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Madden Stream Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy Football DFS Targets, Values for December 17

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Thursday’s three-game Madden Stream DraftKings slate, which starts at 12:00 p.m. ET.

We’ve already arrived at each team’s final game of the divisional play-in round for this Madden Holiday Season on the DraftKings Dream Stream. In the three Madden sims on tap for Thursday, we’ll wrap up the action in the AFC South before going West for a nice matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. Make sure to check out the standings for all the playoff updates as the divisional round wraps up, and you can also check out all the stat leaders from the season games so far. There are also special offers each day on the main Holiday Season page that you don’t want to miss.

The action this Thursday gets underway at 12:00 p.m. ET with a matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans. Both teams have split their first two games this Holiday Season, so the winner of this game will advance to the playoffs while the loser heads home. The team that advances will join the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 2-0 in divisional play, but before that the Jags will host the 0-2 Houston Texans at 2:00 p.m. ET in their third and final game in this round. The Chiefs have also already clinched their spot in the knockout round, and they’ll wrap up their three-game regular season with a 4:00 p.m. ET contest against the Raiders at virtual Arrowhead Stadium.

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 $10K 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.


Quarterback

Stud

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $8,000 — The Chiefs crushed the Broncos in their most recent sim behind four touchdowns and 429 passing yards from Mahomes, who finished with 36.16 DKFP. That kind of outstanding production isn’t just an outlier for Mahomes, who is the only QB with a perfect 99 overall rating. He has thrown an impressive total of 75 touchdowns passes in his 32 Madden 21 sims and adding nine rushing scores while averaging 289.9 passing yards per contest. Mahomes is low-risk since he almost always finds a way to put up good numbers one way or another and has over 20 DKFP in 69% of his Madden 21 sims. He also has a sky-high ceiling, having reached over 30 DKFP in 25% of those contests. He should be able to put together another strong performance against the Raiders, so pay up for him if you can work his hefty salary under your cap.

Other Option — Deshaun Watson ($7,300)

Value

Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans, $6,000 — As excellent as Mahomes always is, he hasn’t been the best QB over the tiny sample size of the Holiday Season. That top spot goes to Minshew, who has led his undefeated Jaguars to big wins over the Colts and Titans. Minshew had over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns on his way to 28.88 DKFP in virtual Tennessee and followed that with two passing touchdowns and a rushing score against the Colts, for a total of 26.5 DKFP. He has at least 17 DKFP in seven of his past eight sims and has been solid throughout these Madden 21 sims with an average of 215.4 passing yards per game to go with his 46 touchdown passes and four rushing scores over his 28 Madden 21 sims. The Houston Texans have also been an excellent matchup to attack for opposing QBs, so Minshew should be able to keep rolling into the next round with this favorable matchup. If you decide you can’t afford to pay up for Mahomes, Minshew is the best pivot on this slate.

Other Option — Ryan Tannehill ($5,800)


Running Back

Stud

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts, $7,900 — The Colts and Titans start the day with a fun “win-and-get-in” matchup between teams that have both beaten the Texans and lost to the Jags so far this Holiday Season. Henry has been solid but not spectacular in both matchups, posting 22.2 DKFP against Jacksonville and 21.4 DKFP against Houston. He has been almost a lock to get to 20 DKFP in his 28 sims in Madden 21 since he is now the team’s third-down back in addition to his heavy workload as the RB1. Henry has added 3.9 receptions for 26.4 yards to his 88.1 rushing yards per game and has tacked on five receiving touchdowns to his 28 scores on the ground. He comes into this matchup with over 21 DKFP in three straight sims and posted 31.1 DKFP in his only previous sim against these Colts. His PPR production is a great safety net, and adds even more potential to his high ceiling.

Other Options — Nyheim Hines ($7,000), Chris Thompson ($5,900)

Value

Duke Johnson, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars, $4,300 — If you’re paying up for Henry and Mahomes and considering the top options at TE and WR as well, you’ll need to go cheap somewhere, and one place to get some good value is with Duke Johnson, who handles the third-down work for the Texans, sharing time with David Johnson ($3,400). Duke Johnson has been the better play of the Johnsons most of the time in Madden, though, due to his PPR production. He has multiple catches or a touchdown in eight straight games with at least 6.0 DKFP in all but one of those contests. He hasn’t faced the Jaguars since moving into this new role in the most recent depth chart update, but he has averaged a solid 7.4 DKFP in his 23 sims in this spot. He has scored nine touchdowns over that span while averaging exactly 2.0 catches per sim for 13.5 receiving yards to go with his 17.0 rushing yards per contest.

Other Options — Jalen Richard ($4,600)


Wide Receiver

Stud

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $7,900 — Hill has been outstanding throughout these Madden sims and is the only player in all of Madden 21 with a perfect 99 speed rating. Hill went off for 42.6 DKFP against the Broncos in his most recent sim with 166 yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches. He is now averaging 6.6 catches for 94.0 yards per contest with a total of 28 touchdowns in 32 sims. He has over 35 DKFP in three of his past four sims and posted a solid 22.0 DKFP even when the Chiefs only had 17 points against the Chargers in their Holiday Season opener. The connection between Hill and Mahomes makes them a great stack to consider any time they play, although you will have to get creative with your other roster spots if you stock up on all these salaries around $8K.

Other Options — Brandin Cooks ($7,000), DJ Chark Jr. ($5,900)

Value

Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans, $5,500 — Westbrook has been the go-to receiver for the Jags in their 2-0 start to the Holiday Season, and the WR2 has dominated out of the slot. He is averaging 3.8 catches for 50.5 yards per sim in his 28 contests in Madden 21 but has been significantly better lately with over 25 DKFP in each of his past two matchups. He had 10 catches for 148 yards and 27.8 DKFP against the Titans and followed that with six catches for 118 yards, a touchdown and 26.8 DKFP against the Colts. The Texans’ secondary has been a mess throughout these sims, so Westbrook should be a very solid midrange play once again as he looks to post double-digit DFKP for the sixth time in his seven most recent contests.

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans, $4,100 — Another slot option that I like as a value play on this slate is Campbell, who brings an impressive 94 speed rating and isn’t dealing with the knee injury that has sidelined him in real life. Campbell did post a weird no-show in the first Holiday Season game for the Colts, but he bounced back with a solid six catches for 71 yards and 13.1 DKFP against the Jaguars. In his previous matchup with the Titans, Campbell took advantage of the same matchup that Westbrook did out of the slot and went off for 146 yards, a touchdown and 31.6 DKFP on eight catches. If he gets that kind of volume in the rematch, he’ll be a great play at barely over $4K and allow you the salary you need to stack up stars in other roster spots.

Other Options — Corey Davis ($5,300), Henry Ruggs III ($4,600), Demarcus Robinson ($3,900)


Tight End

Stud

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $6,400 — Even though Hill has been outstanding throughout these sims, there is still usually plenty of work to make Kelce an elite play as well. He has over 21 DKFP in four of his past five games and has raised his average to 18.4 DKFP per contest over his 32 sims in Madden 21. Kelce has 21 touchdowns in those 32 sims and is just four catches away from reaching 200 receptions since the upgrade to the new game. The Raiders’ pass defense isn’t great overall and they have given up good games to Noah Fant and Hunter Henry so far this Holiday Season.

Other Option — Darren Waller ($5,500), Jonnu Smith ($5,000)

Value

Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans, $4,200 — If salary cap limitations force you to leave out one of the megastars on this slate or if you go with a double-TE construction to your lineup, Eifert is a reliable play that makes sense against the Texans. Eifert has at least four catches in four straight sims and multiple catches in all 28 of the Jaguars’ sims in Madden 21. He had 22.2 DKFP in the Holiday Season opener against the Titans and followed that with 10.3 DKFP against the Colts. Eifert is averaging just over 10.0 DKFP per sim and even his down games aren’t total busts, making him a solid option just over $4K.

Other Option — Darren Fells ($3,600)


DST

Stud

Chiefs DST vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $2,800 — The Chiefs have been one of the best DSTs in the Holiday Season so far, posting 12 DKFP in their win over the Chargers and 9.0 DKFP against the Broncos. In their 32 sims, they have forced 16 turnovers while piling up 57 sacks and scoring four defensive touchdowns. They had three of those sacks and one of those scores in their first meeting with the Raiders on their way to 12.0 DKFP. They should be a good play once again even if they don’t get quite all the way to that ceiling.

Value

Colts DST at Tennessee Titans, $2,700 — The Colts’ defense has been solid over their past few sims but hasn’t come up with the game-changing big play. They do have multiple sacks in each of their two Holiday Season games and had three sacks in their first meeting with the Titans. Ultimately, I think the Colts have enough to get the win over Tennessee in this sim, which is why they’re my favorite cheap DST, led by newly-added X-factor Superstar DeForest Buckner.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: Madden Stream $10K 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.