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Madden Stream Picks: Giants vs. Cardinals DraftKings DFS Showdown Strategy

Zach Thompson preps you for Tuesday’s 2 p.m. ET Madden Stream contest between the Giants and Cardinals with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

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 2 p.m. ET matchup on Tuesday is a former NFC East rivalry before the Cardinals were put in the more geographically logical NFC West. The Giants and Cardinals have both struggled in these sims but still have some dynamic players to watch in this matchup, which should be entertaining and productive from a fantasy perspective. In their first meeting, the Giants rolled to a 28-0 shutout win at home, but can they pick up another W in the desert or will the Cardinals be able to snap their six-game losing streak? I’ll make my pick below after running down the fantasy options to check out on both teams as you build your lineup for the $1K FREE Contest (NYG vs ARI).

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Showdown Strategy

New York Giants

The Giants have the better record of these two teams, coming in at 14-20 after 34 sims, while the Cardinals are just 8-26. The Giants have helped their rookie QB a little more than the Cardinals with good options around him in the offense, starting of course with Saquon Barkley ($10,400), who has averaged 70.8 rushing yards per sim and 2.4 catches for 21.7 receiving yards per sim as well. He has at least 80 rushing yards in five straight sims and went off for 197 yards, a touchdown and 30.7 DKFP in his most recent contest against the Bengals. He was even better the first time he faced these Cardinals, piling up 41.3 DKFP on 150 rushing yards with a rushing touchdown while adding a second touchdown through the air to go with his 83 receiving yards on three catches. He is also the Giants’ only skill-position player with an X-Factor, and his “First One Free” ability is activated by multiple runs of at least 10 yards and lasts until he is tackled for a loss. It increases his fake-out rate on the next juke, spin or hurdle when he’s “in the zone.” He also has Superstar abilities of “Evasive” and “Backfield Mismatch,” giving him faster juke and spin animations and better ability to make catches in traffic against linebackers and linemen. Barkley usually gets the work and has the ratings to dominate, and as long as the game stays competitive, they should keep feeding him enough to make him one of the best options in this matchup.

With Barkley taking some of the pressure off, QB Daniel Jones ($10,800) hasn’t been bad, producing 17.2 DKFP per sim and generally exceeding his 70 overall rating. He has solid mobility ratings with an 84 speed rating along with an 87 throw power rating, 85 throw accuracy short rating, 79 throw accuracy mid rating, and 80 throw accuracy deep rating. Jones threw three scores against Arizona in their first meeting, in which he totaled 22.88 DKFP. He has reached 20 DKFP in 10 sims and definitely has the upside to reach that level again.

One matchup Jones could look to attack in this game is TE Evan Engram ($9,400) against the middle of the Cardinals’ defense. He is the fastest TE in the entire Madden universe with his 90 speed rating, which supports an 88 overall rating. Engram’s salary is very high in this contest due to matchup and the fact that he has four catches or more in 15 of his past 16 sims, which has helped him to over 12 DKFP in 12 of those contests and raised his average to 13.4 DKFP per sim.

The Giants’ wide receivers have been inconsistent but do offer some solid value. The Giants use their WR1 Golden Tate ($10,000) as their slot receiver. Even though he has an 83 overall rating and is averaging 12.0 DKFP per sim, his salary makes him an avoid for me since he has to have a monster game to be worth $10K and has only reached 20 DKFP four times in his 34 sims (12%). WR2 Darius Slayton ($7,600) is much more affordable and has very similar production with 11.9 DKFP per contest on 3.6 catches for 55.2 yards per contest. Slayton has been very boom-or-bust, but his 93 speed rating is the highest of any WR who regularly sees the field for the Giants. In an interesting depth chart situation, the Giants’ WR3 Sterling Shepard ($4,800) trails only Tate among Giants WRs with an overall rating of 82, but he is third on the depth chart behind Slayton, who only has a 77 overall rating. Shepard hasn’t had as many catches or touchdowns as Slayton and Tate but can still put up nice yardage, averaging 40.2 yards per sim. He hasn’t hit double-digit DKFP in any of his past 10 sims but did have a run of five straight double-digit DKFP performances just before that. The potential is there, but I’d prefer Slayton if you can fit him under your salary cap.

The Giants’ DST ($3,000) is also worth a look in this matchup since Arizona’s offense has struggled. New York has been able to get to the QB with 55 sacks in their 34 sims, but they have only forced 18 turnovers. They did have a shutout against Arizona in their first meeting and finished that contest with 13 DKFP. Giants K Aldrick Rosas ($3,800) has also been a solid source of value with 6.2 DKFP per contest.


Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona offense is all about QB Kyler Murray ($11,600), who is the most expensive play in this Showdown despite averaging 15.5 DKFP per sim, two full points lower than Jones’ average. Murray’s production has come mostly on the ground, where he is averaging 46.7 rushing yards per sim and has added five touchdowns. He has thrown for 168.7 yards per game with just 29 passing touchdowns in 34 sims. He has been better at home than on the road but still hasn’t been good enough to pay all the way up for unless you think he’s going to go off, which I don’t see as the most likely scenario.

Unlike the Giants, the Cardinals haven’t helped Murray much with a running game in these sims since Kenyan Drake ($5,200) is averaging just 3.5 DKFP per sim as the RB1 despite a decent 81 overall rating, 91 speed rating and 82 elusiveness rating. He loses a lot of work to third-down and power back David Johnson ($3,200), who more fantasy sense averaging 7.7 DKFP per contest with 10 touchdowns to Drake’s five.

When Murray does throw, his options are led by WR1 Larry Fitzgerald ($8,600) and WR2 Christian Kirk ($5,800). Fitz has an 83 overall rating, but his 83 speed rating and a 65 elusiveness make him mostly a possession receiver. He is up to 10 touchdowns after scoring three in his past six games but is still averaging just 10.2 DKFP per sim. While Kirk hasn’t gotten the volume that Fitz has, he does have good upside. He has averaged just over three catches per sim on the season but has a 92 speed rating and 85 elusiveness rating, which gives him a high ceiling even though he only has a 78 overall rating. Another affordable option with a high ceiling is WR3 Damiere Byrd ($3,600), who has a 95 speed rating with his 74 overall rating. He had 15.1 DKFP in his most recent sim against Miami but had been held to under 5.0 DKFP in each of his three previous contests. He’s boom-or-bust but has lots of upside.

Another key part of the passing game lately has been TE Charles Clay ($6,800), who has gotten pretty reliable volume with at least three catches in 14 straight sims. He had his sixth touchdown of the sim season against the Dolphins in his most recent sim and finished with 11.0 DKFP. Clay has been more reliable than Kirk or Byrd with his 77 overall rating and 83 catching rating.

The Cardinals’ DST ($3,400) has had to carry the load for this team that has struggled on the other side of the ball. They have forced 17 turnovers in 34 sims while adding 64 sacks and three defensive TDs. I actually like Zane Gonzalez ($4,000) a little more than the defense, though, since has a solid 74 overall rating due to his 96 kick power rating and 75 kick accuracy rating. I’d go with the Giants’ DST and Rosas over these two options, though, and look to Johnson and Byrd if I need Arizona value plays.


The Outcome

The two options I like at Captain’s Pick in this one are Saquon Barkley ($15,600 CP) and Evan Engram ($14,100 CP), who tend to be the workhorses in the Giants’ offense and are in very favorable matchups. You could also look at Darius Slayton ($11,400 CP) or Charles Clay ($10,200 CP) as contrarian plays if you want to have more room in your flex budget for other options. There are some solid value plays, though, so I think we can make Barkley or Engram work.

Because I love the matchup for those two stars, I think the Giants should cruise past the Cardinals, who have continued to struggle on offense. I love their upside in the real world this coming season, but the sim version of Arizona just hasn’t looked good, especially at home, where they are just 3-12 in these sims.

Final Score: Giants 27, Cardinals 10

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Depth Charts

Giants

Cardinals


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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.