Before Thursday Night Football gets Week 9 in the NFL underway, the DraftKings Dream Stream has a trio of Madden sims ready to roll starting at 12:00 p.m. ET. The action in the featured three-game classic gets underway when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Kansas City Chiefs at 12:00 p.m. ET and continues at 2:00 p.m. ET when the Buffalo Bills host the Minnesota Vikings. The final game of the day kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET, featuring the Houston Texans taking on the Cleveland Browns.
An important note to remember is that each roster is not impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs or injuries, and the highest-rated options are on the top of the depth charts. The roster for each team includes all player movement that occurred prior to Week 1 of this season and you can find the game settings, depth charts, abilities and X-factors for each team in Madden 21 along with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page.
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Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns, $7,700 — While Patrick Mahomes ($8,100) has been outstanding in these sims and always has a high ceiling, I actually think this is a better spot for Watson against the Browns’ defense that has given up at least 20 points in five straight games, averaging 28.2 points points allowed during that span. Watson has averaged 22.1 DKFP per contest in his 18 games in Madden 21 and has produced more than 22 DKFP in six of his past seven games. That production is especially impressive since he has played tough defenses with the San Francisco 49ers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and even the Baltimore Ravens two times during that span. He’ll get a much better matchup at home against Cleveland and should be able to put up nice production. He is averaging 77.6 rushing yards and 189.3 passing yards per game with 21 passing touchdowns in addition to seven on the ground. His rushing potential gives him a very high floor and an ability to go off in multiple ways. He also has a high ceiling due to his multiple ways of producing and has reached 30 DKFP three times already in Madden 21.
Other Option — Patrick Mahomes ($8,100)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans, $6,000 — On the other side of that late afternoon matchup, Mayfield has a high ceiling against the Houston defense, in what I think will be the highest scoring of the three matchups. Mayfield is much more volatile than the top options in Madden 21 but has a high ceiling, which he showed with 30.7 DKFP two sims ago against the Chargers. He has totaled 23 touchdowns passes in 17 sims while averaging 220.2 passing yards per game. Lately, he has been solid with at least 18 DKFP in four of his past five contests. He should be able to continue that roll against a struggling Texans secondary, and he has a high enough ceiling to consider pivoting off the elite QBs and spending up elsewhere.
Other Option — Josh Allen ($6,500)
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills, $8,400 — Cook has been one of the most consistent RB options in all of Madden 21 and has 18 touchdowns in 17 sims while averaging 94.8 rushing yards in addition to 3.6 catches for 28.1 receiving yards per contest. He had nine catches for 63 yards with 83 rushing yards and a touchdown when the Vikings took on the Bills earlier in the Madden 21 sims, finishing with 29.6 DKFP in Minnesota’s 24-21 victory. He did have a quieter game against the Colts in his most recent sim with only 11.8 DKFP, but he should be able to bounce back against Buffalo and return to his typical high-level production. He had at least 100 yards and 27 DKFP in five straight games before that down contest and should rebound nicely against the Bills’ inconsistent run defense.
Other Options — Ezekiel Elliott ($7,500), Nick Chubb ($6,000)
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans, $4,600 — If you’re shopping for a value RB, Hunt is the best way to go since he is usually very involved as the Browns’ third-down back. He has at least 9.0 DKFP in three straight sims and in six of his past eight contests. During that run, he had a six-catch performance against the Chargers that resulted in 20.6 DKFP and also rushed for over 50 yards in two games against the Falcons and the Bengals. Hunt is averaging a solid 3.4 receptions per game and his PPR points give him a nice safety net even if he doesn’t find the end zone. He has scored just two touchdowns in 17 contests in Madden 21, but his other production is usually enough to still make him worth a look at his sub-$5K salary.
Other Options — Devin Singletary ($5,200), Duke Johnson ($3,700)
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys, $7,600 — Hill has used his 99 speed rating to pile up plenty of YAC in Madden 21 and has continued to get great volume throughout his 21 sims. He has averaged 6.0 catches for 85.3 yards per contest and found the end zone 19 times in those 21 contests. He has been held under 11 DKFP twice in his past four games but is usually able to break free for a big play or two, and has produced at least 18 DKFP five times in his past seven games and in 13-of-21 overall. He should be able to beat Dallas out of the slot, where he does most of his work, especially since the Cowboys’ secondary doesn’t have any options with more than an 81 overall rating or a 94 speed rating, giving a significant advantage to Hill with his 96 overall rating and 99 speed rating.
Other Options — Amari Cooper ($5,900), Stefon Diggs ($5,700)
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs, $5,300 — Gallup has been a regular contributor for the Cowboys in these sims and has been especially effective as a target around the end zone with 16 touchdowns in 19 contests. He has five touchdowns in his past four games with over 75 yards and 20 DKFP in three of those contests. While the Cowboys’ gameplan is usually to control the clock and feed Zeke, Gallup will be involved if they do have to take to the air and has multiple catches in 15 of his 19 sims in Madden 21.
Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans, $4,300 — In the latest roster update, Higgins took over as the Browns’ WR3 after Damion Ratley moved to the Giants. In that role, Higgins has been a regular contributor and is averaging 3.3 catches per contest over his past 10 games. During that span, he has a 141-yard game against the Jets, three games over 20 DKFP and four touchdowns. Houston’s secondary has given up plenty of yards and touchdowns through the air, and Higgins usually gets single-coverage plays opposite Odell Beckham ($6,100) in three-WR sets while Jarvis Landry ($4,900) moves into the slot.
Other Options — Tajae Sharpe ($4,500), Demarcus Robinson ($3,900), Randall Cobb ($3,200)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys, $7,100 — Along with Hill, Kelce has also been getting high volume in the Chiefs’ passing game. He has averaged 6.2 catches for 77.8 yards per sim and found the end zone 13 times in his 21 contests. He didn’t score against the Packers in his most recent sim but had three touchdowns in his four prior matchups. In the right matchup, he can be absolutely dominant, and he should be able to feast against Dallas. Kelce is extremely expensive compared to other TEs on this slate but is worth paying up for if possible since he has such a high ceiling and typically such good volume as well.
Other Option — Blake Jarwin ($4,400)
Lee Smith, Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings, $3,700 — Smith had five catches, a touchdown, 75 yards and 18.5 DKFP against the Bucs in his most recent sim and remains one of Josh Allen’s favorite targets in these sims. Smith has multiple catches in six consecutive sims, averaging 4.0 catches for 44.7 yards over that span. The Vikings have has issues against TE at times in these sims, and Smith’s consistent volume makes him one of the best plays under $4K at any position and a solid flex play.
Other Option — Darren Fells ($3,900)
Vikings DST at Buffalo Bills, $3,200 — The Vikings have forced 15 turnovers in their 17 sims with 35 sacks and three defensive touchdowns as well. They get a good matchup against the Bills, especially since Josh Allen has struggled with fumbles and inaccuracy throughout these sims. In his 17 sims, he has 11 turnovers, and the Vikings should be able to get a takeaway or two in this matchup while also not allowing a ton of points since the Bills have averaged just 18.25 points over their past eight games.
Other Option — Chiefs ($3,100)
Texans DST vs. Cleveland Browns, $2,800 — While I do think the Browns will be able to put up points, the Texans have a strong pass rush and should also be able to get pressure on Mayfield. Their secondary has often let them down in these sims like in real life, but they have managed 39 sacks in 18 sims along with 10 takeaways and 4.1 DKFP per contest. J.J. Watt definitely has playmaking potential with his 98 overall rating and his “Relentless” X-factor, and he’ll look to cause some mayhem in this matchup.
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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.