Madden 23 franchise: set up your save or fantasy draft

Madden 23 franchise mode:a Bengals quarterback is about to throw a ball
(Image credit: EA Games)

The Madden 23 Franchise Mode has seen some much-needed love this season, as EA continues to iterate on its longest running pillar of the Madden franchise.

Madden 23 feels like a real celebration of the series’ history, especially as EA wants to do right by the late, great John Madden. That’s why it’s fitting that Franchise Mode, Madden's take on the single player career mode, is getting some love after a couple of years more focused on multiplayer play (though we still have no Madden 23 cross-platform play...).

Despite that, Franchise Mode has remained a favorite among seasoned Madden players. If you’ve played it in the past decade or so, a lot will be familiar here, but there are some bigger enhancements this year around player engagements, especially when it comes to acquiring players for your team. That way, building your teams should be much more interesting and feel much more unique.

But what if you're new to Madden, and have never tried Franchise Mode? We’re here to give you the lowdown on what it is, how you should set up your league, and also try an exciting Fantasy Draft.

Madden 23 Franchise mode

Madden 23 Franchise mode: league types

Madden 23 Player Ratings Guide, Aaron Donald

(Image credit: EA)

Franchise Mode is the same as ‘Career Mode’ in other sports games. This lets you step into the shoes of a certain role – be it an owner, head coach, or player –  and live out your entire career across multiple seasons.

To start, there are four options to choose from when you start a league which comes down to how you want to play. They are: 

  • Online Use Real Life NFL Roster: A mode where up to 32 players can join. All rosters have their stats and ratings from the preseason.
  • Online Use Active Roster: A mode up to 32 players can join. Updated stats and rosters that move with the real world will be added. Also allows a Fantasy Draft.
  • Offline Use Preseason Roster: Solo-only mode where all players will have their stats and ratings from the preseason. 
  • Offline Use Active Roster: Solo-only mode where updated stats and rosters that move with the real world are added. Also allows a Fantasy Draft.

While playing an online mode with 32 players sounds awesome – be wary as the league will be at the whims of 32 different players hopefully playing at around the same time, or be subject to heavy simulation. If you want to play with a lot of players, we suggest having a very dedicated Discord server or forum.

Madden 23 Franchise: roles

Madden 23

(Image credit: EA Games)

Once you’ve selected the team you want to take over, you'll be taken to choose what role you want to have in your career. There are three options to choose from in the ‘Change Role’ tab. They are:


You control everything from top to bottom. You upgrade your stadiums, set the prices of things like tickets, and take control of negotiations and trades. The only thing you can’t do is change the team you manage (at least as the same ‘character’) You can, however, take advantage of Madden 23's relocation feature and make a whole new team if you want a fresh lick of pain. 


Taking on the head coach role, you'll be all about building squads, from contract negotiations, free agents, setting schemes, and generally directing the strategy for the team. This is similar to Owner mode, but you won’t be able to instigate things like relocations. However, unlike an Owner, you act as a character independent of the team, so you can leave and become head coach of another team to continue to build your legacy in the same save.


This career is significantly different from the owner and coach campaigns, but also one with the least control. You can start as a rookie or an existing NFL player and play your career as them. It's all about building your career and climbing above other Madden 23 player ratings. You'll only play on plays you're involved with and only have control of your player. (If you aren’t the quarterback, you don’t throw the ball.) You don’t get a say in the trades or direction of the team, but if you don’t like how things are going, you can force a trade to a new team.

Madden 23 Franchise: Fantasy Draft

Madden 23 Franchise: the Colts choose a player in a fantasy draft

(Image credit: Future)

Madden 23 sees Fantasy Draft return. If you don't know what that is, this is a great way to shake up your experience, especially if you want to make a team truly yours. 

The mode essentially works like a normal draft at the end of every season – every team will take turns picking a player to join their team. However, this isn't for new up-and-coming rookies, unlike a normal draft. Instead, this mode sets every NFL player to a free agent, and you have a pick of all 3000+ plus players in Madden 23's database. This happens at the start of your save as a one-time event and is a fresh take on a Franchise Mode as teams morph into totally different versions of themselves. 

Here are the steps you need to take to set up a Fantasy Draft:

  • Select an 'Online Active Roster' or 'Offline Active Roster' (as detailed above.)
  • Choose a team to play as
  • Press 'Starting Point' under more options
  • Select 'Fantasy Draft'
  • Choose your role and create your character
  • Press 'Start Playing'
  • On your Franchise landing page, select 'Start Your Fantasy Draft'
  • Select 'Start Drafting'
  • Choose a new player each round

Be aware that this can take a while, especially if you play with multiple players. Going through a draft with over fifty rounds can take over an hour. Once you have your core together, you can just simulate the draft, and the computer will try to balance out your team with the players left. However, with all that downtime, it's a great chance to listen to the genuinely great Madden 23 soundtrack.

Patrick Dane
Gaming Guides Editor

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.