Regardless of your feelings on the Madden video game franchise, whose quality and overall popularity has steadily declined over the years, the release of player ratings for the upcoming game are all the rage amongst NFL fans.
Fans are anxious to know which players joined the elusive "99 Club," while others sprint to social media to figure out where players on their favorite team placed amongst the other players at their respective position.
The Dallas Cowboys have high-end talent scattered throughout their roster. After a breakout campaign in 2022, most analysts and writers believe CeeDee Lamb announced himself as a top-10 receiver with room to further ascend up the rankings.
Madden 24 doesn't see it that way, evidently.
In a testament to the game's plummeted standards, Madden gave a pair of aging receivers -- DeAndre Hopkins (93 overall) and former Cowboys WR1 Amari Cooper (91 overall) a top-10 nod over the ascending and superior Lamb.
Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb criminally underrated in Madden 24's WR rankings
What on earth is this?
As cool as it is to see the underrated Terry McLaurin get some overdue recognition, it's equally egregious that Hopkins ranked as the seventh-best receiver. Now 31 years old, Hopkins has played a combined 19 games the last two years and hasn't notched double-digit touchdowns since 2018, which was five years ago.
Hopkins was released back in late May and he just found a home in Tennessee, which was wildly disappointing. Multiple contenders -- the Chiefs and Bills included -- bypassed signing Hopkins despite having needs at the position.
If Hopkins is a 93 overall, Lamb should be no lower than a 95. Of course, that would mean Lamb is overrated, which speaks to how horrid these rankings are. There simply isn't a significant gap between Hopkins, McLaurin, Cooper, A.J. Brown. Some football savants would argue Lamb is better than all of them.
Stats don't define whether one player is better than another, but Lamb outproduced Cooper across the board in 2022. Lamb was a second-team All-Pro. Cooper wasn't even a Pro Bowler. Lamb ranked top five in catches, receiving yards and first downs, and tied for fifth (with Cooper) at the position with nine touchdowns.
Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Garrett Wilson finished with more catches last season than Cooper, while Coop ranked 12th in yards.
Here are Lamb's stats from 2021(!) compared to Cooper's in 2022:
- Lamb: 79 catches, 1,102 yards, 6 TDs
- Cooper: 78 catches, 1,160 yards, 9 TDs
Lamb nearly outproduced a WR1 when he was still the WR2 in Dallas. What more needs to be said? If nothing else, the budding superstar will use these deplorable rankings as motivation to put together another incredible year in 2023.