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 Patriots and Lions game that’ll take place at 8 p.m. ET Saturday evening. It’s important to note that Madden runs a bit different here and we have some things to consider.
First and foremost, speed is such an important factor. These players are always going to get open and can give you an edge with a player that you’d potentially look over when you consider his real-life role. We’ll get into that more in the article below. Players also have particular X-Factors, which can best be described as “power ups” that can be activated if a player completes a certain threshold. These will be put into considerations as well and will be highlighted with those particular players.
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Game Style: Arcade
Event Type: Exhibition
Even Teams: Off
Quarter Length: 8 minutes
Accelerated Clock: On
Play Clock: 20 seconds
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
New England Patriots
As the Madden ratings indicate, Tom Brady’s ($11,800) has by far been the better fantasy quarterback of the two starters in this game. With 91 overall rating, Brady is averaging 18.6 DKFP and has been a pretty solid option in the sims for the most part. At his best against the Texans, he tossed six touchdowns and finished with 39.5 DKFP, so there’s plenty of upside in rostering the future Hall of Famer.
The Patriots’ highest-rated wideout is Julian Edelman ($10,000) at an 87 and he’s going to be covered by Darius Slay, who has an 87 rating and a speed advantage over Edelman. The salary for Edelman seems a bit high since he’s is middle of the pack in terms of fantasy production from the Pats’ skill position players. Edelman is only averaging 12.9 DKFP and hasn’t had many big games. There are plenty of stronger targets from the New England side of this contest.
My favorite pass catchers from the Pats are also the best sources of value in this game. Retired in real life, Ben Watson ($10,200 CP/$6,800) is still going strong in the video game. He is averaging 14.9 DKFP, one of the top marks in this contest. In fact, he’s been one of the top tight ends in general during the simulations. Watson likely deserves to be one of the higher-priced players in this game, yet he’s on the cheaper end. I love him for Captain. In a similar vein, Phillip Dorsett ($4,400) has proven to have a high ceiling. He’s scored 33.3 DKFP in two separate games and averages 10.8 DKFP.
In real life, the New England running back situation is never easy to predict. On any given Sunday, we could see big games from Sony Michel ($3,000), James White ($8,400) or Rex Burkhead ($1,400). Luckily, this has been a situation easier to predict in Madden. While top running backs typically haven’t been all that productive, White has been an exception as the starting back for the Patriots. His involvement in both the running and passing games has made him a solid option. White is averaging 14.2 DKFP and is one of the top options in this contest.
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Matthew Stafford ($11,200) has not been a good fantasy option in our Madden sims. While he’s rated an 82 overall and has some strong receivers to throw to, Stafford is only averaging 14.7 DKFP. This makes him one of the worst quarterbacks in the sim league for DKFP purposes. Obviously, he’s also the far lesser QB in this contest since Detroit is playing the Patriots. I much prefer focusing my lineup construction around Tom Brady and his weapons than Stafford.
The Lions’ top receiver on the depth chart is Kenny Golladay ($9,600). Performance-wise, it’s tough to call him the real top option in this offense since he’s only averaging 11.9 DKFP. Even though he has the “Red Zone” Superstar Trait, Golladay has only scored eight touchdowns across the Lions’ simulated games. We also have to consider that he will be drawing coverage from Stephon Gilmore for a lot of this game. Golladay is a fade for me.
Another player on this offense that I think we can fade is Kerryon Johnson ($7,800). The Lions drafting a running back in the 2020 NFL Draft won’t impact Johnson in this game, but it doesn’t matter since he isn’t producing much as the lead back in these sims. Johnson is averaging just 5.2 DKFP. This also figures to be a poor game script for him since, assuming the Patriots are leading, Johnson won’t get the chance to run the ball in the later stages of this game.
Eventually, we had to get to a player I like from the Lions. Marvin Jones Jr. ($7,200) is the guy that stands out the most to me. He averages 13.5 DKFP, which is the most of any skill position player on the team. He’s an 85 overall rating, making him one of the top-rated WR2s in Madden. With Golladay typically drawing more of the attention from defenses, this puts Jones in easier matchups.
For cheaper plays, we can look to T.J. Hockenson ($6,400) or Danny Amendola ($4,800). Both of them have played well at times, with Hockenson being the more common target of the two. He averages about the same DKFP as Golladay at 10.2 per game and comes with a much cheaper price tag. As for Amendola, he has a solid 80 overall rating for a third receiver and averages 7.5 DKFP. He could be a frequent target as a security blanket if the Pats lock up the Lions’ top receivers.
I am going with the Patriots in this spot. The Lions don’t have a great offense and New England has one of the top-rated defenses in Madden. The lack of firepower from Detroit has led to it losing eight of its past 12 games. On the Pats’ side of the game, they are riding a five-game winning streak and have won 11 of their past 12 games. This team has been a juggernaut in our simulations.
Final Score: New England 24, Detroit 13
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) 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.