With real-life sports still in the midst of an extended time out, DraftKings continues to provide some great sports simulations to fill the void. Each day there are six Madden Streams with eight free contests to be a part of. You can play a single-game Showdown for each contest along with an all-day, six-game classic contest and a three-game late slate. Each simulation will be played out via an online Madden Stream using Madden 2020 with rosters and ratings from the end of the 2019-20 season. In this format, you can enjoy watching the game stream on the DK Live app (download here) or right here in this post. Follow along to watch your fantasy team pile up fantasy points.
Thursday’s three-game evening slate starts at 6 p.m. ET with the Bengals and 49ers meeting by the Bay in a rematch of Super Bowl XXIII. In the primetime game, which is this week’s Game of the Week selected by the fans, the Texans will welcome in the Steelers at 8 p.m. ET. Another full day of sims closes out at 10 p.m. ET with a matchup between the Jets and the Chiefs from virtual Arrowhead Stadium.
There are lots of ways you can build your classic roster with the options from those six teams in action, and I’ll give you my favorite plays at each position and price point for this three-game slate below. As you build your team, make sure to check out the Madden info page for all the data on player ratings, special abilities and what you can look forward to coming soon.
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Madden Stream: Jets at Chiefs
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Deshaun Watson, HOU vs. PIT, $6,900 — Even in a tough matchup against the Steelers’ defense, I’ll take Watson over Patrick Mahomes ($8,000) and save the extra $1,100. Watson is averaging 22.2 DKFP per sim and has thrown 48 touchdowns in 28 contests along with adding nine scores on the ground with about 50 rushing yards per contest. He has produced over 22 DKFP in three of his past five contests and regularly shows off his high ceiling. While Mahomes has better passing numbers, Watson has been better overall due to his additional rushing element. He also carries pretty much the whole offense in Houston and almost never has a total bust. Other Option — Patrick Mahomes ($8,000)
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT at HOU, $6,500 — The Steelers have actually dropped two in a row, but I think Big Ben and Co. should have a field day in the air against the Texans’ porous secondary. Roethlisberger has thrown for over 250 yards in three straight contests with 15.72, 15.84 and 20.52 DKFP in those matchups. He doesn’t add the rushing element that Watson provides, but there aren’t any other cheap QBs that have been reliable enough to target. Big Ben should enjoy his primetime slot and be a very safe play against Houston even if his ceiling isn’t quite as sky-high as Watson’s or Mahomes’.
Other Option — Andy Dalton ($5,800)
Le’Veon Bell, NYJ at KC, $6,300 — We’ve seen teams rely on a high volume of rushing attempts to beat the Chiefs in these sims, so Bell could be set up for a very busy night against KC. He is one of the few RB1 plays that receive all the workload in the backfield and has produced solid results across the board with a few big games as well. He has over 11 DKFP in seven of his past 11 contests, including a 20.7-DKFP performance against the tough Bears’ defense. He usually is involved as a receiver and will be a solid play if he can find his way to the end zone. He has scored 13 touchdowns in his 28 sims to this point. Other Options — Lamar Miller ($5,700), Damien Williams ($5,600)
Tevin Coleman, SF vs. CIN, $5,500 — Coleman had a rare down game against the Chargers in his most recent sim with just 7.4 DKFP, but he typically is one of the most reliable RB options in all of Madden due to his consistently heavy workload. San Francisco’s playbook and playcalling set him up for loads of success, and he has averaged 17.8 DKFP per sim. The Bengals have been a great matchup for opposing RBs, so he’s in a great spot to bounce back with a big performance in the first game on this three-game slate.
Other Option — Gio Bernard ($3,500)
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Tyreek Hill, KC vs NYJ, $7,700 — Hill’s 99 speed rating always makes him a threat for a monster game, and the Jets have been very beatable by speed WRs so far in these sims. Even though Hill is the WR1, he typically plays a lot of plays out of the slot where the Jets have been especially vulnerable. The Cheetah has found the end zone four times in his past four contests, giving him 19 scores on the season. He has over 20 DKFP in three of his past four contests and over 12 DKFP in six of his past eight. Even though he’s pricey, the upside is too high to pass up given the matchup. Other Options — DeAndre Hopkins ($8,000), JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,500)
Deebo Samuel, SF vs. CIN, $4,100 — Samuel has been one of the best value plays in these sims and is very involved when the 49ers throw the ball. He had four straight games with at least four catches before a down game in his most recent outing against the Chargers. He had over 12 DKFP in three straight before that, which is a great return on investment with his salary so low. There are some boom-or-bust options around him with higher ceilings, but his involvement makes him one of the best plays under $6K. It’s also worth noting that there’s a weird gap in the salary structure on this slate with no WR between $6,100 and $4,800.
Diontae Johnson, PIT at HOU, $3,000 — Johnson is available at the minimum salary despite his very solid numbers lately and his favorable matchup against a struggling secondary. Johnson is the Steelers’ WR3 and has a solid 75 overall rating to go with his 91 speed rating. He has produced 9.2 DKFP per sim and scored 11 touchdowns after going for 91 yards, 18.1 DKFP and a score on Wednesday night against New England. He is a little boom-or-bust based on usage, but I think he’s a great play in this situation.
Other Options — Will Fuller V ($4,700), Keke Coutee ($3,000)
George Kittle, SF vs. CIN, $6,300 — Kittle is in a slightly better situation than his fellow elite TE on this slate, Travis Kelce ($5,900). Kittle is the highest-rated TE in all of Madden with a 97 to Kelce’s 96 overall rating, and then there’s a dropoff before Zach Ertz checks in with his 90 overall rating as the third-best TE. Kittle has an 88 speed rating, 73 elusiveness rating, 98 catching rating and 88 spectacular catching rating that make him an elite option any time he takes the field. He showed off his high ceiling with seven catches for 121 yards and 22.1 DKFP against the Chargers and is now averaging a robust 15.2 DKFP per contest. He has been even better at home, where he averages 74.7 yards and 16.3 DKFP per sim. He should feast against the Bengals and reach double-digit DKFP for the seventh straight sim Other Option — Travis Kelce ($5,900)
Darren Fells, HOU vs. PIT, $3,700 — Fells is a fantasy option that makes sense in these sims since he gets so much volume in the short passing game from Watson. He has averaged 3.9 receptions per sim and has at least three catches in four straight and seven of his past eight. He only has four touchdowns on the sim season, but his PPR production still makes him worth a look at this salary.
Other Options — Vance McDonald ($3,900), Ryan Griffin ($3,500)
49ers DST vs. CIN, $2,700 — San Francisco’s defense is elite and it is well-stocked with playmakers, but the unit hasn’t been a truly elite defensive unit since they only have 11 takeaways and 45 sacks in 28 sims. Their solid 4.1 DKFP per contest is mostly a result of limiting opponents’ production, and they’ll look to continue that trend as they face the Bengals, who have struggled against good defenses. Other Option — Texans DST ($2,500)
Steelers DST at HOU, $2,400 — J.J. and T.J. Watt will both likely be involved in this matchup but won’t face off directly against each other since both play defense. I actually prefer T.J’s Steelers overall since they have been able to force more turnovers and have more playmakers around their Watt brother. Pittsburgh has 60 sacks in their 28 sims along with 22 takeaways and four defensive touchdowns, which have powered them to 5.8 DKFP per sim. Houston has some big-play options on offense but has also turned the ball over and allowed plenty of sacks, so they’re actually a pretty good matchup for Pittsburgh’s defense.
Other Option — Jets ($2,200)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.