Wide receiver

Like quarterback, go big here. Create a speed WR build and making him taller than 6-foot-6. You will be able to run past any defensive back, and you can jump over any of the defenders pesky enough to keep up.

Spend your first week’s experience points on improving the catch and catch-in-traffic statistics.

I’ve noticed a bug in the traits section of wide receivers. It may say you need to purchase the “run after catch” and “possession catch” features, but when you try, it fails. This means you already have them and can use them in game, so don’t worry about it. On PlayStation 4, the Square button handles run after the catch (useful for short passes or long ones where no one is near you), and X will execute the possession catch (useful when you are about to get hit).

Wide receiver is the easiest position to play in Madden NFL 18. You can ignore your route (the line the game tells you to run in). Just run straight to where the defense isn’t. Don’t slam the sprint button once you snap the ball. Wait until your player is near his defender, then press it to get away.

Some of the presnap tips I shared for the quarterback section are useful here. If your defender is right up on the line before the snap, he isn’t going to hit you then not chase you. As soon as you run past the initial contact, call for the ball by pressing x.

Slants, the route where you just run at an angle towards the middle of the field, are the easiest to complete. You can rack up tons of yards with slants. The go route — running straight to the endzone as fast as you can — is also pretty simple, but you will create a lot of interceptions when your mush-for-brains quarterback underthrows the ball. Accept this. You can’t do anything about it.

The speed wide receiver option also allows you to return kicks, which is an easy way to rack up yards and experience points. I like to always select the middle kick/punt return option from the playcall menu. Start running up the middle once you catch the ball, then look to cut outside depending on which side is open. The easiest way to get past a defender is to run at him at a slight angle then press the circle button to spin by him. Spinning has been king in Madden for a decade, and this year is no different.

Running back

Creating a running back is a bit more tricky. You don’t want the large-but-fast build, as you need all the speed you can get. I like to create a regular-sized guy of about 5-foot-10 with the balanced HB option. There are pros and cons to creating a power back vs. a speed back. Both have their strengths, so I split the difference. Again, you won’t notice much of a loss with 90 speed vs. 93.

Make sure you spend your early experience points on the “brace vs. all” trait and carrying, awareness, and ball carrier vision attributes. Your other attributes take a whole lot of experience to level up, so get that early boost, then start saving for things like elusiveness, speed and trucking.

Similar to the quarterback gameplay, you’ll want to avoid tradition. Everyone runs it on first down, so the AI defense will call rushes and put a safety up close to the line to break your neck. Run a play action or a simple pass. Your quarterback will typically look for short completions, which can allow you to run successfully on second or third down.

This build will also allow you to return kicks, which I have detailed in the above wide receiver section.

I’ve found running back to be the hardest position to play, as so much is out of your hands. Your offensive line will suck, so ignore where the play tells you to run. As soon as you get the ball, look for a hole. Once you get to that hole, slam the sprint button. Look to spin out defenders coming at you at an angle. If you find yourself caught behind a giant offensive lineman, flick the right stick either right or left (whichever looks more open) to sidestep by him. Flick it forward if a defender is coming straight at you.

Defensive line

This is pretty boring. Press the button that pops over your head when trying to run at the quarterback. It’s really that simple. Just press the right button, and prioritize the block shedding attribute.

Linebacker

Here’s a fun position that players often neglect. I have two suggestions: Either create a 3-4 pass rusher outside linebacker, or create a balanced middle linebacker who will look to eat up tackles.

With the outside linebacker, you will want to play on a team that uses a 3-4 defense. This means the team uses three defensive lineman and four linebackers, as opposed to the slightly more popular four lineman and three linebackers. You can figure this out by checking out the defensive playbook of a team, or just look at the depth chart. If the team has a lot of middle linebackers and only a few defensive tackles, they’re likely a 3-4 team.

Like the defensive line, you want to prioritize the block shedding and finesse move attributes. When playing, try to make sure your guy is blitzing most of the time. Run outside of the guy trying to block you, and be ready to press a button (it’s almost always x or square, so you have a 50-50 shot) when the blocker touches you. It’s pretty easy to rack up one or two sacks a game, which makes you a monster.

The middle linebacker is a little trickier. Here, you will want a 4-3 defense.

I like to go with mainly man-to-man plays, which means your dot on the playcall menu doesn’t have anything attached to it. You will almost always be the guy covering the running back, which is what you want.

When playing, resist the urge to slam that sprint button at the beginning of the play. If it is a run, you may just sprint past your man or right into a blocker. Think of it as playing the mirror of the running back. Wait until he gets close to the line, then when he commits to a hole, spring towards him and knock his face off.

Unless he is a bruiser like the Carolina Panthers’ Jonathan Stewart, flicking up on the right stick just before contact has a good change of at least getting the tackle if not forcing a fumble. If he is a power back, just press x to secure the tackle.

Defensive back

The only thing worth playing here is a playmaking free safety. Cornerback is super boring, and this option will also enable you to return kicks.

Playing safety isn’t easy. You will go through long stretches where you don’t do anything. But if you stay patient, you will have chances for both interceptions and bone-crunching tackles.

Make sure you’re picking plays where your player goes into a deep zone (the thing that looks like a speech bubble in the playcall menu). Standing back will give you the best chance at interceptions and touchdown-saving tackles. Look for the wide receiver who is running deep, and move to his area. Don’t press sprint until the ball is in the air, and don’t press triangle to intercept the ball too early.

This is a pretty fun option, as it allows you to play both sides of the ball a little bit. Be warned: If you get beat deep, you will want to die. It just comes with the territory.