With real-life sports in the midst of an extended time out, DraftKings has been helping to fill the void with some very entertaining simulated sports action. Each day, there are six Madden Streams and eight free contests, with a single-game Showdown for each game along with a pair of classic contests. Each of the simulations is played out via an online Madden Stream using Madden 2020 with rosters and ratings from the end of the 2019-20 season. In this format, you can enjoy watching the game stream on the DraftKings YouTube channel, the DK Live app or right here in this post. Follow along to watch your fantasy team rack up some big fantasy points.
The primetime game on Friday is the focus of the $5K FREE Contest [5 Entry Max] (Hou vs NE), so make sure to get your lineups in and settle in for what should be a highly entertaining sim between the Texans and the Patriots. The first time these teams met in these sims, it resulted in a 42-31 game that had plenty of fantasy points for everyone. New England got the win, which isn’t that surprising since the Pats have been the best team in these Madden Streams, going 24-8 in 32 sims while the Texans have struggled to an 11-21 record. Can Houston pull off the upset in New England or will the Patriots add another win to their total? What fantasy players should you try to get in your lineups based on the matchups? I’ll give you my pick to win and my favorite lineup options below.
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The most expensive player in this game is Deshaun Watson ($11,800), who has been one of the most consistent and potent fantasy options in all of simland. He is averaging a game-high 22.4 DKFP and gets a ton of added production from his abilities on the ground, where he is averaging just under 50 yards rushing per sim and has tacked on 11 rushing scores to his 55 passing touchdowns. He has an 86 overall rating along with the Superstar abilities of “Escape Artist,” which makes him faster and more responsive while scrambling behind the line of scrimmage, and “Agile Extender,” which makes him almost guaranteed to evade the first sack attempt by a blitzing DB. He also has an 84 speed rating, an 82 elusiveness rating and an 89 throw power rating. His blend of running and passing skills have made him consistent and given him a high ceiling. He has over 20 DKFP in each of his past five games and can also go off for 30-plus DKFP if he really gets going. He does have a tough matchup against a good Patriots defense that held him under 20 DKFP in the teams’ first meeting, but he still deserves a spot in some of your lineups since he has so many ways to produce.
When Watson throws, he works mostly with the highest-rated player on the Texans, WR DeAndre Hopkins ($10,800), who has a 98 overall rating with a 99 awareness rating, a 92 speed rating and a 98 catch rating. Hopkins seems to be enjoying his extra time with sim-Houston even though he’ll be playing in Arizona in real life this upcoming season. He has averaged 15.8 DKFP on an average of 4.2 catches for 68.3 yards per sim. The main reason he has been so good, though, is his 21 touchdowns in 32 sims. He has a very high ceiling but could be limited if the Patriots follow him around the field with the highly-rated Stephon Gilmore. In the first meeting between these teams, Hopkins had four catches for 68 yards and 10.8 DKFP but was held out of the end zone.
In that first meeting, Will Fuller V ($7,000) was heavily utilized and finished with seven catches, 95 yards and 23.1 DKFP. He can break big plays any time with his 94 speed rating and 82 overall rating. He has had a few monster games and had heavy utilization when the opposing CB1 locks in on Hopkins, which could be the case in this matchup. Houston’s WR3 Kenny Stills ($1,800) has just 13 catches in his 32 sims, so he’s little more than a flier punt play. The WR value that is worth a look, though is WR4 Keke Coutee ($3,600), who is the Texans’ slot receiver and is usually very involved in the offense. He hasn’t had a huge game recently with under 10 DKFP in nine of his past 10 contests, but he does have a solid ceiling and a relatively safe floor since he’s usually so involved. Another decent value who gets good volume is the Texans’ big TE Darren Fells ($5,000), who is averaging 3.7 catches per sim. He doesn’t get a ton of yards or touchdowns, but his regular involvement makes him one of the better plays under $6K in this matchup.
Aside from Watson’s rushing production, the Texans’ ground game is all about a healthy Lamar Miller ($8,000), who is the RB1 and the third-down back with his 84 overall rating and 92 speed rating. He has only averaged 8.8 DKFP per sim but does have over 11 DKFP in three of his past five sims. He’s touchdown-reliant and in a bad matchup, but he does have upside due to his role.
The Texans’ DST ($3,000) has forced only 14 turnovers in 32 sims, but the unit can get after the opposing QB, which Houston has shown with 68 sacks (2.1 per contest). The group is led by J.J. Watt, who has an impressive 97 overall rating and an X-Factor of “Fearmonger” to go with superstar abilities of “Strip Specialist” and “Edge Threat Elite.” The Texans have a bad matchup against New England, so I’d probably go with the other DST or even take a look at Ka’imi Fairbairn ($4,000), who has averaged 5.8 DKFP per sim.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have been a great source of fantasy production across the board and had one of their best games when New England visited Houston early in these sims. Tom Brady ($11,400) had six touchdowns in that contest, throwing for 318 yards and totaling an impressive 39.52 DKFP. He hasn’t been on Watson’s level of steady production, but his matchup is much more favorable. This seems like a matchup to try to fit in both QBs to your lineup, but if you have to go with just one, I would lean toward Brady due to the matchup against Houston’s struggling secondary. Brady has more Superstar abilities than any other player in Madden 2020. His X-Factor is “Pro Reads,” which means his first open receiver is highlighted when he is in the pocket after making multiple consecutive passes that travel five yards or more in the air. His Superstar abilities are “Hot Route Master,” “Conductor,” “Clutch,” “Protected” and “Pocket Lead” which have lined up with his impressive 91 overall rating to allow him to produce 18.9 DKFP per contest.
Brady’s WR1 is Julian Edelman ($9,600), who runs most of his routes out of the slot position. He has only averaged 13.3 DKFP per sim, though, and has been held under that number in four of his past five games. He did have a touchdown in the first matchup with the Texans for 14.1 DKFP, but he’s a very pricey option for a WR that doesn’t have the full attention of his QB. Edelman has as 87 overall rating and Superstar ability of “Slot-o-matic,” which definitely give him upside, but his volume has been hit-or-miss, making him boom-or-bust.
Part of the reason you don’t have to pay up for Edelman is that the other Patriots pass-catchers have been so productive. WR2 Mohamed Sanu ($5,600) has a solid 79 overall rating and good possession receiver skills. He had double-digit DKFP in five straight contests before posting just four catches for 49 yards and 8.9 DKFP against the Chiefs in his most recent outing. He doesn’t have game-breaking speed but has hauled in 20 touchdowns in 32 sims and has is averaging 13.5 DKFP per sim. New England’s big plays in the passing department have usually come from WR3 Phillip Dorsett II ($4,800), who has 11 touchdowns catches and plenty of big-play potential but can be boom-or-bust.
If you’re looking for a consistent option who always gets targets, check out Ben Watson ($6,600), who has been one of the best TEs in all of Madden. He has been a beast with 14.7 DKFP per sim, a high ceiling and great value potential. His 79 overall rating — the same as Sanu’s — hasn’t held him back at all, and he should continue to be a frequent target against the Texans. In the first meeting, he exploded for 12 catches, 176 yards and two touchdowns on his way to 44.6 DKFP. Even though he’s unlikely to hit that high total again, he’s a great option at just $6,600.
While most of the success in that earlier sim against Houston came through the air, the Patriots have actually been a run-first offense in many sims. New England relies almost exclusively on James White ($8,800), who has flourished in his expanded role as RB1 and the third-down back. He has an 83 overall rating and has averaged 68.0 rushing yards and 16.8 receiving yards per contest while adding a total of 14 touchdowns in 32 sims. He finished with over 20 DKFP in each of his past two games to bring his average to 14.4 DKFP per sim. He does occasionally lose some power back work to Sony Michel ($2,400), but it isn’t enough to give Michel consistent value or take away from White’s high ceiling.
The Patriots’ DST ($3,400) is my preferred defensive play in this contest even though New England hasn’t been one of the most dominant defenses in the sims. The unit has 19 takeaways and 77 sacks (2.4 per sim) in 32 games and Houston has struggled with turnovers at times. The Patriots did give up 31 points to the Texans in that first matchup, so Stephen Gostkowski ($4,200) is actually a safer play with his 6.9 DKFP average.
There are lots of ways you can build a fun lineup in this one, so I’d recommend trying different Captain’s Picks in your five entries. Deshaun Watson ($17,700 CP) is a pricey option but has too high a ceiling to ignore, and Will Fuller V ($10,500 CP) has nice upside at his more affordable salary. On the other side, Tom Brady ($17,100 CP) is in a great spot if he spreads it around again like in the teams’ previous matchup while Ben Watson ($9,900 CP) and Mohamed Sanu ($8,400 CP) are in great spots if they get heavy volume and still leave enough salary for good flex plays as well. James White ($13,200 CP) could also be a nice contrarian Captain’s Pick option if everyone overreacts and buys into the passing game too heavily.
The Patriots’ passing offense against the Texans’ secondary is too much of a mismatch for Houston’s offense to overcome. While I do think it will again be relatively high-scoring, I think the ultimate result will be the same with New England adding another win to its total.
Final Score: Patriots 31, Texans 21
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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.