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 Friday’s 12:00 p.m. ET game between the Bengals and Redskins.
The Dream Stream
LIVE at 12 p.m. ET
If there have been two teams in these Madden simulations that tend to bring explosive offense into any matchup, it’s been Cincinnati and Washington. In fact, when these two squads met back in April - just after DraftKings made the switch to Arcade Mode - the final score was 28-24. Who I am to believe we won’t see something similar on Friday? Specifically, Andy Dalton ($10,800) was quite good in that contest, finishing with 362 passing yards. For those keeping track at home, that’s one of the five occasions that the TCU product has reached the 300-yard bonus. Add that history lesson to the fact that Dalton’s averaged 23.3 DKFP across his last three starts and you’ve got yourself an enticing QB at the top of the pricing list.
Still, while Dalton appears to be a pretty simple case when it comes to viability, his receiving corps is a little more complex. The issue stems from all four of the quarterback’s main targets having some pretty similar statistics through 30 streams. For instance, while virtual A.J. Green ($10,200) is 100% healthy and leading the Bengals in receptions (129) and receiving yards (1,735), he’s averaging just 11.9 DKFP per start. Tyler Boyd ($8,000) and John Ross III ($5,400), who are significantly cheaper, are averaging 11.6 DKFP. Knowing that, it’s difficult to muster much excitement in owning Green; aside from the possibility that he becomes a high-ceiling variance asset. Honestly, it’s Ross that’s the most intriguing WR on the roster, as his 97 speed is the third-best rating in all of Madden. He’s used that skill to rack up six performances with over 20.0 DKFP. Green, almost twice Ross’ salary, has four such outputs. Also, don’t forget about Tyler Eifert ($7,000), especially considering he managed 16.5 DKFP the last time these teams faced off.
Well, it’s about time we talked about Joe Mixon ($9,600). The running back has three things working against him on this Showdown slate. One, his $9.6K price tag is tied for the most expensive he’s ever been in one of these simulations. Two, he’s registered less than 4.0 DKFP in seven of his past nine games. Three, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, Giovani Bernard ($3,000) has easily been the more consistent fantasy asset. However, allow me to paint the picture of Mixon as the ultimate differentiating option. The RB has averaged 16.2 DKFP the past nine streams where he’s scored a rushing TD. It’s a collection of contests that includes a two-touchdown showing against these same Redskins. Washington will surrender points, which makes this a reasonable situation to expect Mixon to find the end zone. I’m not saying it won’t be a huge risk, but it’s at least something to ponder for a second or two.
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In a way that very much mirrors the aforementioned Dalton, I think you have to bank on Dwayne Haskins ($10,400) hitting his ceiling on Friday afternoon. For a rookie quarterback with pretty dreadful Madden ratings, Haskins has actually showcased an extreme amount of upside in prior simulations, managing to exceed 25.0 DKFP on eight different occasions. Would his most recent virtual meeting with Cincinnati fall into that grouping of performances? You’d better believe it. In fact, Haskins threw for four touchdowns and reached the 300-yard bonus in Washington’s eventual win, as the 32.3 DKFP earned that day stands as his second-highest output within these streams. Again, I honestly think we’re getting a shootout in this one and that generally means finding a way to get exposure to both pivots.
The nice thing about the Redskins’ skill-position players is that there are some very easy avenues to saving salary. That’s not directly a knock on Terry McLaurin ($8,800), who is coming off a 10-catch game in Washington’s shocking recent win over New England; however, his 109 receptions rank behind Jordan Reed ($7,600), Paul Richardson ($6,800) and Trey Quinn ($4,200). Heck, his 1,515 receiving yards are only good for the third-most on the Redskins’ depth chart. For me, it’s just difficult to envision rostering McLaurin over Richardson, who leads the team with 17 touchdowns and has exceeded 18.0 DKFP in eight different simulations. I mean, on a single-entry slate like this, you might as well shoot for the moon, anyway.
Finally, let’s discuss Washington’s near-invisible rushing attack. No matter how he’s presented, I can never really find myself overly enthused about owning Derrius Guice ($6,400). Sure, he’s inexpensive for a “starting” running back, yet Guice finds his salary this low for good reason. The young RB has failed to score even 4.0 DKFP in 17 of the Redskins’ 30 games, with his modest reception total of 11 providing concrete evidence for his struggles. Now, to be clear, Guice’s faults don’t magically make Chris Thompson ($2,600) someone you have to own on any given slate; but, it is clear that Thompson is the more viable of the duo, however low a bar that might be.
With this more than likely being a high-scoring affair centered around quarterback play, I would definitely like to be able to fit both Andy Dalton and Dwayne Haskins into a build. To do that, I think you’ll have to attempt to save some salary at the Captain’s spot, so, thankfully, both Paul Richardson ($10,200 CP) and John Ross ($8,100 CP) exist. Both wideouts possess tantalizing amounts of upside and both check into this contest at a fair price. Either would make for a fine play at 1.5x value.
Final Score: Cincinnati 31, Washington 24
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.