Madden NFL 16 Primer: Why 'Draft Champions' Matters

Madden NFL 15: Finding Your Online Franchise League

Online leagues are the best experience to be had in Madden, but few know how to start.
Online leagues are the best experience to be had in Madden, but few know how to start.

Madden NFL 15 is just around the corner, and for many that means it’s time to start finding their online franchise league. If you’re one of the lucky few that already have a Madden 15 online franchise league lined up, then this article may not be for you, but if you are still hoping to find one then we’re here to get you started.

I absolutely love online CFM, and I expect many who are still stuck in the world of match making would enjoy it just as much, if they only knew where the door was and how to get their foot in it. The difference in the fun you’ll have in a Madden season when you’re in a league versus when you’re not is incredible, and I would highly recommend you give it a shot if you haven’t already.

Here you will find all you need to know about finding and fitting in with a Madden 15 online franchise league. With Madden 15 CFM info expected soon, now may be the time to start looking before the game’s hype fills up those early-bird leagues.

What is a Madden 15 Online Franchise League?

In concept, a Madden 15 online franchise league is just like an offline connected franchise, except it takes place online and with up to 31 other human opponents. Good, stable online leagues are great because they allow you to experience Madden in a way that is unmatched in terms of fun and replayability, and really puts you in a richer, deeper game than what offline provides. With online leagues, you can participate in trades with other players, race your opponents to the rushing title, and even participate in classic playoff matches that will both put you on edge, and potentially send shockwaves throughout your league should you dethrone a heavy favorite.

Personally, I think full 32-team online franchise leagues are the best part about Madden NFL, and if you aren’t in one yet, this new season would be a great time to start. Once you go online franchise, you will never go back, and you’ll definitely appreciate the time you spent looking around for a good league to accommodate you. Good leagues can last anywhere from a few Madden seasons (a few months), to an entire year (some even continue on in the latest Madden game each year). There’s something for everyone in online leagues, you just have to find one that fits you.

Where Can I Find a Madden 15 Online Franchise?

Online franchise leagues are all about community, so the first place to start looking for a franchise should always be the community you frequent most. Love a particular Madden NFL or football site? Check their forums to see if anyone is running a quality league. This will allow you to play with people you know, which more than anything makes the experience all-the-more enjoyable. While this isn’t always the best option, it’s always worth a look. is also a tremendous resource for finding quality online leagues. The great thing about daddyleagues is they provide fans with a way to acquire their own league home page, complete with automatically updated stats cards for players and easy-to-see information on the league. The fact that this league system also requires a small fee means leagues that participate are already sort of pre-vetted for you, since you can expect a league manager that is willing to pay to enhance the quality of their league experience is much more likely to run a good ship. The forums over on daddyleagues have some great areas to look for leagues based on your console system.

If a good league from your favorite community or daddyleagues isn’t an option, then your next best bet (and my personal first choice) are the leagues found on the sidebar of /r/Madden. The unofficial Madden subreddit in itself doesn’t host a league of its own that I know of, but it does feature all the major independent reddit leagues on its sidebar, and they are usually fantastic (most use daddyleagues, too). Reddit is an excellent platform for online franchises because everyone can join the league subreddit, and stay tuned to the action as users post game recaps, admins put up weekly power rankings and generally speaking, there is just a lot more conversation going on than in other places. Personally, I love how easy it is to contact and trade with users on subreddit leagues.

The best Madden franchise leagues on Reddit typically have a waiting list, but with 32 players in each league, there’s always a few that drop out each season that need quick replacements. Find a league you like, sign up for their waiting list and enjoy, because once you are in, you’ll be in for the long haul as long as you stay committed!

What Do I Need To Know Before Joining?

There’s a couple of things you need to know before joining a Madden NFL 15 online franchise league in regards to etiquette.

• Read Your League Rules
Every league is different, so you always want to read your league rules to know what is and isn’t allowed. Some leagues have restrictions on style of play to create a more “sim” atmosphere, while others don’t allow trades of certain types. The most common rule tends to be about padding stats in blowout games, as there’s often a limit on how much you are allowed to defeat an opponent by before you get warned for stat padding. If your league does not have a list of rules anywhere, that’s usually a bad sign. If you’re convinced the league is right for you, contact the league manager and suggest some concrete rules are put together to prevent any issues once the league begins.

• Be a Committed Player
Joining an online league isn’t just about signing on and playing your games on time. The best leagues have members that are actively analyzing rosters, seeking out trades, participating in league discussions or offering something unique to the league, such as recaps for your game or setting up your own weekly power rankings for everyone to check out. While these sort of things often aren’t required, a little effort will go a long way to creating the type of league you want to be a part of, and others want to be a part of too.

• Play Your Games
I’ve already said that joining an online league isn’t just about showing up on time to play your games, but that doesn’t mean that’s not a priority. While most leagues won’t punish you for having to sim forfeit one or two games in a season, make your best effort to play all your games, and be sure to contact your league manager if you are having trouble getting in contact with your opponent by the time the advance period arrives (good leagues usually automatically advance the week after X amount of days).

• Don’t Trade With The Computer
Ideally there is never an empty spot in a league, but chances are even in the best of leagues someone will drop out during the season, and they will be replaced within a day or so. Be careful not to trade with the computer during these short transition periods where ownership has switched to CPU while your league manager is getting a replacement in. The last thing you want to do is initiate a trade that will cause all kinds of salary cap havoc. Speaking of salary cap havoc…

• Understand Salary Cap Implications
Most online leagues play with the salary cap turned on, which means you need to be very cautious about who you trade and who you cut. Take some time to understand how the salary cap works, how bonus money is applied and how much you are going to be on the hook for if you move a player. The worst kinds of players in online franchise leagues are those that join for a few games, make terrible salary cap decisions, and then quit once they start losing or get bored. Don’t be that guy!

For the most part, salary cap essentials are simple enough, and there are already some great resources available online to get you started. Be smart, and if you intend on making significant roster changes that extend into future seasons, then try to hang around for at least that long. Don’t be that guy who trades away all his draft picks for a one-season rental player because he doesn’t intend on being back in the league next season anyway. While most leagues will safe-guard themselves against these types of players with trade approvals, keep in mind that you have at least some level of moral responsibility to ride out the ship you’ve set sail.

• Understand Player Value
It’s my opinion that the best league managers allow owners to make their own player evaluations, and won’t veto a trade that looks a bit lopsided. I think this is important because analyzing your team and making roster decisions is as much a part of playing online franchise as the actual games are, so you have to let teams win and lose on the management side of things, just as you do on the field. As long as there isn’t collusion going on (deliberate attempt to stack a team), then trades should always be accepted. Which, of course, leads me to my main point…

You need to understand player value, because a good league isn’t going to protect you from yourself. While a stud left tackle might be worth someone like DeSean Jackson in real life, that’s typically not the case in Madden (although the value of positions can always change from season-to-season depending on the game). For this reason, try to separate your feelings of NFL value with that of Madden, and make decisions based on what will make your team better on the digital field, not on the imaginary one. Even if you have, for example, four stud receivers and can afford to trade one of them away for a center, keep in mind that your stud receiver still has value to the rest of the league, and you can likely get fair value first, and then use the value you collected to grab your center in another trade after.

As long as you follow these simple rules, you should be just fine starting out in your first Madden 15 online franchise. If you have any particular questions about how online leagues work, or what leagues in particular I think you should try to get on the waiting list for, feel free to ask in the comments below.

Will you play in a full 32-team online franchise this year?

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daily fantasy football league
  • HuffDuff1988

    i didnt even know reddit had madden leagues. i will check that out

  • diablox440

    they should bring back communities to the next gen consoles

    • P.T.

      yup and allow communities to be linked to up to 4 or 5 dif leagues,so we can play with our league roster made teams in community matches…. talk about getting in some practice with the team you built, and saying goodbye to those hated bye weeks!

  • Jason Sullivan

    • GoMadden

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about MSL. Haven’t jumped in myself though.

  • Cashllama

  • P.T.

    indeed has a large selection of leagues for people to join. You can even look under their “top 20 ” page( which actually shows more than just 20 leagues) and even select to only see leagues on ps4, ps3, xbox 360 and xbox 1 . If you do that you will see a ton of leagues to choose the right one for you.Your profile on DL is free, only the league owner has to pay to host his site there.So dont think you will have to pay just to get in a league.There is so much a league can do from their site though. You can even spend your XP on your players from that site which is just one of many very cool features DL offers league owners.Also you can watch many live streams ( from any member who selects to let their stream be shown on DL stream page) as well as have your own added there. Its a great place to be in a league, so many benefits to it. i wouldnt run a league any other place myself.

  • leaguecrawler

    My new site, is also a great place to find leagues or players for your league. It’s a community site where anyone can rate/comment on any PSNID, Gamertag or league for any game or system.

    • GoMadden

      Very interesting! Quick question, is this the site the guy from /r/Madden was considering putting together? Or is this something unrelated you’ve put together.

      • leaguecrawler

        I’m not really a reddit user – is my baby. I’ve been a commish for a few years and created this site to help guys like me and good, legit players find each other and bypass the riff-raff out there. Running a league is too much work to allow guys to come in a ruin things. I launched League Crawler and few months ago, but accidentally broke it upgrading a module and spent the last two months re-building it. That said, in my efforts to market it, I did submit a reddit post back then for it, so maybe that’s what you’re referring to? Either way, I just re-launched the site about a week ago.

        • P.T.

          well i tried to create an account on ur site and its not working, and it says i cant contact you cause i dont have permission…….

          • leaguecrawler

            Hey – thanks for alerting me to that. With re-launching a week ago, there were a few module I was testing and I accidentally left the permissions for the contact form turned off. I also had the registration tuned to require an admin approval for spam registration blocking while I beefed up the security. All fixed now! Thanks for checking us out!

          • P.T.

            thanks man, np , i like the idea u have there. maybe once i join we can talk about something . nice job

  • disqus_IF7XdlouD3

    Come to the Astro Football League today to sign up for the Xbox One Prize League!

    There is a Superbowl Prize!


    -Xbox One

    -Madden 15

    -16+ to join