With Madden 24 arriving in August and the annual Ratings Week presumably just around the corner, we’re celebrating in anticipation by listing who we think will be some of this year’s best-rated players. We’ve already offered our thoughts on the wide receiver, but now turn our attention to running backs.
While establishing the run and keeping opposing defenses honest to set up the passing game is still important, there is less emphasis around the league on paying for premium running backs. While having a capable, dynamic running back is still desirable, many teams are simply unwilling to pay premium money for the position. Teams just aren’t willing to commit to long-term deals for running backs with limited shelf life. The result has been a surprising offseason in which big-name running backs like Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette are still free agents.
There’s still a need for dynamic running backs, but teams just want them younger and fresher. Once a running back hits his late 20s, it’s time to move on. So how does this new shift in mentality impact the ratings for Madden? Let’s take a look at who we predict will be the top-rated running backs in Madden 24.
Saquon Barkley (New York Giants) – 92 OVR
After injuries derailed his 2020 and 2021 seasons, last year was a return to form for Saquon Barkley. The 26-year-old rush for 1,307 yards, the second most of his career, and scored a career-high 11 touchdowns. His 5.0 average was the highest in his five years. He also added another 338 yards on 57 receptions. The Giants offense runs through Barkley and they go as he goes.
Barkley is undoubtedly one of the most talented running backs in the league, but I don’t think he’s quite at the same production level as some of the other star running backs on this list. He just hasn’t quite been as productive as consistently as the other players here.
Barkley was rated 86 overall when Madden 23 launched but rose to a 93 overall by the end of the season. I believe he’ll start the season with a 92 overall rating with room for improvement.