With Madden NFL 18 nearing its mid-life, it’s a good time to review some of the best cards available in Madden Ultimate Team. In this two-part series, I will go over the Top 10 MUT cards for both offense and defense. It should be noted that these are cards I have experience with and may not represent the ACTUAL statistical best offering from EA’s ever-popular card collection mode. I am also not including the newly released Team Of The Year player cards. If you feel like any players were glaringly omitted, feel free, as always, to comment below. With that said, let’s kick the list off with number 10.
10. Tier 4 Power Up Tom Brady
While he may be the G.O.A.T. in the real world, Tom Brady isn’t quite at that level in Madden Ultimate Team. While possessing a 96 overall rating, the meta of Madden NFL 18 is one in which mobile quarterbacks still rule the gridiron. Brady is very strong in terms of his accuracy to all levels of the field, including a 91 deep throw accuracy and has an exceptionally high 96 awareness rating. His 93 rated throw power allows him to hit any throw needed on the field as well. His downfall comes when trying to move out of the pocket. His 86 overall throw on the run isn’t terrible but, when paired with 67 speed and absolutely atrocious elusiveness ratings, Brady becomes a bit of a statue in the backfield. Because there are other quarterback cards available that pair much better speed with a minimal hit to accuracy and arm strength, Brady gets knocked back to number 10 on this list.
9. New Year’s College Special Edition DeMarco Murray
This was a limited-time release card I had the fortune of getting. DeMarco Murray cards typically don’t scream elite, but EA really pulled out all the stops on this one. With 91 speed paired with 92 trucking, Murray has enough get up and go to get to the edge and can absolutely run over a lot of defenders. With the latest title update nerfing jukes and spins, the ability to lower the shoulder and plow through a defense is even more important than before. He sort of stumbles with an 84 elusiveness rating and he’s merely passable out of the backfield as a pass catcher. Against the best of the best, Murray’s 89 carry rating could lead to some fumbles, but that doesn’t stop Murray from sitting solidly at 9th on this list.
8. Level Master LaDainian Tomlinson
Tomlinson proves his legacy is secure with the Level Master version of his player card. At 95 overall, this was one of the best running backs that was available early in Madden NFL 18. He’s much more a speed back than the Murray card is with 92 speed, 94 acceleration and 94 agility ratings. He’s also got elite ball carrier moves across the board to pair with a 94 elusiveness rating, but another area where this card really shines is as a receiver out of the backfield. With an 85 catch rating and 86 route running, Tomlinson is equally dangerous as a runner or a pass catcher, and with a 93 carry rating, L.T. will also be reliable as a workhorse. The only thing truly holding this card back is lackluster trucking, and the fact that there are a few running backs with better speed and similar skills elsewhere.
7. Tier 5 Power Up Travis Kelce
Yes, you’re reading this correctly. A tight end has made the Top 10 MUT Offensive players. The biggest reason? 87 speed, 89 acceleration, and 88 agility at the tight end position is just plain ridiculous. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, this Kelce card is a burner. When pairing his speed with a 92 catch, catch in traffic and spectacular catch, along with a 93 jump rating, Kelce is a red-zone beast. He’s not all style though, Kelce is also a really good blocker both in the passing and running game. This is by far the best tight end card in the game and is only 7th because it isn’t as vital a position as the others on this list. I highly recommend anyone acquire this card if at all possible.
6. Legends Steve Young
Growing up as a 49ers fan, I have fond memories of watching Steve Young carve up defenses with his arm and his feet. His Legends card is a spot-on representation of the Hall of Fame QB in terms of play style and abilities. Young is pretty fast for a QB with an 86 speed rating. He also has great throw on the run and play-action abilities that go with 90-plus short and medium accuracy. He can hit all levels of the field with his 92-rated throw power and can get out of the pocket quickly with a 92 acceleration rating. If you’re running a West Coast style offense, Young may be the quarterback for you, but beware that his deep accuracy, while good at 88 overall, might be too low for players that want to run more vertical concepts. Also, he’s greatly held back by a 63 carry rating making him very fumble prone on scrambles. His flaws keep him out of the top 5, but he’s still a great card.
5. Snow Beast Calvin Johnson
When talking elite WR cards for Madden Ultimate Team, Calvin Johnson will always be one of the first players brought up. The Snow Beast version, in particular, is an insanely good player card. 93 speed lets him blow by most defenders and a 95 catch rating allows him to snatch the ball out of the sky. To top it off, his 97 spectacular catch rating is the highest I’ve experienced in Madden NFL 18 so far, making Megatron an incredible threat in the red zone. He’s also very elusive with a 95 juke move and a 92 spin move so he’s especially effective running after the catch. As a card, there really is no weaknesses with the Snow Beast Calvin Johnson, and his spot at number 5 is really only a matter of nitpicking and personal preference. As the second-highest rated wide receiver on my list, Calvin Johnson is a near flawless player in MUT.
4. Harvest Barry Sanders
We’ve all come across his wake of devastation. As likely to break opposing players’ controllers as he is virtual ankles, the Harvest Barry Sanders card is my vote for the best running back card in Madden Ultimate Team so far in Madden NFL 18. His 95 speed is incredibly elite, and even without using speed burst he will outrun most players. 96 acceleration and agility ratings let him hit top speed fast and he can turn on a dime. Even after the latest Title Update, Sanders is still capable of ruining someone’s day with 96 elusiveness, juke and spin move ratings, and won’t fumble often with his 94 carry rating. He can even catch the ball out of the backfield fairly well with an 80 catch rating and 78 catch in traffic. Even if the top spot for running backs was up for debate, what can’t be questioned is just how satisfying it is to break defenders off with the Harvest Barry Sanders card.
3. Power Up Tier 5 Julio Jones
Julio Jones’ Tier 5 is the best non-quarterback card in the game. Period. Take everything you love about the Snow Beast Calvin Johnson and pair it with 95 speed and you get this mammoth Julio card. You want red-zone prowess? 96 jumping and 95 spectacular catch. You want a chain mover over the middle? 93 catch in traffic and 93 route running. How about a pure deep threat? His 95 release rating will beat just about any defender off of the line, and when paired with that previously mentioned speed, Julio Jones becomes the most dangerous outside threat in Madden. The grind to fully power this card is long and difficult but worth every second of it. This card can literally do it all and can do it all very well.
2. Legends Michael Vick
You knew he was going to show up here at some point. No Madden Top 10 list would be complete without the original game breaker, Michael Vick. Since his cover back in Madden NFL 2004, Vick has enjoyed legendary status in Madden games by being a ratings beast. With 94 throw power, 93 throw on the run, and accuracy ratings in the 80s across the board, this Vick card would be pretty good as a quarterback even without anything else beefing him up. That wouldn’t be the famed Michael Vick though, would it? This version of Michael Vick happens to have a blistering 92 speed rating ON TOP of those already good throwing attributes. As opposed to the Steve Young Legends card, Michael Vick also isn’t as prone to fumbling with a respectable 76 carry rating. Any player longing for a taste of the game-breaking cheat code that was Michael Vick in Madden NFL 2004 need only get this card. In any other year, Vick would be far and away the best card in MUT. This is no ordinary year though, which brings us to number 1 on the list…
1. Out of Position Bo Jackson
This card is absolutely ridiculous. A fun concept by EA has allowed this monstrosity out into the wild and there’s no looking back. It’s like the dev team went back in time and watched all of those old “Bo Knows” commercials and decided this would be the best way to represent that in a video game. Not since Tecmo Super Bowl has there been a version of Bo Jackson this feared. Even more ridiculous is the fact that he can be made to play pretty much any position once fully upgraded. Want Bo at QB? That’s fine. He will have 95 throw power to go with 94 speed. How about at offensive line? Place Bo at left tackle and he will have 90-plus ratings for pass, run and impact blocking. I’ve even seen players have upgraded versions of this card that were made to be kickers. The only thing keeping these Bo Jackson cards from being completely broken is that you can only play one out of position Bo at a time. Though if we’re being really honest, isn’t the broken nature of MUT half the fun?
Stay tuned for the Top 10 Defensive MUT Players in an upcoming article.