Madden Ultimate Team is all about building up a collection of rare and flashy cards. But if you're just interested in winning, you can do just fine with budget alternatives, many of whom compare favorably with their more expensive counterparts.
The players below are all available for less than 10,000 coins (some can be had for as little as 1500), with price points courtesy of MUTHead - an extremely handy tool if you're looking for player rankings and other data. Their rankings are comprehensive, but here's a cheat sheet along with an explanation of why each player is worth picking up, as well as some possible alternatives.
QB: Derek Carr
Relevant Stats:: 89 Throw Power, 80 Speed
If you're looking for a good all-around QB, you could do much worse than Derek Carr. Carr has solid all-around accuracy stats and no really glaring weaknesses. He also benefits from 89 Throw Power, giving his throws a nice amount of zip. The coup de grade is 80 overall speed and 85 acceleration, making it easy for him to break out of the pocket and run. You can find him for between 3000 and 5000 coins.
HB: Dion Lewis
Relevant Stats: 90 Elusiveness
A speed back can be very tough to stop in the right hands, and Dion Lewis is an amazing value for what he offers. At between 1200 and 2000 coins, he is enormously elusive and brings with him solid speed. If power is more your game, consider LeGarrette Blound and his 91 Trucking. Both are great options at the tailback position.
TE: Jordan Reed
Relevant Stats: 83 Speed, 88 Catch
Jordan Reed is almost as good as Jimmy Graham at roughly half the price. His 86 Route Running allows him to get open fairly easily against linebackers, and his 83 Speed makes him faster than the average right end. He's a little pricey at between 7000 and 8000 coin; but as a pure receiver, he's roughly on par with more expensive options like Tyler Eifert. Alternatively, you can pick up the slow but smart Antonio Gates, who is half the price of Jordan Reed and exceptionally good at getting open.
WR: Vincent Jackson
Relevant Stats: 89 Catch in Traffic, 86 Release
Solid receivers are plentiful in Madden 17, but they tend to overpriced for what they offer against the competition, with even budget variants going for around 10,000 coins. Vincent Jackson, on the other hand, fits the mold of pure pass catcher while only running you around 2500 coins. He's not flashy, but he will convert plenty of third downs while you save up for a better option. If you're willing to spend a little more money, Kelvin Benjamin is an even better pass catcher who benefits from 91 Release. He will cost you about 9000 coins.
OL: Jason Peters
Relevant Stats: 91 Strength
Strength matters quite a bit for offense linemen, as it enables to grab pass rushers and keep them from escaping long enough for you to get a pass away or break a long run. With his 91 Strength / 87 Run Block, Peters is a stud in the run game, and he's available for a mere 4000 coins. If you want an even better deal, Jared Veldheer offers nearly the same stats at about 1000 coins less.
DE: Stephen Paea (3-4) / Jerry Hughes (4-3)
Relevant Stats: 93 Strength (Paea); 90 Finesse Move (Jerry Hughes)
When choosing a defensive end, you need to consider what sort of defensive scheme you run. At a mere 1400 coins, Stephen Paea is an absolute beast of a 3-4 defensive end, his 93 Strength and 81 Block Shedding allowing him to overpower defenders and stop runners. Jerry Hughes (3000 coins), meanwhile, is more of a pure pass rusher, his 90 Finesse Move allowing him to quickly swim pass linemen and get to the QB. If you're willing to spend a little more money on a 4-3 linemen, consider Cliff Avril, who at 8500 coins boasts 82 Speed, 91 Finesse Move, and 87 Block Shedding, making him a terrifying all-around rusher.
MLB: Danny Trevathan
Relevant Stats 91 Tackle, 91 Pursuit, 85 Zone Coverage
When choosing a Middle Linebacker, you often want to look at Speed, Tackling, Zone Coverage, and Play Recognition; and at around 5000 coins, Danny Trevathan is quite strong in many of those departments. His extremely strong coverage abilities make him great in the pass game if you don't want to take direct control of your MLB. If you do want to user your MLB, consider Kwon Alexander for 1500 coins or Ryan Shazier for 10000 coins.
OLB: DeAndre Levy (4-3) / Whitney Mercilus (3-4)
Relevant Stats: 89 Play Recognition (Levy); 88 Block Shedding (Mercilus)
Like MLBs, an OLBs utility depends on your scheme and what you're trying to accomplish with them. With that said, you could do much worse than DeAndre Levy - a 4-3 OLB who can do pretty much anything, and will only run you about 3500 coins. The same can be said for Whitney Mercilus (5000 coins), who both offers solid coverage (83 Play Recognition) and solid run stopping ability (88 Block Shedding). Plus, his name is Mercilus. It's like he was born to be a football player.
CB: Orlando Scandrick
Relevant Stats: 91 Man Coverage, 85 Zone Coverage
Like receivers, cornerbacks tend to come at something of a premium because of the important role they play in solidifying your secondary. Still, there are bargains to be found. At between 5000 and 6000 coins, Orlando Scandrick offers an fantastic all-around mix of speed and coverage ability, and is capable of pressing in a pinch. It's pretty tough to find a better cornerback at that price.
FS: Kurt Coleman
Relevant Stats:85 Zone Coverage
With his 85 Zone Coverage and solid speed, Kurt Coleman holds his own surprisingly well against other free safeties. Even better, he'll only run you about 2000 coins. For that value, you'll get solid coverage in the backfield and a set of all-around skills on par with or better than many other options. He's a strong addition no matter how much money you're willing to spend.
SS: TJ McDonald Jr.
Relevant Stats: 88 Hit Power
Strong safefties can play a number of roles, but some good qualities to look for include Zone Coverage, Play Recognition, Man Coverage, Tackling, and Hit Power. The latter two can make an especially difference, allowing you to get in force fumbles aplenty. For 3500 coins, TJ McDonald offers good coverage skills, very good speed (84), height, and punishing hitting ability. For about 1000 coins, consider Ron Parker, who exchanges Hit Power for Man Coverage and speed, allowing him to keep pace with speed tight ends.