With real-life sports in the midst of an extended time out, DraftKings has been helping to fill the void with some very entertaining simulated sports action. Each day, there are six Madden Streams and eight free contests, with a single-game Showdown for each game along with a pair of classic contests. Each of the simulations is 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 or right here in this post. Follow along to watch your fantasy team rack up some big fantasy points.
The Bills and Patriots are set to meet in an AFC East divisional clash in primetime on Friday night in the five entry max contest. The two teams have been at opposite ends of the AFC so far in these sims. New England has the best record of any team in these sims, going 22-6, but Buffalo has struggled to an AFC-worst 7-21 record. The Patriots would obviously be heavily favored in this matchup, but we have seen some big upsets in our sims and New England has picked up five of its six losses in Foxboro, where they’ll host the Bills in this matchup. Can Buffalo pull the upset or will New England continue to roll? Maybe even more importantly, who from each team is set up for success and should be a part of your fantasy lineup for the single-game Showdown contest? I’ll give you my pick to win the game and who I think should be in your lineup below.
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The Bills’ offense has struggled all season long, but there have been some flashes of brilliance from a couple of their fantasy options. Josh Allen ($10,800) has been one of the worst passers at QB but has still managed to average 17.5 DKFP per sim mostly due to his rushing prowess. He has some raw talent, highlighted by his perfect 99 throw power rating and his 84 speed rating. He has run for 16 touchdowns in his 28 sims while averaging just under 50 rushing yards per sim. He has had a little bit of fumble trouble as well, though with five fumbles lost. His low 76 awareness rating and his accuracy ratings under 80 for short, mid and deep range throws have made the Bills offense pretty ugly to watch at times especially against elite defenses like the one they’ll face in this contest. Allen produced over 19 DKFP in six of his past eight sims and could end up with some good garbage-time production even if the Bills can’t keep this game close. If you have the salary, he’s the Bills’ fantasy option with the highest ceiling, but he does come at a high price.
When Allen has thrown the ball accurately, his WR options haven’t been bad; they have just struggled when Allen is wildly inaccurate. John Brown ($9,600) and Cole Beasley ($7,600) each have 83 overall ratings, but Brown’s 90 speed rating makes him a nice deep threat. He can be boom-or-bust and could also end up against Stephon Gillmore, so I’ll probably past on him. Beasley has been very quiet in many of these sims and is only averaging 31.7 yards per contest and only has four touchdowns on the season. He a few catchless games and struggled have a catch at all against the Seahawks but had been a solid option out of the slot due to his 91 awareness rating. He hasn’t been as consistent and doesn’t have a high ceiling to be worth this salary. If you do want a Bills’ WR, Robert Foster ($4,200) could actually be a sneaky value play as the WR3. He has a 94 speed rating which gives him upside as a flier play although he hasn’t hit double figures in any of his past six sims.
There are two Bills that I like more than Foster, though, if you are looking for non-QB plays from Buffalo. TE Tyler Kroft ($5,600) has at least three catches in each of his past 21 sims with a reception and has averaged just under 10.0 DKFP per contest on the season. He gets enough volume that he’s a solid play especially if the Patriots’ CBs shut down the Bills’ WRs.
Devin Singletary ($8,200) is the other option I like for the Bills, despite his boom-or-bust tendencies. I’ve seen some good ceiling from him like the 26.3 DKFP he had against the colts and the eight-of-ten sims with double-digit DKFP before his two most recent games, where he struggled a bit. Gameflow could make him a limited option, but if he gets carries, he does have potential.
The Bills DST ($3,200) definitely has playmakers with X-Factor CB Tre’Davious White and Superstar S Micah Hyde, but they’ve bee left out to dry by their offense too often to take a shot on them against the Patriots. On the other hand, the Bills K Stephen Hauschka ($3,800) has been helped a little bit by the offensive struggles since they often have to settle for FGs. He is averaging 6.0 DKFP per sim and could be a nice way to sneak a cheap Bills’ player in your lineup.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have been a great source of fantasy production so far in these sims and that trend will likely continue in this matchup against the Bills. While the Bills defense hasn’t been awful, especially against deep passes, they have been beatable in the run game and with short passes. They have also been left on the field a ton since their offense has struggled (more on that above). If the Patriots get lots of possessions and opportunity, look for them to put up plenty of points.
Tom Brady ($11,200) has more Superstar abilities than any other player in Madden 2020. His X-Factor is “Pro Reads,” which means his first open receiver is highlighted when he is in the pocket after making multiple consecutive passes that travel five yards or more in the air. His Superstar abilities are “Hot Route Master,” “Conductor,” “Clutch,” “Protected” and “Pocket Lead” which have lined up with his impressive 91 overall rating to allow him to produce 18.8 DKFP per contest. Brady didn’t have a great game against the Steelers’ tough defense in the snow on Wednesday with just 12.72 DKFP, but he tore apart the Lions for five touchdowns and 30.44 DKFP the previous game. This contest will probably see him in between those two numbers, but with extra opportunities, he should be able to shine.
Brady isn’t the only Patriot over $10K with Julian Edelman ($10,200) just behind him. Edelman is a little pricey for me in this matchup since he only averages 13.5 DKFP so far this sim season. He could end up against X-Factor Tre’Davious White as well, which could limit his production and force Brady to look elsewhere, where there is also more value. Edelman has as 87 overall rating and Superstar ability of “Slot-o-matic,” which definitely give him upside. He had three touchdowns against the Lions two sims ago for a monster 35.6 DKFP but only had three catches for 36 yards against the Steelers, showing how boom-or-bust he can be depending on matchup and opportunities.
The Patriots have been getting very good work from the rest of their pass-catchers, though, starting with WR2 Mohamed Sanu ($6,600), who has a solid 79 overall rating and good possession receiver skills. He doesn’t have game-breaking speed but has hauled in 16 touchdowns in 28 sims and has produced at least 11.0 DKFP in seven of his past eight games. He’s a very nice midrange play and should be heavily targeted if White locks up Edelman. New England’s big plays in the passing department have usually come from home-run-threeat Phillip Dorsett II ($4,800), who is on their WR3. He has 10 touchdowns catches and big-play potential but has been held under 10 DKFP in six of his past eight. He isn’t quite consistent enough to be as safe a play as Sanu or Ben Watson ($7,200) but does come with a very high ceiling.
If Watson played in real-life like he has in these sims, he probably wouldn’t have retired after the season. He has been a beast with 15.0 DKFP per sim, a high ceiling and great value potential. His 79 overall rating — the same as Sanu’s — hasn’t held him back at all, and he should continue to be a frequent target against the Bills. Buffalo has been beaten by TE fairly regularly, so Watson should get plenty of targets. Even when he doesn’t score a touchdown, he can be a strong play since he’s averaging almost 70 receiving yards per sim.
The Patriots’ backfield has a clear leader in these sims unlike in real life, and James White ($9,000) has flourished in his expanded role as RB1 and the third down back. He has an 83 overall rating and has averaged 68.8 rushing yards and 17.7 receiving yards per contest while adding a total of 12 touchdowns in 28 games. He has produced just under 15 DKFP per sim, so he’s a little pricey at $9K, but you’re paying for reliability since he has double-digit DKFP in six strating contests. He does occasionally lose some power back work to Sony Michel ($2,800), but Michel only has 223 yards and five touchdowns in the 21 sims he has been involved in, while he has stayed totally on the sidelines for seven contests.
The Patriots’ DST ($3,600) has a very good matchup and should be able to limit the Bills’ offense which has been mostly a miss so far this sim season. They don’t force a ton of turnovers like the top DST in Madden with just 19 takeaways in their 28 games, but they do typically get pressure on opposing QBs which should set up well against the Bills, who have a tendency to fumble. Stephen Gostkowski ($4,000) is probably a slightly safer play than the DST but doesn’t have quite as high of a ceiling.
Most of the best options for Captain’s Picks are definitely going to come from the New England side, but I actually think you could build a Patriots stack with Tyler Kroft ($8,400 CP) as your Captain’s Pick if you want to go contrarian. James White ($13,500 CP) would be my favorite Pats’ Captain’s Pick in this matchup with Mohamed Sanu ($9,900 CP) and Ben Watson ($10,800 CP) not far behind. If you think the passing game will be effective and distributed to all those options, Tom Brady ($16,800 CP) also has a high ceiling, but you’ll have to spend wisely in your flex spots if you pay all the way up for TB12.
I won’t say the Bills have no shot at all, but the Patriots have so many advantages in key matchups, they should take care of business at home against their division rivals. The most likely scenario in my mind is that it’s a James White and Ben Watson led game and the Patriots cruise to a comfortable win.
Final Score: Patriots 27, Bills 10
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.