After spending all night playing Madden NFL 15 following the release, hoards of players can rarely take their eyes away from the TV screen. With the new player ratings, fans are already seeing a difference in the game.
Before the regular season even gets underway, the first update is already changing the game.
Several players have seen their ratings fluctuate as Week 1 quickly approaches. Some updates have helped players while others have seen ratings drop dramatically.
EA Sports announced the latest roster update earlier this week, with quite a few changes for notable players. As gamers get settled in with the newest version, here's a look at some of the biggest changes with the roster update.
D.J. Swearinger, SS, Houston Texans 80 (+4)
Despite a controversial hit during the preseason, D.J. Swearinger has made some noise early on.
The Houston Texans safety has been known for his hard-hitting style, and he saw a huge jump in the latest ratings. Swearinger's biggest jump was to his awareness, which catapulted from 55 to 65 in the latest update.
Recently, Swearinger laid a hard hit on Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker, giving him another concussion. Adam Schefter of ESPN notes the injuries surrounding Swearinger are becoming a trend:
Last preseason, Texans S D.J. Swearinger took out TE Dustin Keller's knee. Last night he gave Wes Welker his third concussion in a year.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 24, 2014
While some around the NFL might question his style, the fans in Houston love him. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle shares the reaction from a recent Texans luncheon:
Watt drew loudest ovation at Texans annual luncheon at Hilton Americas. DJ Swearinger ovation almost loud as JJ. He's a fan favorite.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 26, 2014
If his ratings continue to increase, Madden players might also grow fond of Swearinger. Expect to stop nearly any receiver with the safety and look for him to continue seeing his ratings spike if his play on the field remains similar.
James White, RB, New England Patriots 73 (+4)
It's not just the New England Patriots and fantasy football fans noticing anymore. The rookie running back has put the NFL on notice, and Madden 15 rewarded his growth thus far.
The Patriots tailback has made a huge dent early on, even earning first-team reps in practice earlier in the month. Bill Belichick has also had high praise for the back, per Mike Coppinger of NFL.com (via SiriusXM NFL Radio):
He's a very interesting and versatile player. He does a good job in the passing game and in the running game -- both inside and outside. Blitz pickup -- we have a pretty extensive offense for him to learn, but he's working hard at it.
We'll just let him go and see how it goes, but I think he has the ability to compete on all three downs, in both the running game and the passing game.
While some have seen their ratings drop due to performances on the field, White has clearly been an impact player. Though a 73 rating still won't make him a huge option, his upside is evident in Madden.
His abilities in both the run and passing game will make him an asset for players utilizing the Patriots with the latest update. If he blossoms throughout the 2014 season, look for his rating to continue to skyrocket in future updates.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins 84 (-3)
Not everyone's rating rose with the latest update, as Knowshon Moreno quickly found out.
The Miami Dolphins running back is still a viable option at 84, but his speed and agility both dropped. Meanwhile, his elusiveness jumped by a full five points despite the overall plummet in the preseason.
But as Chis Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel notes, the back might end up taking over this year:
RB Lamar Miller w/starting offense. Think Miller, Moreno alternate early, then Moreno becomes starter, Miller backup..— Chris Perkins (@chrisperk) August 26, 2014
With his injury history, Moreno is somewhat of an unknown heading into the year. But if he can remain on the field, expect good numbers from the back like he put up with the Denver Broncos last season.
Replicating his numbers from 2013—or at least coming close—might help Moreno's rating rise again. Though he is dropping for now in Madden, Moreno could be a difference-maker and move up later this year.
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