Thursday brings the start of another week of NFL action with Thursday Night Football kicking off Week 5 with a matchup between the Bears and the Buccaneers. Before that matchup, though, the DraftKings Dream Stream has three Madden 21 sims to help get you through the afternoon starting at 12:00 p.m. ET. Each of the simulated games on tap has both paid and free DraftKings single-game Showdown contests in addition to being part of a three-game classic contest. That three-game slate is the focus of this post and kicks off with the Chargers rolling into virtual Detroit to take on the Lions at 12 p.m. ET. At 2 p.m. ET, the Cardinals are in action on the road taking on the Steelers in virtual Pittsburgh, and we wrap up the day with a rematch of the showdown between Patrick Mahomes ($7,900) and Lamar Jackson ($8,100) as the Ravens take on the Chiefs in a rematch of a recent sim.
The roster for each team 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 set your lineups for Week 5.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens, $7,900 — Mahomes got the best of the Ravens in their recent sim and also beat Baltimore in real life a few Monday’s ago. Mahomes has been just as dominant in these sims as in real life, averaging 23.9 DKFP per sim and throwing an amazing 32 touchdowns in 14 games. On top of that, he has added four more touchdowns on the ground. In that recent sim against the Ravens, he had four passing touchdowns, 315 passing yards and a rushing score for 39.8 DKFP. He has put up over 26 DKFP in five of his past six games, totaling 20 touchdowns during that span. He is the only QB in all of Madden with a 99 overall rating, and recently his production is matching up to that rating.
Other Options — Lamar Jackson ($8,100)
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions, $6,600 — Herbert has been very solid since taking over as starting QB for the Chargers in these sims six games ago, leading Los Angeles to a 5-1 record. Recently, his fantasy production has ticked up with three touchdown tosses in each of his past two games, resulting in over 20 DKFP in each contest. Overall, he has 11 passing scores and just one interception while averaging 208.2 yards per sim. He gets a great matchup against the Lions, who have been one of the most generous defenses in Madden 21. The rookie has also shown he can scramble when he has to, averaging 21.7 rushing yards per sim in addition to a rushing touchdown he scored in his sim debut.
Other Option — Matthew Stafford ($6,300)
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions, $8,100 — While he is sidelined in real life, Ekeler is still the workhorse back for the Chargers in these sims and has a very high ceiling against the Lions. He has run for over 50 yards in all but three of his 12 contests, averaging 69.8 rushing yards and 4.1 catches for an additional 39.6 receiving yards per sim. His work as a receiver out of the backfield is key to his reliability as an elite option, and he has averaged 17.5 DKFP per contest. He has posted over 20 DKFP in each of his two most recent sims and should be able to hit that mark again in this matchup since the Lions have been very beatable both on the ground and through the air.
Other Options — Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6,000), Mark Ingram ($5,400)
D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs. Los Angeles Chargers, $5,100 — Partly as a result of their bad defense, the Lions have had to rally from behind on a regular basis in Madden 21. As a result, Swift has been very involved as a third-down back, averaging 5.2 catches per sim over his 10 contests. He has at least four catches in all but one of those sims and has reached double-digit DKFP in half those games including each of his two most recent contests. Even though he does still share time, his PPR production makes him a solid option at just over $5K.
Other Option — Jaylen Samuels ($4,500), J.K. Dobbins ($3,400)
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens, $7,200 — I know it seems like Hill is here in this stud WR spot all the time, but it’s hard to argue against his volume, upside and consistent production so far in Madden 21. He had six catches for 95 yards and three touchdowns against the Ravens just a few sims ago on his way to 33.5 DKFP. He did actually have a couple of mediocre results with 14.2 and 7.9 DKFP in his two most recent games, but his ratings are too high across the board for his lull to last long. He’s the only player in Madden with a 99 speed rating and usually uses that ability to post big play after big play. He has 12 touchdowns in his 14 sims and has averaged 81.1 yards per game on 5.8 receptions. That huge volume of work makes him a threat to go off in any matchup, and the fact that he just did against the Ravens a few games ago makes him an even stronger play in this rematch.
Other Option — Mike Williams ($6,700), Kenny Golladay ($6,000)
Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals, $4,900 — Johnson has been very involved as the Steelers’ WR2 since JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,300) slides in to the slot and leaves him as the top outside option. Johnson had a massive 10-catch performance two sims ago, posting 122 yards, a touchdown and 31.2 DKFP against the Chiefs. He has caught at least four passes in four straight games to raise his averages to 4.1 catches for 62.1 yards and 11.2 DKFP per contest. He has over 11 DKFP in three of his past four coming into this favorable matchup at home against the Cardinals. Johnson brings excellent big-play potential with his 91 speed rating and 89 change of direction rating.
Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens, $3,900 — Robinson has proven to be another solid option for Mahomes and the Chiefs from his WR3 spot. He had six catches for 59 yards, a touchdown and 17.9 DKFP in his most recent sim and has multiple catches in 10 straight contests. He hasn’t hit the 100-yard bonus in any sims but does have two touchdowns and is producing a solid 8.2 DKFP per game. He was held to two catches for 32 yards against the Ravens a few sims ago but has over 50 yards in four of his past five. He is a nice, affordable way to grab a piece of the Chiefs’ aerial show in the latest game on the slate.
Other Options — Marvin Jones Jr. ($5,200), Danny Amendola ($3,300), Joe Reed ($3,000)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens, $6,400 — There are plenty of good options at the top of this TE pool, but there’s no need to get cute unless you just can’t afford to pay up for Kelce. He has been dominant in his 14 Madden 21 sims, averaging 6.6 catches per contest for 74.1 yards. He has found the end zone 10 times in 14 games, including exactly one touchdown in each of his past six contests. He fell just one yard short of the 100-yard bonus in his earlier sim against the Ravens but still totaled 22.9 DKFP. He’s averaging an outstanding 18.8 DKFP per contest and should continue to get plenty of volume from Mahomes.
Other Options— Eric Ebron ($5,000), T.J. Hockenson ($4,900)
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions, $4,300 — If you can’t pay up for one of the top options or are looking to go dual-TE, Henry is an option to consider since he is usually involved in the Chargers’ offense and should be in a good matchup against Detroit. Henry has multiple catches in seven of his past eight games with four touchdowns over that span. In his six games with Justin Herbert as QB, Henry has averaged 9.6 DKFP and put up over 10 DKFP three times. Henry’s overall ratings show that that production should be able to continue, especially in this favorable matchup in Detroit.
Other Options— Mark Andrews ($4,400), Maxx Williams ($3,600)
Chargers DST at Detroit Lions, $3,100 — The Lions’ defense hasn’t been good, to be sure, but their offense hasn’t been outstanding either. They have put up 21 points or fewer in four straight sims and in 8-of-10 sims overall. The Chargers should be able to continue that trend in this contest and are showing fans what could have been this year if this talented group was 100% healthy in real life. So far in their 12 sims, they have seven takeaways, an impressive 29 total sacks, a defensive touchdown and are averaging a solid 6.3 DKFP per contest. They come into this matchup with multiple sacks in five straight games.
Chiefs DST vs. Baltimore Ravens, $2,900 — The matchup is less than ideal since they’re taking on Madden 21 cover athlete Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, but the Chiefs’ DST is averaging a slate-high 6.6 DKFP per sim and has shown they can produce big games even against strong opponents. When they faced the Ravens a few sims ago, they had 7.0 DKFP with a fumble recovery, a sack and just 10 points allowed. They have at least 5.0 DKFP in four straight and have totaled 11 takeaways and 27 sacks in 14 contests. The reason their average is so high, though, is that they have three defensive touchdowns, including one in their most recent sim, which was against Seattle.
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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.