DraftKings continues to provide some great sports simulations even with baseball and basketball resuming. Each day there are six Madden Streams with eight free contests to be a part of. You can play a single-game Showdown for each contest along with an all-day, six-game classic contest and a three-game late slate contest. Each simulation will be 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 (download here) or right here in this post. Follow along to watch your fantasy team pile up fantasy points.
Thursday’s slate kicks off at 12 p.m. ET with a Browns-Panthers matchup. At 2 p.m. ET, two teams suddenly surging in the standings go head-to-head as the Falcons meet the Lions. The 4 p.m. ET contest is an AFC West divisional matchup, as the Chargers clash with the Broncos. At 6 p.m. ET, the second half of the slate starts with the Texans and the Vikings, followed by the fan-selected Game of the Week in primetime between the Patriots and the Cowboys. The final matchup on the six-game slate is the “Madden After Dark” sim between the Steelers and the Saints, in what should be another great contest.
All six of those matchups have pretty intriguing storylines to check out, and the 12 teams provide solid options at each position. I’ll give you my favorite stud and value play for each roster spot below. For more information, you can always check out the Madden info page for all the data on player ratings, special abilities and what you can look forward to in upcoming matchups.
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Deshaun Watson, HOU at MIN, $7,500 — Watson is the most expensive QB on this slate which is loaded with top-tier talent. I don’t love his matchup against the Vikings, but he’s still the top option based on both his ceiling and his consistent production from sim to sim. Watson has at least 18 DKFP in 11 of his past 13 sims and also can explode for 30-plus DKFP if he gets things going on the ground and through the air. He had 20.84 DKFP in his most recent sim against the Bills, but I think he’ll be able to be even more productive in this matchup since the Vikings’ offense will push Houston to score more.
Other Options — Drew Brees ($7,400), Philip Rivers ($6,800)
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT at NO, $6,500 — Big Ben hardly ever produces anything on the ground but is still a very viable fantasy option due to his passing touchdowns. He has thrown 76 scores over his 40 sims, including nine over his three most recent games, which were all on the road and each resulted in over 20 DKFP. He had four scores and over 300 yards for 30.08 DKFP against New England during that stretch, showing he still has a high ceiling despite lacking the dual-threat. Big Ben has thrown multiple touchdowns in 22 of his 40 sims (55%) including his first matchup with the Saints, when he had 14.32 DKFP in a 31-14 loss. I think he’ll outperform that total in this rematch, especially in what could a a high-scoring track meet in the virtual Superdome.
Other Option — Baker Mayfield ($6,000), Drew Lock ($5,400)
Devonta Freeman, ATL at DET, $5,900 — Freeman is available at a great price in this matchup against the Lions. Even though the real-life Falcons moved on from Freeman this offseason, he’s still dominating for them in simland, where he has racked up 31 touchdowns over his 40 sims. He is averaging about 65 rushing yards and 25 receiving yards per sim with over three catches per contest. He had a touchdown both rushing and receiving in his previous meeting with the Lions, when he produced 21.5 DKFP. Freeman has hit for 18-plus DKFP in 14-of-40 (35%) of sims, which gives him a good chance of returning 3x value at this price point. He also has produced double-digit DKFP in seven straight and 10 of his past 12, so there’s little chance of a total bust.
Other Options — Alvin Kamara ($6,400), Dalvin Cook ($6,200)
Kareem Hunt, CLE at CAR, $4,400— Hunt can be high-risk since he does share a lot of the work in the Browns’ backfield with Nick Chubb ($5,400), but Hunt has been very involved lately as the team’s third-down back. He has at least three catches in five straight sims and has produced over 9.0 DKFP in four of those outings. He has gotten work in every single one of the 40 Browns’ sims and produced 6.4 DKFP per contest. He had 11.1 DKFP in his first meeting with the Panthers, and I think he’s the best value RB option on this slate.
Other Option — Phillip Lindsay ($5,800), J.D. McKissic ($3,400)
Michael Thomas, NO vs. PIT, $7,400 — Thomas is the only WR in all of Madden with a perfect 99 overall rating, and he has been dominant in these sims as a result, producing 17.16 DKFP per contest. He has scored a touchdown in each of his two most recent sims to get to 29 total in his 40 sims while averaging 4.9 catches for 70.4 yards per contest. He outperformed those averages against the Steelers in their first meeting, producing 25.1 DKFP on four catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. While he hasn’t been totally immune to bust games, he has put together some monster performances and can rack up points in a hurry if Brees locks onto him early in this contest.
Other Options — Odell Beckham Jr. ($7,100), JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,700)
Mike Williams, LAC vs. DEN, $4,900 — Williams is in this spot just about every time the Chargers play since he has been so good throughout these sims. He has hauled in 27 touchdowns and produced an average of 71.2 yards on 4.3 catches per contest. He is always a good option, but could be in an even better spot than usual since the Chargers will be taking on the Broncos, who have a great CB1 in Chris Harris Jr. but lack depth behind him. If Williams is matched up with any other Broncos’ CB, he should have the clear advantage and be able to put together another big game.
Phillip Dorsett II, NE at DAL, $3,800 — Dorsett has been the home-run threat in the Patriots’ offense throughout these sims and can break any catch he makes into a big play. He had a 57-yard score against the Bears in his most recent sim and finished with 12.7 DKFP even though that was his only catch of the contest. He has at least 9.0 DKFP in three straight and 17-of-40 (43%) on the season. He had a long score against this Dallas secondary in these teams’ first meeting and finished with 15.2 DKFP. He doesn’t consistently see a ton of volume but can take any touch the distance.
Other Options — Ted Ginn Jr. ($4,100), Keke Coutee ($3,200)
David Njoku, CLE at CAR, $4,500 — Njoku offers great upside as the sixth-most expensive TE on this slate, and I think he is primed for a big game in Carolina. He has been very busy in the Cleveland passing game with catches in every sim, 10 touchdowns, and averages of 4.7 catches for 57.0 yards per contest. He has at least five catches in three of his past four sims and lit up the Panthers for eight catches, 116 yards and 22.6 DKFP in their previous meeting. Njoku does sometimes disappear if the Browns’ offense struggles to get anything going, but his ceiling makes up for the risk and makes him a very nice option under $5K.
Other Options — Jared Cook ($5,200), Hunter Henry ($5,000)
Ben Watson, NE at DAL, $4,200 — Watson’s resurgence in these Madden sims has been one of the biggest surprises across the all the streams. He has been one of the top TE in all of Madden with 14.8 DKFP per sim and has racked up almost 66 yards per sim while scoring 16 touchdowns. His role, volume and production make him a good option any time the Pats are on the slate.
T.J. Hockenson, DET vs. ATL, $4,000 — Hockenson is an intriguing pivot from Watson if you’re trying to differentiate your lineup. The former Hawkeye has at least four catches in six straight sims and nine of his past 10. He has hauled in 13 touchdowns on the sim season, seven of which have come in his 11 most recent contests. He had one of those scores against the Falcons and finished with 9.5 DKFP in that contest. If he gets enough volume and a score, he could be a sneaky solid play at just $4K.
Other Options — Darren Fells ($3,800), Noah Fant ($3,600)
Patriots DST at DAL, $3,000 — The Patriots have proven they can get pressure on opposing QBs with 93 sacks in their 40 sims. They also have 23 takeaways and two defensive touchdowns, helping them average 5.2 DKFP per contest. I expect this primetime game to be low-scoring and fast-moving since both teams like to run the ball and complete short passes. Even though they don’t have as high a ceiling as some other options, the Patriots’ DST is a very solid choice on this slate.
Other Options — Falcons ($3,100), Chargers ($2,800)
Vikings DST vs. HOU, $2,300 — The Vikings have been my favorite defense to play in these sims since they have playmakers at every level of the defense and always seem to come up with big plays. Minnesota has forced 40 turnovers in 40 sims along with 89 sacks and six defensive touchdowns. They are producing 7.0 DKFP overall and have a very high ceiling even in this matchup, which they showed with 21 DKFP the first time they played these Texans.
Other Options — Cowboys ($2,600), Panthers ($2,500)
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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.