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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for December 15

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Tuesday’s three-game Madden Stream DraftKings slate, which starts at 6:00 p.m. ET.

The DraftKings Dream Stream is ready to roll this Tuesday with a full six-game schedule of action, as the Madden Holiday Season continues with a day full of NFC action. At this point, teams are playing their second of three games in the divisional round to determine which two teams from each division advance to the knockout stage. Make sure to check out the standings and the stat leaders along with the bonus offer each day on the main Holiday Season page.

The big contest with a $5K top prize and the rest of the three-game featured slate contests kick off at 6:00 p.m. ET with the Detroit Lions visiting the Minnesota Vikings in the second game of the day from the NFC North. Both the Vikings and Lions lost their Holiday Season openers, so the loser of this matchup will most likely not advance. In primetime, we turn our focus to the NFC South, where the Atlanta Falcons will host the New Orleans Saints at 8:00 p.m. ET. At 10:00 p.m. ET, the Carolina Panthers visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to wrap up the second game in the division. The Saints and Bucs won the first two games in the NFC South, so these two games will go a long way to set the playoff scenarios for this group of teams heading into their final divisional round game at the end of this week.

As usual, remember that each roster is not impacted by COVID-19 opt-outs, injuries, suspensions or illness and the highest-rated options have been placed at 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. There were a few tweaks to the X-factors and Superstars in the latest December update, so be sure to check the depth charts of each team.

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.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $15K Holiday Season Kickoff [$2K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest.

Put your DraftKings daily fantasy football skills to the test against Jim Cramer, his followers and other members of the DraftKings Playbook community! Check out the new Cramer’s Cash Contest and enter your lineup in a rake-free contest for Week 15.



Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints, $6,400 — Ryan led the Falcons to the championship in the Madden 21 preseason tournament, but Atlanta may not advance to the knockout stage unless they can get a win against New Orleans. Ryan only managed 13.78 DKFP in a 14-11 loss to the Bucs in the Holiday Season opener and will need to play better in this home matchup. In his 31 Madden 21 sims, Ryan has thrown 63 touchdowns and averaged 261.8 passing yards per sim. He had a monster game against the Saints when Atlanta knocked them out of the previous tournament with a 45-20 win. Ryan totaled 36.54 DKFP with 341 passing yards and five touchdowns in one of his best games of the sims. He has a similar ceiling in this rematch due to his highly skilled pass-catchers, and his average of 19.1 DKFP per sim is significantly higher than the rest of the QBs on this slate, making him the best play if salary is not an issue.

Other Option — Drew Brees ($6,100)


Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $5,300 — The Panthers have faced the Bucs three times in these Madden 21 sims, going 2-1 and winning each of the two most recent matchups. In those three games, Bridgewater has been pretty consistent with 21.3 DKFP, 23.82 DKFP and 18.98 DKFP. He has hit a rough patch recently which has dropped his salary significantly, but he should be set up to bounce back against Tampa Bay. He brings the most rushing potential of any QB on the slate, although he doesn’t take off and run a ton. He has thrown 37 touchdowns and run for two more in his 25 Madden 21 sims while averaging 215.2 passing yards and 16.5 DKFP per sim. If the Bucs’ run defense focuses on shutting down Christian McCaffrey ($7,600) and stacks the box like it did in previous matchups, Bridgewater should have opportunities to get the ball into the hands of his speedy playmakers on the outside. If he has a decent game at this extremely affordable salary, he’ll provide you plenty of flexibility for the rest of your lineup.

Other Option — Matthew Stafford ($5,500)

Running Back


Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions, $8,900 — Cook has been one of the best fantasy plays in Madden 21, and he’s in a smash spot here against the Lions, who have been one of the worst defenses in these sims. Cook has scored an impressive 33 touchdowns in just 26 sims while averaging 103.4 rushing yards, 3.5 catches and 27.2 receiving yards per sim. He finished just one yard short of the 100-yard bonus in his first meeting with the Lions but had two scores and 26.7 DKFP. He went off for 51.0 DKFP two sims ago by running wild against the Giants for 138 rushing yards, three touchdowns and eight catches for 82 more yards. He has that kind of ceiling in this matchup as well, given the Lions’ struggles defensively. Even Cook’s down games are usually solid totals, and his PPR production always provides a nice cushion.

Other Options — Christian McCaffrey ($7,600), Alvin Kamara ($7,000)


Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints, $6,800 — Gurley is more expensive than most plays in my value spots, but there are so many high-salary RBs that his salary under $7K actually is in the lower half of starters on this slate. Since he’s fully healthy in simland, Gurley has been churning out fantasy points with at least 14.0 DKFP in nine straight games coming into this contest. He tore up the Saints for 34.2 DKFP in their first meeting in Madden 21 but was held to just 9.0 DKFP in their rematch when Matt Ryan went off as highlighted above. Typically, the Falcons try to rely on Gurley as the focus of their offense and usually get him involved as a pass-catcher as well. He has averaged 4.4 catches for 37.8 receiving yards per game and scored 10 receiving touchdowns in addition to his 12 rushing scores. He hasn’t been as consistent as Cook, but Gurley is a really nice play with a high ceiling if you can find a way to get in a second star RB under your salary cap. Gurley does get all the work in the backfield for Atlanta, unlike the two other options listed below who are locked into timeshares and therefore more risky options.

Other Option — D’Andre Swift ($4,400), LeSean McCoy ($4,100)

Wide Receiver


Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints, $6,700 — While Michael Thomas ($6,900) has the slightly higher overall rating, Jones has been more productive in his head-to-head matchups between these two elite WRs. Jones had eight catches for 104 yards and 21.4 DKFP in their first meeting and followed that up with nine catches for 150 yards, two touchdowns and 39.0 DKFP in the rematch. He had a rough stretch in the middle of his 31 Madden 21 sims but has surged back into the top tier recently with at least four catches and over 12 DKFP in five straight games, highlighted by a 33.1-DKFP performance against the Jaguars. Jones will need to step up as the Falcons try to avoid being eliminated, and I think he’ll be able to find plenty of space to operate against the Saints’ secondary.

Other Options — Michael Thomas ($6,900), Chris Godwin ($6,000)


DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $4,800 — Moore is the Panthers’ WR1, but he’s still available at a great salary under $5K since his volume has been inconsistent at times. He has had at least three catches in three straight sims and in 10 of his past 12. Moore went off for one of his best games in his most recent sim in Tampa Bay, racking up 142 yards and a touchdown on seven catches for 32.2 DKFP. Moore has only hit the 100-yard bonus three times in his 25 sims but does have solid averages of 4.1 catches, 51.2 receiving yards and 12.0 DKFP per sim. He isn’t an elite play, but he does bring a great ceiling and consistent production for an option under $5K.

Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, $3,500 — Amendola is very involved in the Lions’ passing game as their WR3 and primarily slot option. The veteran has a catch in every contest and has averaged 3.5 catches for 40.2 yards per sim while finding the end zone a total of eight times in 27 sims. He had his first Madden 21 touchdown in this same matchup against the Vikings, when he produced 17.4 DKFP on six catches, 54 yards and that touchdown. He had a two-touchdown game against the Patriots recently that resulted in 23.5 DKFP, but he’s even a solid value if he doesn’t score since he’s a frequent target over the middle and usually chips in solid PPR production.

Other Options — Mike Evans ($5,700), Tajae Sharpe ($4,100), Russell Gage ($3,700)

Tight End


T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, $5,300 — I expect Cook to be running free against the Lions’ defense, which means Detroit will likely have to play from behind for much of this contest. If that’s the case, Hockenson should be in a great spot to produce a big game since Minnesota has struggled to defend TEs throughout these sims. Hockenson has at least four catches in seven of his past eight sims with over 90 yards in four of those contests as well. He had seven catches for 71 yards and 14.1 DKFP in the Holiday Season opener and has reached double-digit DKFP in three of his past four sims. In his previous contest with the Vikings, he had 13.3 DKFP and a very solid eight catches. He definitely has the upside to be a good play in the rematch and has been the top TE on the slate by a comfortable margin, averaging 12.6 DKFP per sim.

Other Option — Jared Cook ($4,400)


Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $3,100 — In real life, Thomas has been very sparingly involved in the Panthers’ passing attack, but he has been fairly productive in simland, averaging 3.4 catches for 37.7 yards per sim. He doesn’t usually go off for a huge total, with his high-point being just 17.4 DKFP, but he does consistently produce PPR production and offers very good returns at just over $3K, where most WRs or TEs at that salary point are barely involved at all.

Other Option — Hayden Hurst ($4,000)



Vikings DST vs. Detroit Lions, $3,100 — The Vikings’ defense is in the best matchup on this slate facing the Lions. They have been a solid unit overall and have plenty of playmakers, especially along the defensive line. The team has totaled 53 sacks in 26 sims while forcing 19 turnovers and scoring three defensive touchdowns. Minnesota had 3.0 DKFP in their first meeting with Detroit and has at least that many DKFP in each of their past six sims.


Saints DST at Atlanta Falcons, $2,700 — The Saints have forced 10 turnovers in their 30 games while piling up 50 sacks. They have averaged a solid 4.3 DKFP per sim even though they only have one defensive touchdown. They had 6.0 DKFP in their most recent meeting with Matty Ice and the Falcons and are the best value DST on the board based on matchups and potential upside.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $15K Holiday Season Kickoff [$2K to 1st] and your FREE lineups here: Madden Stream $500 FREE Contest.

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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.