We’re all in need of some entertainment during these times of the unknown. DraftKings is doing its part by offering Madden simulations with a variety of teams going at it. For this piece, we’ll focus on the 12:00 p.m. ET Broncos-Falcons game on Thursday afternoon.
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
Generally, Drew Lock ($10,600) is a really strong value consideration at QB on a classic slate. But his salary is pretty jacked up in the showdown format. While he might be overpriced for his 14.7-DKFP average, this game has ceiling potential against Atlanta’s secondary. The Falcons are one of the easiest secondaries to pick apart in Madden, leaving you with a decision to make on knowingly overpaying for Lock.
If you do pay up for Lock, Courtland Sutton ($9,400) is the preferred pairing. But even if you fade Lock, Sutton is my favorite play on the Denver side. He puts up legitimate WR1 numbers, and potentially benefits from being surrounded by other poor receivers. His upside is huge against Atlanta.
DaeSean Hamilton ($4,800) is a fine play, and one of the cheaper WR2 targets you’ll find. The problem is that Tim Patrick ($4,600) puts up slightly better numbers as the WR3, and comes at a discount. Even if he’s only $200 cheaper, Patrick has the same Madden ranking as Hamilton but gets to face cornerbacks lower on the depth chart. I’ll take that matchup every time.
Noah Fant ($6,400) is the only other target I’d look to in the passing game. He averages a solid 11.1 DKFP, and should have one of the better matchup advantages in the middle of the field. I prefer getting some exposure to the explosive plays down the sideline against Atlanta, but if you’ve already covered that, Fant is a good way to continue a Denver stack.
Phillip Lindsay ($8,400) is a big hit-or-miss play, and the games he goes off in don’t seem to have any pattern based on matchup. If there’s a time to reach for the ceiling, it’s against the Falcons, but Devonta Freeman ($8,800) is the much more consistent play, for nearly the same price. More on him later.
Matt Ryan ($11,400) is the more attractive QB play, and probably the safer option. But he’s very expensive for a matchup against Denver. Even with Lock overpriced, I think that’s my tournament preference. Of course, nothing is keeping you from playing both if you have the right punt play.
Julio Jones ($10,800) is in a similar spot in comparison to Sutton as Ryan and Lock are. Julio’s the sexier play with the higher ceiling, but the Broncos have some really tough corners to deal with, and Calvin Ridley ($7,200) will be stealing targets in a better matchup. I prefer the savings on Sutton to rostering Julio.
But Ridley does get plenty of interest from me, possessing a WR1 skillset, and displaying it often — three sims with at least 22 DKFP in his last five outings. Ridley is a great pivot of Julio, especially if you’re paying up for both QB, or Lock and Sutton.
The value continues with the Falcons’ WR targets. Russell Gage ($4,400) is a pretty similar play to Hamilton and Patrick, but if you really need to save a couple of bucks, or prefer more exposure to the Atlanta side, he makes sense to roster.
Justin Hardy ($2,200) is the deeper value, filling a little bit more of a need. He’s the only true punt play on this slate, which is the only way you can fit most of the top-end talent. Hardy has three sims with a touchdown thus far.
Austin Hooper ($8,000) could have a fine game, but he’s just too expensive. Ridley is the far more electric play, checking in for $800 cheaper. I do have interest in the running game, though, where Freeman’s been the most consistent weapon for the Falcons offensively. Freeman averages the most DKFP of any skill player on Atlanta and has a handful of 20-DKFP sims with a 40-DKFP upside.
Final Score: Broncos 24, Falcons 17
I think the Broncos passing attack has the largest advantage in the sim, which will earn them the victory. Courtland Sutton ($14,100 CPT) is where I want to invest the bulk of my salary, looking for a big play or two that put him over the top.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.