The DraftKings Madden 21 Tournament wrapped up on Wednesday with a thrilling championship win by the Falcons, but don’t worry, there is still plenty of simulated action coming your way during the day on Thursday before the NFL kicks off its season on Thursday Night Football. All the games in the three-game classic slate are matchups from Week 1, starting at 12 p.m. ET with a matchup between Dan Quinn’s Falcons and his former team, the Seahawks. The 2 p.m. ET matchup is one of the most anticipated of the weekend between the Bucs and Saints in virtual New Orleans, and we close out the slate with a preview of the big matchup on Thursday as the Texans visit the Chiefs.
Normally, there are six simulated matchups per day, but today’s schedule is a little reduced with the game tonight along with other programming coming your way on the Dream Stream throughout the evening. You can keep up with the upcoming schedule on the Madden Stream info page, where you can also find the new depth charts and X-factors for the teams in Madden 21.
Check out the daily DraftKings Madden Stream contests lobby with paid contests for real cash prizes now available alongside free contests. Each simulation will be played out computer vs. computer via an online Madden Stream using Madden 21. 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.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans, $7,300 — It’s very strange to see Mahomes, who is the only QB in Madden with a 99 overall rating, as the third most expensive QB on this slate. The two QBs ahead of him do add more rushing potential, though, so I understand why Russell Wilson ($7,700) and Deshaun Watson ($8,300) cost more. However, Mahomes has such a high ceiling against a suspect Houston secondary that I think you’re getting a great deal with him on this slate. He has averaged 268 passing yards per sim and thrown a total of 12 touchdowns in his seven sims. He threw two scores and finished just short of the bonus in Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta, finishing with 20.3 DKFP. He has thrown for at least 290 yards in three straight sims with over 18 DKFP in each of those outings and has posted two games over 34 DKFP since the streams made the switch in Madden 21.
Other Options — Deshaun Watson ($8,300), Russell Wilson ($7,700)
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks, $6,000 — Ryan led his team to the Madden 21 Tournament championship with four touchdown passes, 290 yards and 27.5 DKFP against the Chiefs on Wednesday night. He threw a total of nine touchdowns in his past two sims and has connected on 18 scores in his seven sims. He and the Falcons knocked off four straight undefeated teams on their road to victory, and now Ryan gets a tough matchup against Seattle. Ryan remains very touchdown reliant since he doesn’t add anything on the ground. However, he’s been throwing so many scores lately that he definitely deserves a look as the cheapest of the six starting QBs on this slate.
Other Options — Drew Brees ($6,700), Tom Brady ($6,500)
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Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $7,500 — Kamara was a big letdown in his most recent sim against the Falcons, managing just 5.4 DKFP and dropping his average for the Madden 21 sims to 21.1. He started out with a pair of big games, and hopefully a rematch with the Bucs can get the X-factor Superstar back on track. In his previous matchup with Tampa Bay, Kamara ran for 163 yards and a touchdown while adding three catches for 39 more yards on his way to 32.2 DKFP. He has a total of five touchdowns in his six sims and should be able to bounce back to his high level of production.
Other Options — Todd Gurley ($6,700), David Johnson ($5,500)
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons, $5,200 — The Seahawks love to run the ball, and in Madden 21, Carson is the third-down back in addition to his RB1 responsibilities. He has been very active as a result with three touchdowns in his four sims and an average of 53.0 rushing yards and 28.0 receiving yards while averaging over three catches per game as well. Carson has nice upside for such an affordable back since he just had 22.5 DKFP against the Falcons in his most recent sim and has posted double-digit DKFP in each of his four contests in Madden 21.
Other Options — Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($4,500), Ronald Jones II ($3,800)
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Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans, $7,300 — If you think Mahomes is going to have a good game against Houston, that probably means a big game for Hill as well. His 99 speed rating has made him one of the most exciting and dynamic options at WR and his new X-factor and Superstar traits make him even more dangerous. He had seven catches for 139 yards in the championship loss and still posted 22.9 DKFP without a touchdown. He has over 18 DKFP in five of his seven games and should offer a great return once again as he takes on the Texans.
Other Options — Julio Jones ($7,900), Michael Thomas ($7,000)
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, $5,100 — Evans is available at a huge discount in this matchup after a slow start to his Madden 21 sims. He caught 12 passes for 146 yards over the Bucs’ three sims, but this seems like a crazy-low price for someone with such high ratings. Evans has a 92 overall rating, a 91 speed rating, a 98 awareness rating, a 90 catching rating, a 97 jump rating and a 97 spectacular catch rating. I’m not sure why the new-look Bucs struggled in our early sims with them, but take advantage of this markdown as a result and hope that Brady finds a way to get the ball into the hands of one of his best options.
Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $4,200 — Sanders has been pretty involved in his six sims with the Saints, averaging 4.7 catches for 55.8 yards per contest. He only has two touchdowns, but one did come in his first meeting with the Bucs. He’s extremely affordable as Drew Brees’ No. 2 WR and has posted over 12 DKFP in each of his three most recent sims.
Other Options — Calvin Ridley ($4,800), Phillip Dorsett II ($3,800)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans, $6,300 — Kelce has been putting up elite numbers that would put him near the top of the WR category, which is even more impressive for the TE position. He has averaged over seven catches per contest while racking up 85 yards per game and scoring four touchdowns for an average of over 20 DKFP per contest. Kelce has found the end zone in three straight contests and has over 18 DKFP in five straight games. Houston had no answer for Kelce in last year’s playoff matchup, and I expect that to be the case again in this sim.
Other Options— Darren Fells ($5,500), Jared Cook ($5,200)
Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks, $4,500 — Hurst hasn’t matched Kelce’s production game-to-game but he did out-produce him in Wednesday’s championship matchup, finishing with eight catches for 90 yards, a touchdown and 23 DKFP. Hurst had six catches for 63 yards and 12.3 DKFP in his first game against Seattle and has caught multiple passes in every sim he has taken part in with the Falcons. He definitely has fit in well at least in simland and will be a solid value play against Seattle.
Other Options— Rob Gronkowski ($4,900), Greg Olsen ($4,400)
Chiefs DST vs. Houston Texans, $3,200 — Kansas City’s defense looked awesome for three straight games in their playoff run including a shutout of the Patriots, but the unit crumbled against the Falcons and finished with -2 DKFP. They have forced five turnovers in their seven sims and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns to go with 16 sacks. They’re a solid group overall and worth paying up for if you have the salary for any defense on the board.
Seahawks DST at Atlanta Falcons, $2,800 — The Seahawks’ defense is always going to be a high-reward option since they have two massive hitters in Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams, who should force lots of fumbles. The DST has recovered five in their four sims to this point and picked up a safety and a defensive touchdown to go with their nine sacks. The only downside to the Seahawks’ DST is that they have a very tough matchup against the Falcons’ offense which has been putting up big points on everyone in Madden 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.