the “in” thing to do in recent years in the NFL but I have been doing this on Madden since at least 2002. You need a back that can get you those breakaway runs, but then you need a workhorse that can wear down the defense and get you those all important 2-3 yards on 3rd down. For your speed back, think the mold of Brian Westbrook and Maurice Jones-Drew though that doesn’t mean go get those players. What this does mean is look for a guy with 93+ speed and good catching and a low fumble rating, because the secret about most of the fastest guys on Madden in the past was that they fumbled like every other play. As far as power backs go, think Brandon Jacobs and Jonathan Stewart, you need a guy that has decent speed (85+) and a very high truck and break tackle rating.

WR –  The diva position as some like to call it. When it comes to WR, you need a speed guy to spread the field and keep the defense honest, think Devry Henderson and Bernard Berrian, a possession receiver that has great hands and that you can send across the middle like a Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress. Having great WR’s becomes less important with a good QB and a solid running game, so don’t get caught on trying to get the Randy Moss’s and the Larry Fitzgerald’s of  the world, rather look for players with similar builds and ratings that you can find and bring along.

The OL Out of all the places that you will watch your team’s salary get sucked up, your OL is like a money black hole. The OL is maybe the most important part of your team but you have to get those salaries under control. My strategy here is to get lots of young guys in and have them grow together, so I always look for young guys with maybe about a fourth of the salary and if I can manage to get all them to have an average of 80+, then I think I can build a great O-Line in 2-3 years.

If you like this article, make sure you check out ZKG’s Madden 10 Franchise Central


LB/DE – When it comes to LB and DE, there are two things that matter to me, speed and tackle rating. I need DE’s that can come off the edge and crash down on the opposing team’s QB. I can improve their technique and strength, but you can’t fix speed that much. I usually just stack my guys at these positions up with guys that are at least 85+ speed and have at least 80+ tackle ratings, that way I can pretty much use LB’s and DE’s interchangeably.

Secondary – When it comes to my secondary, I am all about speed and hard hitters. I want guys that can stick with the fastest receivers in the league, but can come down and cover the run effectively, hate corners and safeties that just get trucked. I love to do a lot of cornerback blitzing and bump and run and having guys who are fast and strong really goes with my style of play. You want to also pay attention to your CB awareness rating, the higher the AWR rating the less likely they are to get caught looking as Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss grabs one over their head, it will happen of course just as infrequently as possible.

Well folks that does it, now you know how I build my franchise team and turn them into a dynasty, so what we want to know now is “How Do You Build Your Madden Franchise Team?”

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Lorenzo Winfrey

Lorenzo Winfrey

Editor-In-Chief at ZoKnowsGaming
I am the Co-Ceo of DLT Digital Media. We are a company that is focused on developing new and innovative web properties in addition to developing WordPress based web sites for others. But before I was all that, I was a gamer.
Lorenzo Winfrey