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 Titans vs. Steelers game, which starts at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 18.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
This is a game of expensive quarterbacks, as both players are priced over $11K. Ryan Tannehill ($11,600) is the most expensive we’ve ever seen and this is coming off back-to-back poor performances. Tannehill scored 12 and 5.4 DKFP against the Rams and Cowboys with only one touchdown thrown. Not exactly the type of games you want to see from someone who is at his most expensive salary. He did score 15.6 DKFP against the Steelers earlier this sim season, giving us some hope that he can turn it around. Personally, I’m looking elsewhere at quarterback.
Both A.J. Brown ($9,600) and Corey Davis ($5,600) have been posting nearly identical overall numbers despite being separated by $4,000 in salary. With this in mind, Davis is always my first choice off the board for the Titans, averaging 3.8 receptions, 55 yards and 13 touchdowns scored. Meanwhile, Brown, who is the WR1 in this offense, is seeing 3.5 receptions, 51.5 yards and 13 touchdowns of his own. While I don’t think you can go wrong with either, I don’t see a real reason to pay more for Brown when you can simply get that work from Davis. Delanie Walker ($7,400) has taken a major step back as of late, averaging just 9.1 DKFP over his past five games. Once regarded as the most consistent receiver in this offense, Walker has been way too boom-or-bust for me lately. Given how well the Steelers spread the ball out, I’m thinking Walker isn’t necessary at his price point. Adam Humphries ($3,600) is a decent salary saving option who’ll see at least a couple of receptions in this game. He averages just under three receptions and 36.8 yards per game with eight touchdowns scored.
The running back situation is a mess on the Titans, as Derrick Henry ($8,000) continues to be overpriced for averaging just 9.3 DKFP per game. He’s scored 16 touchdowns, which is great but when he doesn’t score, you’re lucky to crack double-digit fantasy points. Dion Lewis ($3,200) will handle the third-down work and make some receptions but he’s averaging just 25 scrimmage yards per game. I’m not going out of my way to take either player.
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Ben Roethlisberger ($11,800) is my preferred option at quarterback. Amazingly, this is not the most expensive salary we’ve seen him at, as he was just $12K in the Steelers’ last matchup. Through 36 games, he’s averaging 231 passing yards, 17 DKFP and 67 touchdowns thrown. As mentioned, he spreads the ball around extremely well, so I would use him over Tannehill if choosing between the two.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($10,800) is by far the most productive receiver in this game and it’s not even close. He’s averaging 4.5 receptions, 65.4 yards with 21 touchdowns. I fully expect his ownership to be high and I’m OK with that since no one comes close to him. I’d much rather try and differentiate my lineup elsewhere rather than take a chance with fading Smith-Schuster. Vance McDonald ($8,600) continues to see some heavy volume, averaging 4.4 receptions, 54.6 yards and 12 touchdowns scored. His salary is more than reasonable for the number of receptions he takes in and he should be a strong consideration for your roster. After these guys, the numbers become extremely similar for James Washington ($5,000) and Diontae Johnson ($4,800), which isn’t a bad thing by any means. The problem here is figuring out who to use. Washington sees slightly more volume with his 3.4 receptions and 16 touchdowns. However, Johnson isn’t far behind with 14 touchdowns scored despite not making a catch in four games. Johnson is only averaging 2.4 receptions but he’s a legitimate threat to reach the end zone.
Jaylen Samuels ($3,000) is the only running back I’m using in this simulation. His salary is similar to that of Lewis but Samuels should see the field more. He’s averaging 35.7 scrimmage yards and will both carry the ball and catch.
Ben Roethlisberger ($17,700 CP) would be my first choice for Captain because of how well he spreads the ball around and the good matchups for his WR1 and TE1. If you want to go a bit cheaper but not miss out on volume, Vance McDonald ($12,900 CP) would absolutely fit that mold for you. The cheapest I would go is Corey Davis ($8,400 CP), who I feel is an excellent fit as Captain relative to his salary.
Final Score: Titans 23, Steelers 27
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is steveazors) 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.