Get your week started strong with three Madden 21 sims on the DraftKings Dream Stream before enjoying the Monday Night Football doubleheader with Leaderboard Live. Each of the three simulated games on tap for Monday has both paid and free showdown contests in addition to being part of the three-game classic contests that kicks off at 12 p.m. ET and are the focus of this post. The action starts with the Panthers going on the road to take on the Bucs in an NFC South matchup at noon. At 2 p.m. ET, the Vikings take on the Steelers in virtual Pittsburgh and we wrap up the Madden 21 contests for Monday with the Ravens and the Patriots at 4 p.m. ET.
The roster for each team now includes all player movement that occurred prior to Week 1 of this season and you can find the depth charts, abilities and X-factors for Madden 21 along with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page. The rosters have also been adjusted to get the best players on the field and will not be impacted by any COVID-19 opt-outs or injuries.
Check out the daily DraftKings Madden Stream contests lobby with paid contests for real cash prizes now available alongside free contests. Each simulation will be played out computer vs. computer via an online Madden Stream using Madden 21. In this format, you can enjoy watching the game stream on the DraftKings YouTube channel, the DK Live app (download here) or right here in this post.
Put your DraftKings daily fantasy football skills to the test against other readers and writers of DraftKings Playbook! Check out the new DraftKings Content Battleground to see how the contest finished in Week 4 and watch for Week 5 content and contests coming soon.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, $7,500 — The Patriots have a solid defense but there’s a reason Jackson is on the cover of Madden 21 — he’s really good. His ratings as a rusher are extremely high across the board and he has been a great play in these sims, producing 22.9 DKFP per sim on 82.7 rushing yards and 155.9 passing yards per contest. He has thrown for 12 touchdowns and run for six more. Jackson has never had fewer than 15 DKFP in a Madden 21 sim and has posted over 20 DKFP in seven of his 10 contests. He can be a little turnover prone and has six fumbles, but he usually more than makes up for that with his high ceiling. He showed off that ceiling with a monster 32.1-DKFP game against the Patriots just a few sims ago, rushing for two scores and 85 yards while adding 190 passing yards and a third touchdown. He has been a step above the rest of the QBs on this slate, so pay up for him if you have the flexibility to afford any of the six starters in action.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $6,400 — Bridgewater definitely doesn’t have the same ceiling or consistent production as Jackson, but he has shown some very nice flashes in his nine sims as the Panthers’ starting QB. He is averaging 205.7 passing yards and 18.4 rushing yards per contest and has 15 total touchdown tosses. He added his one rushing touchdown in his previous matchup with the Bucs, when he totaled 21.3 DKFP in a narrow defeat. He has put up over 14 DKFP in seven of his past eight games including four games with over 21 DKFP, including that previous matchup against Tampa Bay.
Other Options — Cam Newton ($6,900), Ben Roethlisberger ($6,000)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $7,800 — McCaffery is fully healthy in simland and has been putting up big games lately with back-to-back performances of over 100 yards rushing. He had an enormous game with 42.4 DKFP and three touchdowns against the Jaguars and followed that with 22.56 DKFP against the Broncos. McCaffrey still has his perfect 99 overall rating and brings an extremely high ceiling, although his production has been uneven throughout these sims, dating all the way back to Madden 2020. He had 16.9 DKFP in his first matchup with the Bucs and has double-digit DKFP in seven of nine games while posting over 22 DKFP three times in his past five sims. He hasn’t been as reliable as Dalvin Cook ($8,000), who has a similar salary, but CMC offers a higher ceiling and is in a much more favorable matchup than Cook, who has to face the Steelers.
Other Options — Dalvin Cook ($8,000), Leonard Fournette ($6,500)
J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, $3,600 — Dobbins has stepped in as the Ravens’ third-down and power back for the past five games since the roster update. He has averaged 7.5 DKFP per game in that role and posted at least 7.0 DKFP in all but one of those contests. He only has one touchdown but almost always gets involved as a receiver out of the backfield and puts together some solid yardage. He hasn’t had a huge game since his 12.2 DKFP in his debut in his new roles, but he gets enough work to be a very solid value play, offering upside and the flexibility to spend up in other spots on your roster.
Other Options — James White ($4,600), Jaylen Samuels ($4,300)
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers, $6,400 — Since the roster update, Evans has posted over 15 DKFP in three of his five sims, highlighted by a 200-yard performance against the Falcons which resulted in 38.0 DKFP. Evans has at least five catches in each of those strong showings and also had that many receptions against the Panthers in the teams’ first meeting. He has the ratings to be exceptional, but sometimes his targets can be lacking due to game flow. In this matchup, I think virtual Tom Brady ($6,700) should be able to find the mismatch and lean heavily on his WR1.
Other Option — JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,000), Adam Thielen ($6,600)
DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $5,300 — In general, WR1s have gotten a significant boost in the recent roster update since it did get the best players on the field and may have put them in more primary spots in certain plays and formations. Moore has over 10 DKFP in three of his five games since the roster update, including a 28.8-DKFP performance against the Chargers. Moore has at least three receptions in every one of his nine sims and is averaging 4.9 catches for 57.9 yards per sim. The Bucs don’t have the best secondary, so Moore should be able to find space and be able to utilize his 93 speed rating to make big plays.
Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens, $3,900 — Byrd is also a big-play threat from his WR3 spot for the Patriots due to his 94 speed rating. His involvement has been inconsistent, which is why he’s so affordable, but when he does get opportunities he typically makes the most of them. Byrd had six catches for 83 yards and 14.3 DKFP two sims ago against Baltimore and followed that with five catches, 83 yards and 13.3 DKFP against the Cowboys in his most recent outing.
Other Options — Robby Anderson ($4,100), Justin Jefferson ($3,300)
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, $4,200 — Andrews has very high ratings across the board and even gets a boost from one of Jackson’s Superstar traits. However, his production has been very inconsistent in Madden 21 since the Ravens sometimes rely so heavily on the running game. When he does get involved, he has been successful lately. He had three catches for 102 yards and 22.2 DKFP against the Patriots in their recent meeting and also put up a big game with 22.8 DKFP in his most recent sim against the Saints. Be aware, though, that there is some bust potential as well, as demonstrated by his one catch for 1.5 DKFP in the one sim between those two big performances. Despite that risk, he’s a strong play at just over $4K and the ratings and matchup give him a high ceiling in this contest.
Other Options— Eric Ebron ($4,800), Devin Asiasi ($4,500)
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers, $3,200 — The Vikings-Steelers matchup shapes up to be a defensive struggle, so I’d stay away from most of the offensive options. However, it’s hard to overlook Rudolph and his 10.0 DKFP average at only $3,200. Recently, he had a huge game against the Seahawks with 140 yards and a touchdown on seven catches for a total of 30.0 DKFP. He hasn’t usually hit that ceiling but has at least three catches in eight straight contests. With that kind of volume and this affordable price, Rudolph is a nice, safe cheap play that lets you pay up in other spots.
Other Options— Ian Thomas ($3,900), Rob Gronkowski ($3,500)
Steelers DST vs. Minnesota Vikings, $3,200 — You might be able to make a case for the Patriots DST ($3,100) if they weren’t taking on Jackson and the Ravens, but with that fact in mind, I think the Steelers are clearly the top option on this slate. They have forced seven turnovers and piled up 25 sacks in their 10 sims, averaging 6.0 DKFP even without a defensive touchdown yet. They have playmakers all over the field with Minkah Fitzpatrick at safety, T.J. Watt at linebacker and Cameron Heyward on the defensive line. Minnesota’s offense has struggled with Kirk Cousins ($5,500) at QB, making this a good spot for the Steelers.
Panthers DST at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $3,000 — Normally, I try to go cheaper with my value selection at DST, but the more affordable options on this slate haven’t done much at all lately. The Panthers have been solid, though, at just $3K, so they work as a value play on this slate. Carolina has 12 sacks and six takeaways in its nine games and has scored three defensive touchdowns. The DST gets a huge boost from having CMC return kickoffs, giving them good upside. They have at least 8.0 DKFP in three of their past four sims and had five sacks for 5.0 DKFP the previous time they faced the Bucs.
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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.