We’re all in need of some entertainment during these times of the unknown. DraftKings is doing its part by offering Madden simulations with a variety of teams going at it. For this piece, we’ll focus on the Cardinals vs. Lions game, which starts at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 16.
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
These teams met back in Week 2 of the sims, and we got a pretty uneventful 17-14 victory for the Lions. Of course, that was before DraftKings went to 8-minute quarters and arcade mode, which has opened up the play.
Kyler Murray ($11,600) didn’t score a touchdown in that sim, but saved a complete bust with 48 rushing yards, still scoring just 11 DKFP. We’ve seen Kyler show the ability to score 20-30 DKFP, but he also still comes with a pretty low floor. Normally, Murray would be an easy fade, but there aren’t many good things we can say about Detroit’s offense in the sims either. Murray has to be a consideration, purely on volume and lack of studs.
Another reason Murray makes for a stronger play, despite his floor, is that the Arizona WRs are tough to trust, especially pricey ones. Larry Fitzgerald ($9,800) is generally as trustworthy as they come, but that hasn’t been the case in the sims. Fitz scored just 9.4 DKFP in the earlier sim against the Lions, and still has just two sims of 20-plus DKFP. He should draw some coverage from Darius Slay, and makes for an easy fade.
You’d think with Fitz so limited that Christian Kirk ($5,800) would be hauling in deep balls, but that also hasn’t been the case. Kirk has just one sim with 20-plus DKFP, and while you save $4,000 off Fitz, Kirk still averages just 8.1 DKFP.
Damiere Byrd ($5,200) has skyrocketed to his most expensive price of the sim season, but is still the best WR play on Arizona. Give me the speed in the matchup against the lowest-ranked CB on the opposition every time, and we’ve seen Byrd succeed in these spots. Byrd has 10 sims with double-digit DKFP, and a pair of monster games, with a 33-DKFP ceiling. Give me the cheapest of the bunch with the highest ceiling of the group.
At TE, Charles Clay ($7,400) is coming off his second straight sim with a touchdown, and his third overall with over 20-DKFP. I prefer his consistency and volume in the offense to Fitz and Kirk, but Clay isn’t a very strong play overall.
Kenyan Drake ($4,400) has been a bust in almost every sim, and isn’t even close to a consideration. David Johnson ($3,400) has had much stronger showings, with 12 sims of 10-plus DKFP. Take the cheap upside.
I already wrote about Murray not being the greatest play, but maybe a necessary play on this slate. That’s because of Matthew Stafford ($11,000) having even less upside in this situation. He does get to face the worse secondary, so it you want to target him on matchup, there’s some ground to stand on. However, Stafford had an awful sim last time out against Arizona and averages just 14.5 DKFP. He’s a similar QB to Murray, but lacks the rushing upside that can help lead to a big sim.
That doesn’t mean we need to fade all of Stafford’s WRs though, with Kenny Golladay ($10,200) and Marvin Jones ($9,000) both showing higher upside than the Cardinals’ pass-catchers. Golladay had seven grabs for 96 yards (16.6 DKFP) in a sim with pretty limited offense the last time out against Arizona. That’s about five DKFP above his average, and he’s managed five sims with over 20 DKFP.
Jones is a bit more inconsistent, but has the ability to go off for a slate-breaking sim. Jones averages 12.8 DKFP, which is more than Golladay, and has consecutive sims with over 100 yards and 20 DKFP. It was his sixth and seventh sims with 20-plus DKFP, including a ceiling of 43 DKFP. He did score a touchdown on a 4-57-1 line for 15.6 DKFP against Arizona back in Week 2.
Danny Amendola ($5,600) is somewhat of an afterthought at WR, considering the upside the top targets provide. He’s maxed out at less than 18 DKFP in any sim, and his production has slide as the season’s progressed.
T.J. Hockenson ($8,200) has had his moments, but is just too expensive to play when a target like Jones is just slightly more expensive. The TE has three sims with over 27 DKFP, but too many busts to consider paying up for.
Kerryon Johnson ($6,600) has been a complete non-factor at RB, averaging just 4.9 DKFP. He’s an easy fade in favor of the pass-catching back, J.D. McKissic ($3,200). McKissic’s pass-caching skills and playmaking ability at the goal line make him the far more desirable play for less than half the price.
This is nearly an impossible slate to identify a clear-cut captain, but also a slate where we don’t have too many stud options to roster, so we don’t have to be conservative with salary. I’ll chase the target with the highest upside, which means slotting Marvin Jones ($13,500 CPT) in at captain.
Final Score: Detroit 20, Arizona 16
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) 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.