The best time of the year is finally here. Madden NFL 23 will be officially released Friday and gamers will be glued to their consoles as they hit the virtual gridiron.
Madden season comes at the perfect time as fantasy football drafts are also ramping up. Did you know that die-hard Madden fans have some of the same qualities as the best fantasy football managers? If you play Madden, you are already one step ahead in the fantasy game.
Do you love to dive into franchise mode or Madden Ultimate Team to build a winning team from scratch using your favorite players? How about trading players and making moves with your friends online to get the ultimate advantage? Well, fantasy football is for you! There's not much of a learning curve, either. All the information you need is in the game.
Here's are three reasons you should put your Madden strategy skills to the test in a fantasy league with your friends.
You know how to build teams
If you have ever joined an online franchise league with your friends, fantasy football will be easy to play. In a Madden franchise league, you must manage a full roster of players in a 32-team draft. Fantasy managers worry only about skill-position players in leagues that generally consist of 8, 10 or 12 teams. Madden gurus already have experience making cuts, trades and claiming players in free agency. Fantasy football has that type of management, but with a smaller pool of players. You can keep track of performances, injury statuses and add and drop players using the waiver wire to maximize your success.
Fantasy experts, such as ESPN's Mike Clay, use projections and rankings to place players in different tiers based on stats, offensive schemes and weapons on the field. Madden players have the same knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each team as a fantasy manager does. You can even use Madden ratings and abilities to inform decisions on whom to draft and start on your team. The players that have Superstar and Superstar X-Factor abilities in Madden are the same ones that are dominating opponents on Sunday and leading fantasy managers to victories.
Have you ever wondered how the fastest skill players in Madden would perform on a fantasy team? Start a league with your friends and draft players with the highest speed ratings like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, Marquise Brown, Darren Waller or Kyle Pitts. Are you an excellent Madden scout, great at finding those hidden gems and diamonds in the rough? See how your strategy would look on a fantasy team before you set up your franchise or Ultimate Team roster. You can create an "Air it Out" fantasy team with the best passing and catching players in Madden or a "Ground and Pound" fantasy squad using the best rushers at each skill position.
The possibilities are endless, because in fantasy, it doesn't matter how you score points, it just matters that you score as many of them as possible.
You know how to exploit matchups
Madden offers football fans an opportunity to immerse themselves in the sport of football by controlling everything from the offensive and defensive plays to the players on the field, adapting to situations in real time.
Fantasy is also an interactive experience for football fans, instead putting you in the seat of a coach, GM or scout tasked with making important decisions before the game kicks off. Looking at offensive and defensive matchups each week is key for fantasy managers. The decisions on who will start on your roster based on the defenses your players face is what separates a football fan from a football savant.
As a Madden player, you understand the importance of analyzing these WR/CB and RB/LB matchups, you also have insight into which players are best suited to have big games against different opponents. Running backs like Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey , quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert and wide receivers like Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams are even more dominant in fantasy than they are in Madden, single-handedly taking over weekly matchups. You can even use Madden to simulate the matchups each week and make fantasy decisions based on the performances of each player. How you run your fantasy team is up to you.
You aren't afraid of competition
Madden players crave competition and use the game as an outlet to enjoy the sport they love. Whether you're beating one of your friends in an intense game or racking up collectibles, coins and cards in Madden Ultimate Team, the passion for the sport and trying to get the better of your opponents is what keeps you playing year after year. Fantasy football offers you the same feeling. While it can be unpredictable at times, nothing beats the thrill of gaining bragging rights over your friends each week. Anyone can win and if you have that competitive nature inside of you it doesn't have to end once you turn your console off.
Ready to put your Madden skills to the ultimate test? Join or start a free ESPN fantasy football league today!
Both fantasy and Madden create a new investment for football fans that goes beyond who wins and who loses, providing the opportunity to interact with the most spectacular athletes in the world as they accomplish feats that the ordinary person could only dream of. It turns the monotonous grind of an 18-game, four-month season into an exciting roller coaster ride.
If you are ready to embrace the challenge of fantasy, there is no better time than now. We have all the tips, tricks and tools to get you started. For first-time players, check out the Fantasy Football Beginners Guide. These simple instructions will have you playing like a pro in no time.
Lastly, remember to have fun. That's what playing games is all about.